Fishing Fun with Your Young Child
Hook, Line, and Sinker
Provide your child with easy-to-use tackle. There are a variety of simple poles available designed specifically for little kids. These short rods, sometimes with kid-friendly characters, are appealing and less frustrating for small hands.
It will be physically impossible for your young child to hook the worm, cast the line, and reel in the fish alone. There are ways to overcome these obstacles. You can cast for your child and then give your child the rod. You can also attach a sinker so your child can release the line straight into the water. When hooking the worm, be aware of your reactions and remember that your children are watching—if you make handling the worm sound disgusting, kids may become squeamish and won’t want to touch it. Chances are if you don’t make a big issue out of it, they won’t either. Many children are actually fascinated by live bait.
Using a shoelace or a piece of string, you can attach the rod to an eyelet (on either the boat or dock). If a fish bites, and your child lets go of the rod, you won’t lose it at the bottom of the water.
Make a list to check off with your child the supplies you will need. Include items such as food, water, sunscreen, bug repellent, first-aid gear, lifejackets, and a camera. Additionally, you may want to prepare a few “surprises”—such as a snack, crayons and a little notebook, or small toys—to occupy your child when he or she needs a diversion from fishing.
Water accidents are especially concerning to parents of young children. When selecting your fishing spot, look for stable ground and be aware of hazards such as rocks that children could slip on into the water. There’s no need to frighten your child about the water, but be sure to discuss the rules—particularly if you’re fishing from a boat
If you’re fishing near fast-moving water or from a boat, children should always wear personal flotation devices, commonly called life vests. To meet boating requirements set forth by the U.S. Coast Guard and many states, boaters must have life vests when in a boat, and the boat must have one life vest for each person aboard. Boats longer than 16 feet must have a throwable flotation device—such as a cushion or life ring—in addition to the life vests. If you don’t own life jackets, check out the Boat US Life Jacket Loaner Program.
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