By Merry Beth Ryan
Take a moment and think back to when you were a child and what interested you the most. I think we all have fond memories of our childhood where action played a role in our happiness. Whether it was riding our first roller coaster or roasting our first marshmallow over an open campfire as long as there was action we were happy. A child’s attention span is little to none unless there is action that keeps their minds busy and alive. Fishing can provide that action .
Taking kids fishing can be one of the most enjoyable experiences you will ever encounter in this lifetime. I have been blessed and able to personally experience that joy on numerous occasions . I would not trade those memories for the world. I will be the first to admit that it is very challenging to accept the role of entertaining young kids on a fishing excursion. Seeing their smiles as they reel in their first fish ever quickly will remind us all why we take kids fishing.
Kids do not have the same expectations as we adults do. Especially when it comes to fishing. This is a good thing, the objective is not so much having to catch the biggest fish as it is to simply keep their rods bent. Action is what a child thrives on. The more the better. Preparation is a must when venturing out on a fishing trip with children. Be sure you plan accordingly. Bring plenty of water and snacks as well as plenty of sun block. It can be a long day out on the water for us all. Making sure the kids are happy will ensure a happy day on the water for all. Be sure your kids wear their life jackets . The boat operator must be responsible taking into consideration young children are onboard.
Catching bait at times has proven to be quite entertaining for the kids. On many outings having the bait well full with live bait fish has been a life saver when fishing is slow. You will be amazed at how much fun the kids have just watching those little fish swim around in the live well. Make sure you cast net plenty of bait knowing some of your bait will probably not make it after the kids are done playing with their new little fishy friends. Your main objective when fishing with kids is to keep the kids busy doing something. Ask them to use the dip net and scoop out a minnow or two . Help them with their casting. A child wants to learn. There is no better time than when they are young to teach them. Unlike adults they have not already established bad habits which at times seem impossible to break. Make them feel needed, give them little jobs they can accomplish by themselves when the fishing becomes slow.. This will boost their confidence level. They will feel needed and best of all they will have big smiles. When the kids are smiling that usually means the adults are smiling as well.
Try not to overload the kids on their first fishing trip. Share with them some helpful pointers and work with them so they can feel comfortable doing certain things themselves. If a child is able to hold his or hers own fishing pole that is a start. Teaching them to feel the fish bite their line and how to set the hook will help a great deal. As we know kids tend to get excited very easily and when it comes to fishing it is easy to see why. As the teacher make sure you give the kids all the patience they need. Barking out orders or getting upset at them for losing a fish will leave a bad taste in their mouth for fishing. We want to avoid this at all costs. Fishing is fun. I still feel my adrenalin level rise when I hook into a fish at the end of the pole I am holding. Fishing is a sport that is fun for all ages. Whether your catching a small snapper or a beautiful tarpon tail walking across the water the excitement is something we all feel.
Creating special memories with children fishing is well worth your efforts. Being able to witness a child catching their first fish is a memory you will cherish a lifetime. The pure joy and innocence of a child makes it even more special. Seeing their eyes light up with that certain sparkle they have when they have just accomplished something speaks a thousand words. Kids will be sure to catch fishing fever if they have a patient teacher. The future of our fishing is our youth!