5 Tips To Encourage Your Little Angler

Writen by Jane Warren

Children today often spend more time inside than outside, and think life without a video game is not possible. In fact, the only fishing experience some children have is playing Fly Fishing on their Wii consoles. So, how can you get your children to venture out into the great outdoors, put down the game controller, and pick up a real fishing pole?

We recently had my great nephews and niece visit with us for several weeks. I put in a lot of effort to make sure the kids were active outside whenever possible. Part of my reasoning was for their benefit, and part of it was for my own sanity! There’s just so much we could do inside in close quarters. And we are fortunate that my sister lives on a lake, and we have the option of boating and fishing.

Making the experience fun and interesting will get your children to actually choose the outdoors over other activities, and will teach them skills that will last a lifetime.

5 Tips For Success
Here are a few simple steps to ensure your fishing trip is a success:

1. Start Off Easy: This means all you need are some very basic materials; a rod, a hook, a bob, and some worms. These are items that children can understand, and will allow them to get a firm grasp on what fishing is all about. The bob will also help children to visually comprehend where their bait is, what is happening with the bait, and what happens when you get a bite!

2. Put Emphasis On The Catch: It is important that you put the emphasis on the catch, not the type of fish caught, or the size of the fish. Children need action to keep them interested. Because of this, you should take your children to a fishing spot where there will be a high number of bites. Fish such as bass, sunfish, and bluegills tend to be prevalent in shallow water so they are quite easy to find. Lakes are a good place to find these fish and start your fishing adventure.

3. Offer Plenty Of Encouragement: Children need praise and encouragement. Of course, it is a given that they are going to make bad casts, lose their bait, lose a couple of hooks, and even throw the rod a few times. This is completely normal and is to be expected. Do not get frustrated with them. Instead, offer plenty of encouragement and let them know you’ve done it yourself a time or two. If you notice they are doing something wrong, correct them constructively so they understand how to change for the better.

4. It Is Not About You: You may have a whole fantasy in mind as to what you want your first fishing trip to be like: Everyone is catching fish, each cast is perfect, and the laughter is non-stop. While this is certainly possible, it is also quite possible the opposite will occur. If your children decide they want to go swimming or boat tubing after a few minutes of fishing, let them do so. It is important that they have fun. In the long run they will remember the trip as enjoyable and want to go again.

5. Make It A Learning Experience: In addition to this being a “fun outing,” use it as an educational experience. For example, when your child catches a fish, show it to them and explain to him or her how they swim and breathe. You can also teach your children how to catch and release, and explain that by doing so, you are allowing that fish to reproduce to repopulate the species.

As is always the case with fishing, there are no guarantees. Remember, kids will be kids, so it is important to let them learn and explore in their own ways. Following the above steps will increase the likelihood of your child becoming interested in the hobby, as well as in nature. Most importantly, just relax and have fun! After all, the best part of the experience is spending some quality time outdoors with your family.

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Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro

Stephanie Vatalaro is vice president of communications for the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation and its Take Me Fishing and Vamos A Pescar campaigns where she works to recruit newcomers to recreational fishing and boating and increase awareness of aquatic conservation. Stephanie grew up in the Florida Keys as the daughter of a flats fishing guide. Outside of work, you can find her fishing and boating with her family on the Potomac River in the Northern Neck of Virginia.