When teaching fishing skills, there are a few key things you can do to keep new anglers engaged. Consider these ten suggestions that will contribute to positive early fishing experiences and encourage long-term interest.
1. Make the overall experience fun and interesting.
Kids really enjoy doing simple things like watching baitfish swim around in a livewell, or netting shrimp in a bait bucket. While you might be eager to teach someone how to catch fish, allow them to enjoy the process.
2. Limit mentoring time to an hour or two.
Keep initial fishing trips short, especially when teaching kids. Children and beginners will stay more focused and have a better chance of retaining information if you keep mentoring sessions short.
3. Stay close to home.
When teaching beginners how to fish, head to a fishing spot that’s close to home. They can see how accessible fishing can be and won’t get tired on a long drive or boat ride.
4. Stick to the basics.
Think along the lines of “fishing 101” by teaching simple beginner fishing tips for the first few lessons -- too much information can feel like overload to a new angler.
5. Use live bait.
Worms or crickets are good live baits to start out with for species like bluegill or perch. Live bait gives new anglers the best chance at catching fish, which will keep them interested.
6. Provide encouragement.
Support beginners with encouragement and offer helpful fishing tips along the way.
7. Work with one or two anglers at a time.
Providing individualized attention is important when teaching a beginner how to catch fish. Be there to answer questions and coach them through how to cast or how to reel in fish.
8. Bring PFD's for everyone.
When teaching new fishing skills from a boat, bring along the proper type and size PFD (personal flotation devices) for each angler. Include fishing safety tips into your lessons and set a good example as a mentor.
9. Bring along healthy snacks and water.
Pack up some trail mix, fish-shaped crackers, turkey jerky, or other healthy non-perishable snacks – it’s hard for anyone to stay focused on learning if their stomach is growling.
10. Instill a conservation mindset.
Part of teaching “fishing 101” is educating newcomers about why fishing licenses are required (the funds go to conservation efforts), and the reasons that regulations are put into place by state agencies.
When you’re ready to introduce someone new to fishing, remember these tips to help keep new anglers engaged for the long-term.