Fishing with Children: Six Steps to Success

By Jon Sutton

Jul 07, 2017

Fishing with children is much more fun if you load up a stringer or fill up your live well, so follow these tips to help increase your chances of success. 

The only thing more enjoyable than catching a ton of fish is helping a youngster to do the same. But while catching fish with kids is great fun, most young anglers will quickly become bored and lose their interest in fishing if you don’t catch anything. 

Fortunately, you can increase your chances of catching fish and sparking a lifelong love of angling by following the six steps:

1. Start with the right attitude. While many adult anglers take their fishing very seriously, it is important to keep things fun when fishing alongside kids. Problems and challenges are guaranteed, but if you stay positive and try to make the best of your time on the water, you’ll catch more fish and have a great time doing so. 

2. Use the appropriate gear for young anglers. There’s no point in letting youngsters use equipment that they lack the skills to handle, so put away your 7-foot baitcasting combo and opt for a 5-foot-long, spinning or spin-casting rig. This way, the kids will spend less time dealing with technical problems and more time with their line in the water. For particularly young anglers, consider setting them up with a cane pole to simplify things even further. 

3. Pick a great location. If you’d rather not spend your day untangling line from trees and retrieving snagged lures, try to find a wide-open location from which you and the kids can fish. Piers and docks are great options, as they usually have open casting lanes in all directions.  

4. Target suitable species. Forget about wary wild trout and largemouth bass when fishing with first-time anglers. Instead, target panfish or catfish, who generally require less finesse to catch. Most productive waters, from small farm ponds to huge impoundments, will have healthy populations of these types of fish, which will increase your odds of catching a few. 

5. Use a productive bait. When fishing with novices, you’ll not only want to use baits rather than lures, but you’ll also want to use the most productive bait possible. Red wigglers, crickets and dough balls are often very effective for catching panfish, while hot dog slices and shrimp are often among the most productive catfish baits in many areas. 

6. Provide the necessary creature comforts to keep morale high. You may be willing to take hot temperatures and a parched palate in stride, but kids will generally forget all about fishing once they start to get uncomfortable. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure you bring along snacks and drinks to keep them happy. 

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Jon Sutton
Jon Sutton
Jon Sutton writes about outdoor recreation, natural sciences and environmental issues. Read more by Ben at or