Tips for Fishing with your Kids from Angler David Walker

Team Evinrude Angler David Walker stopped by to share some insights on fishing with his kids.

Q: Who taught you how to fish?
A: My dad liked to fish, so he would take me when I was really young. He was the one who first introduced me to it, but he had no idea that I would carry it to this extreme. A lot of it is self-taught, so that’s why I think it’s good to get kids involved at a young age. The younger the better because you never know how interested or uninterested they may be in it. Just like anything else, some will love it and some won’t care about it. For me, it was something I’d rather do than anything else.

Q: How old are your daughters? When did you first take them fishing?
A: I have a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old and they’ve both been fishing many times. Even when they were unable to fish, we would still take them and introduce them to being outdoors. I don’t think you can introduce kids too early to fishing, but you have to be careful about when you do it. Their attention spans are short, so it’s probably not a good idea to take a 4-year-old on an all-day outing. Instead, you need to take baby steps, go for an hour or two. When teaching a kid anything, you start with the basics and build on it.

Q: What do you recommend starting kids out on – live baits or lures?
A: Definitely live baits. To be honest, the live bait is such an interesting part of fishing for my two girls because they’ll go catch worms whenever they can. For them, digging up worms is part of the adventure. But the number one bait to use is crickets. If a few crickets happen to get loose on the boat, they have as much fun chasing them around as they do fishing.

Q: What’s the next step for kids who want to take their fishing beyond crickets and panfishing?
A: Bass are probably one of the best because they’re found in nearly any type of water. Wherever you live, whether it’s by a river, stream, lake or pond, there’s most likely some type of bass around there. And they’re fairly easy to catch. Obviously the bigger ones are harder to catch, but a smaller bass, which is quite a bit bigger than panfish, will be a great target for a kid wanting to learn a little bit more.

Q: Is there a particular type of lure you’d recommend for a kid looking to make that next step?
A: One of the best lures I would recommend starting kids out with is a topwater lure. It’s such a visual thing and you can see what your lure is doing as opposed to lures under the water like plastic worms. When you’re working a topwater bait and the fish comes up and strikes it, there’s that moment of anticipation that keeps you interested and motivates you to make it happen again.

Q: What other activities do you and your kids like to do when you go out and fish?
A: If we’re going out on the boat, they are going to bring snacks galore. I don’t know why, but fishing means snack time to them. It’s really something else for them to do too. If one of them is getting a little bored and there is something else they want to bring with, like a doll or game, by all means let them bring it. Sometimes it’s fun for my family to just to fire up the Evinrude and go for a ride. Honestly, there’s nothing better than being outdoors with your kids because it disconnects you from the electronics and helps you learn a lot about each other.

Q: Do you have a funny fishing or boating story about your kids?
A: It’s fun to see my kids’ imaginations run wild out there. I’ve seen my youngest one entertain herself endlessly by putting a bluegill in a live well and just experimenting with what it will eat. My favorite one was when she said, “Let’s see if it will eat doughnuts!” That fish swallowed it right up and she was squealing with excitement. There’s nothing better than seeing your kids have so much fun.

Q: What impact has fishing had on you and your family?
A: There’s a lot to be said for doing what you like in this world because there’s a lot of stuff you have to do that you despise. But if you can find a way to make a living doing what you love, then that’s the best route you can take. The beauty of this country is that you can make a living doing things you can’t do anywhere else, and that’s an important lesson I always tell my kids. If you want something bad enough and you work hard enough, you can make it happen.

Q: Where else can fisherman go to get tips or tricks from professional anglers?
A: I always tell people to go on the E-NATION website because you can get tons of helpful feedback from it. If you have a question about anything boating or fishing related, you can find your answer right there in real time. You’ll be amazed at how many answers you can get.
David Walker is a professional bass angler on Team Evinrude, creators of E-NATION. Check out E-NATION to find great tips and great ideas of things to do,  whether it’s fishing, catching more bass, or improving performance on your new boat or motor.

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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.