Small freshwater ponds are the perfect places for teaching kids to fish. Learn how to teach kids to fish in a freshwater pond so that everyone in the family has an easy, accessible way to catch species like bass, catfish, and panfish. These seven simple tips for teaching kids to fish will help make family pond fishing outings more memorable and fun.
1. Use Simple Poles and Gear
Get simple fishing gear made specifically for kids. When you let kids have their own tackle box and gear, they get more excited about fishing. Use a spincast rod and reel combo that comes with fishing line, bobbers, sinkers, and hooks. By using a simple spincasting combo rigged with a hook, bobber, and natural bait (worms, crickets, minnows); it’ll mean fewer tangles and more opportunities to catch fish. Kids also love bobbers because they can see when they get a bite.
2. Practice Casting at Home
First practice on dry land at home. There are kids rod and reel combos that come with casting plugs. Casting plugs can be tied to the end of fishing line, and then kids can practice casting into a bucket or into the center of a hula hoop in the yard. You can even give kids “points” for every cast that makes it into the bucket or inside of the hula hoop.
3. Find a Good Spot in the Pond
At first, fish from docks, piers, or the shore and start with locations that have plenty of smaller species like bluegill, perch, and crappie. When you get to the pond, look for a spot near a rock pile, fallen trees, weed beds, or shoreline vegetation.
Focus on the Kids
Keep the focus on the kids and don’t fish yourself because they’ll need help with safely baiting lines, casting to the right spots, and removing hooks. Fishing safety
should always be a priority. Besides, kids will get bored or distracted if they wait too long for someone to lend a hand. Make sure first fishing experiences are enjoyable ones -- be patient and encourage them along the way. If you have a few experienced anglers who are willing to help, let kids bring their friends along so they have fishing buddies in the future.
Fish for Quantity Instead of Quality
For kids the size of the fish does not matter, having plenty of action does. Sure, you want to take them to a pond that has plenty of fish to catch, but you shouldn’t worry about how big the fish are. Most kids will get excited about catching panfish like bluegill or sunfish. In fact, kids are often intrigued with more than just reeling in a fish… they become fascinated with the bait you’re using, minnows swimming along the bank, or turtles sunning themselves on a nearby log. Let them enjoy the overall experience of being out in nature.
Bring Lots of Snacks
Pack plenty of fun snacks for your pond fishing trips. Even when fishing close to home, bringing along non-perishable snacks is always a good idea – it’s hard for kids to pay attention if they’re hungry. Do an online search for “snackle box” if you want a clever idea of what to bring along on family fishing trips.
Keep the Trip Short
Plan on keeping your first pond fishing trip short (an hour or two). It’s understandable that you want kids to experience the thrill of catching their first fish, but you don't want a long fishing experience that ends in frustration. Start out with an hour or two and then add a little more time on each of your outings with more opportunities for kids to get comfortable with the whole process.
Before you apply these tips for teaching kids to fish in a freshwater pond, be sure to buy your freshwater fishing license and check the fishing regulations.