10 Important Safe Fishing Practices for Families to Follow

When you are planning a family fishing trip, safe fishing practices should be top of mind. Be sure to involve your kids in the planning process and explain why each safety rule or practice is important.

Above all, do your best to model safe fishing practices every time you are out on the water. Kids tend to pay close attention to what you do and how you do it. Talk to kids about safety, but set a good example as well.

It won't take long before these safe fishing methods and practices become habits. Fishing safety practices will help you feel more at ease so that you can truly enjoy the experience with your family. You'll catch fish and make great memories together for years to come!
 

  1. Remind everyone to look before casting. This is one of the safe fishing practices that families should remember when fishing from a boat or from the shoreline in the same area. Always check to be sure there is a safe amount of distance between each angler.
  2. Make sure everyone in the family wears eye protection. Many sunglass manufacturers make sunglasses with interchangeable lenses. These types of sunglasses can be incredibly helpful if you fish before dawn or after dusk because they usually come with a pair of clear lenses. Clear lenses can be worn even in low light conditions to protect your eyes from stray casts, or even prevent insects from flying into your eyes while you are driving a boat.
  3. The next safe fishing practice is especially important for kids. Kids should wear a properly fitting personal flotation device (PFD) whenever they are around the water -- even if they are fishing from a pier, shoreline, or dock. A PFD or life jacket is a required piece of safety gear for fishing trips. Remember that young children should never be left alone or unsupervised when fishing.
  4. Another important practice for fishing safety is to stay aware of the weather while on the water. If you see dark clouds rolling in or there is any chance of lighting in the area, get off of the water and get indoors.
  5. Be extra careful when learning how to fish with treble hooks since these hooks can easily snag fish, clothing, and everything else. If you do use treble hooks, invest in a set of plastic hook covers (sometimes referred to as hook bonnets). Hook covers will prevent your treble hooks from snagging anything when your lures are not in use.
  6. Check everyone's gear before heading to your fishing spot. Do you need to replace the fishing line? Are your fishing reels working properly? Are any of your hooks rusty? Make sure all is in proper working order.
  7. Use safe fishing methods for handling your family's catches. Bring along a pair of pliers or a dehooking tool to remove hooks from any fish that you catch. These tools will make the hook removal process much easier while protecting hands and fingers if fish start to wiggle or jump.
  8. When handling fish with sharp teeth, use a fish gripper to secure fish around the mouth, and place your other hand under the fish's belly for support. Kids may need some time to get used to holding a fish, so be patient and ease them into it. Have them touch a part of the fish with a bare hand or finger, or have them hold the fish gripper while an adult holds the tail.
  9. Bring basic safety necessities such as a first aid kit, bug spray, and waterproof sunscreen. Prevent sunburn and scratchy bug bites by being prepared. Don't forget plenty of water to stay hydrated and snacks to avoid any cases of crankiness brought on by hunger.
  10. One of the fishing safety rules you should always remember is to be aware of your surroundings. If you are fishing from a shoreline spot, teach kids to be conscious of where they are walking. Keep an eye out for slippery rocks or logs. Be aware of the wildlife and protected habitats. Pick up any discarded fishing line, lures or hooks, and trash that may have been left behind.

It won't take long before these safe fishing methods and practices become habits. Fishing safety practices will help you feel more at ease so that you can truly enjoy the experience with your family. You'll catch fish and make great memories together for years to come!


Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an outdoor writer, blogger, and avid angler who has written articles on fishing and boating for publications such as USA Today Hunt & Fish and Game & Fish Magazine. She is a member of the Florida Outdoor Writers Association. Visit her personal blog at shefishes2.com and follow her on Twitter at @shefishes2.