Taking Your Kids Fishing: A Great Way to Get Your Kids Outside

Guestpost from Jon Sutton of Outdoor Empire.

A lot of parents have trouble dragging their kids away from the digital screens and getting them to go outdoors to enjoy a bit of fresh air and sunshine. But, if you tempt them with an exciting opportunity, you can often have much better luck. One of the best activities you can choose is fishing.

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Most children love to learn to fish, and it can even turn into a lifelong hobby for some. But, you’ll need to make sure your kids enjoy themselves while learning to fish, which means doing everything possible to help them catch fish during their first foray into fishing – few kids will enjoy watching a float bob up and down all day with no fish to show for it.

You can increase your kids’ chances of catching a bunch of fish by embracing the tips and tricks listed below.

1. Provide your kids with appropriate fishing gear.

The quickest way to frustrate your kids is by handing them a rod and reel combo that is too large or complicated for them to use. Instead, you’ll want to set them up with a 5- to 6-foot-long spinning or spincasting combo. Most big box retailers and sporting goods stores stock beginner’s fishing kits that provide everything your kids will need for less than $20.

2. Target kid-friendly species.

Largemouth bass, northern pike and other celebrated gamefish may elicit most of the attention from serious anglers, but you’ll have better luck targeting bluegill, perch and catfish when teaching your kids to fish. These fish are bolder and more abundant than the trophy fish that experienced anglers target, which will improve your kids’ chances of catching a few.

3. Use real baits, rather than artificial lures.

Although artificial lures are often very productive baits in the hands of experienced anglers, they’re unlikely to work well for your kids. It often requires plenty of finesse to retrieve lures in a fish-enticing manner and they can easily become snagged on underwater items. Instead, use a hook baited with a worm, cricket or leech. Tie a float about 1- to 2-feet above the hook, unless you’re targeting catfish. In this case, you’ll want to swap the float for a sinker.

4. Fish alongside your kids.

Even though you’ll need to assist your kids, untangle lines and bait hooks while teaching your kids to fish, it’s always a good idea to keep your own line in the water. Because you are probably a better angler than your kids, you are more likely to get nibbles and hook fish. Once you do, pass your rod to one of your kids and let him or her reel in the fish. This will give your youngster the chance to enjoy the best part of fishing and is certain to elicit smiles.

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Don’t forget to obtain a valid fishing license before heading down to the water. You don’t want to ruin an otherwise-awesome day on the water by getting an expensive ticket and having your rods and reels confiscated. Kids under 16 years of age don’t need a license to fish, but you will. Be sure you familiarize yourself with the states’ fishing laws and regulations too.

If you’d like to learn a few other ways to make your kids’ first fishing trip a fun one, check out Outdoor Empire’s comprehensive review of the subject. There, you’ll learn additional tips and tricks for finding a good fishing location and selecting the best equipment, tackle and baits.