Fishing is a rewarding experience. We learn so many important life lessons through fishing, ranging from lessons about success and failure, to patience and surprises. Children can benefit a lot from experiencing kids fishing, and it can be a very memorable and enjoyable method of bonding between parents and their children. Also, it is a fantastic way to take your family into the great outdoors and spend quality time while pursuing your passion. Remember the first time your dad took you for a trek or a safari or a picnic by the river? Exactly – it was exciting! To help you plan your first kids fishing trip we have put together these 8 tips to make the whole process much more fun!
1. Build Curiosity Early-On and Plan Things Out
Get your children excited about your fishing picnic in advance so by the actual day of the event they are more than ready to immerse themselves in the fun and frolic. Start talking to them about different types of fish, your own first-time experience, and maybe even show them fun movies about fishing. In addition, make sure you plan the entire session properly, ranging from getting children-size rods, a first-aid kit for safety, as well as sunscreen lotion, and plenty of water bottles to keep everyone hydrated throughout.
2. Set Safety Rules for your kids fishing trip
Ensure your kids understand and follow rules like not straying too close to the fast-flowing river, deep sections of the lake, or deep in the surf, esp. if they do not know swimming. Have them wear a life jacket of their size and ensure that they agree not to touch any of the Fishing terminal tackle on their own and can do so only under your supervision. The last thing you want is for them to hook themselves or any of the other kids. Here is a great link for some quick tips – http://fishnkids.dpi.nsw.gov.au/learn/learn-safely
3. Casting practice
Get them to practice a few casts. Handling the actual fishing equipment excites the kids and they love the feeling of doing it like adults. This is a fun session and at the same time you are ensuring that hook related accidents can be avoided. The best way to do this is to tie/attach a plastic toy (or even a lure with hooks removed) at the end of the line and get your kids to do a target practice by casting towards a box or a towel kept at a certain distance. You can even reward them if they start getting it right.
4. Choose a fishing spot with a high fish population
Nothing can be more disappointing than going to a fishing trip and not catching anything. Anglers are used to this, and consider it as a part of the sport. However, if you want your kids to get hooked to fishing, it is extremely important for them to catch their first fish. It is recommended that you do a recce prior to finalizing the spot. Ideally take them to your favourite spot where you have got your most catches. If doing carp fishing, then ensure ground baiting a few days before so that the fish are used to hanging around that spot. You can also use the simplest method of using earthworms as baits as it rarely fails.
5. Fish handling and de-hooking
If your kids do manage to hook on to a fish, guide them to retrieve and land the fish. Keep giving them instructions and have a landing net ready. There is a very high percentage of losing a fish while landing and you don’t want to see the disappointed face of your kid losing his catch. Once landed, remove the hook yourself as de-hooking is a tricky process and can injure the fish or the kids and it should be done by adults only. Ask your kid to wet their hands and gently but firmly hold the fish, while you quickly take a few pictures. Ideally after the photo session get them to release the fish into the water gently, if there is no plan to have a barbecue.
6. Combine Fishing with Other Activities
Children have short attention spans. It is important to combine fishing with several other activities to maintain their interest throughout the picnic. Children do not have enough patience or stamina to spend an entire day just fishing. So, plan breaks for snacks, main meals, rest, as well as other games and activities like colouring and sketching. You can turn a catch-and-release fishing session into an educational experience to inform your children about the difference between freshwater and saltwater fish, different bodies of water, the food chain, and more. Tell your children stories – that will get their imagination soaring. Mix things up!
Encourage your children to collect a few things from the fishing picnic to make a scrapbook, such as pebbles, grass, photographs, flowers, and other trinkets. This way they can capture the memories of each trip in their own unique way.
8. Sunset Photo Session
Again, we cannot stress enough that it is essential you keep your fishing picnic short and sweet, as children get bored quickly. We suggest planning the fishing session right before sunset, so afterwards you and your little ones can enjoy a beautiful and relaxing sunset picnic and click lots of photos to cherish.
Indeed, a fishing picnic session is bound to be a great way to spend quality time with your children and to get them to connect with being in the great outdoors, when everyone else is too busy being glued to video games, laptops, phones, and television screens! Not only will your little one spend time outdoors and bond with you, but they’ll also learn so much and build so many fantastic memories.
If you have your own tip please add them in the comment below, we would love to know them.
Enjoy these delightful videos of kids catching their first fish: