Chances are, you were little and someone you looked up to took you under their wing and brought you on a fishing and/or camping trip.
You remember that time as being so much fun that you can’t help but get butterflies every time you gear up to go camping and fishing and that’s why you want to get out there!
I’ve listed some basic tips for those of you who have never done it before, or haven’t done it since those “old” times.
Keep it simple-stupid:
Just keep it simple!! In today’s society “the more you have the better” which is definitely fun to try new stuff out on the river and in the bush, but isn’t necessary to get started and can cause more stress than it’s worth. Having to pack and unpack everything can be a pain. Don’t worry about a boat even! Fishing from a dock or the shore (especially when on a river) can be the best!
The less you bring chances are the more you will explore and enjoy the wilderness. Time with someone you care about and raising awareness is what’s most important and most fun. Remember, little ones can only take in so much information at any given time, so don’t over complicate things, or frustration will set in and that’s no fun.
Have Fun Out There!
Don’t worry too much about technique and don’t be concerned about catching lots of big, trophy-size fish. To a beginner, It’s all about practice and getting the feel for the equipment. No doubt there will also be lot’s of practice unraveling line as it gets spooled up on a cast – many fishermen refer to this as a “rats nest.” And remember to some children, or beginners a big fish might be scary, so you may have to coach them through it. One way to keep a young “fish slayer” focused is to let him or her do as much as possible, keep them involved, explain the gear, the procedures, show them how things work . . .and laugh.
Many campgrounds are situated on lakes or ponds or at least have a local fishing hole nearby that holds trout. Some lakes may even hold Kokanee – a land locked version of a Coho salmon. Generally these fish will eat early in the morning or later in the evening (before dusk). A worm and bobber combination is about all you need, obviously there’s a lot more out there, but we’re talking beginner here. We’ll get into some more specific equipment a little later.
Hurry up and Wait!
Don’t forget to bring your patience! It can get frustrating to set up your gear for beginners, but once you see their faces when they yank one in…it’s worth it! Relax out there and make it a memorable experience for everyone. Be patient. Don’t fish for hours on end. If your with your significant other and you ever want them to get out on a lake again, a long trip can be detrimental to your fishing career…just don’t do it!
Often beginners will be happy fishing for 15 minutes and then going for an hour long walk on the beach or in the woods, etc. Also remember that a beginner cannot be expected to spend long hours sitting and holding a rod. As the teacher you should also not plan to spend long hours paying attention to your rod, but rather watch for action on theirs.
Try to avoid a “meat hole” where there are tons of people and fish. These “beeks” who are usually un-accepting of beginners are there and in full grumpy force, so stay away from them as you don’t want your beginners to pick anything up from these guys. Hit a less populated zone where they can practice casting without disturbing someones drift or line…and you never know, there may be tons of fish holding there if nobodies fished there all day. I’ve seen it.
Ripping their lure through the water or shaking a rod around a lot to see how things look and work is common with the “little people.” There’s nothing wrong with letting them do that, just encourage them to keep the hook in the water and away from little Johnny’s noggin’. Bigger children often enjoy casting and retrieving lures, especially spinners and topwater lures.
If the only fishing available requires leaving a rod still with a baited hook, use rod holders and bells or bobbers, so the kids don’t have to be sitting still and chained to the rod. Sure, they’ll miss a few fish, but the excitement of a ringing bell or popping bobber alerting them that a fish is interested in their bait will usually renew their interest.
Competition is always fun and helps keep children interested as long as it’s friendly. It also helps them in general with competition. Offer up a prize for the person who catches the first or largest fish, it could be biggest candy bar or other snack, for example. Even without a prize, a child can feel pretty excited if he or she can catch a fish before (or a bigger fish than) dad, mom, grandpa or another adult and that’s a good thing, cuz’ that’s how it usually happens. It’s good to include everyone though, so make a prize up for the little one who got skunked – best bait hook – or something of the sort.
Get out there and enjoy other activities than just fishing, such as camping, hiking, swimming, boating, kick-the-can, canoeing, water-skiing, horseback riding or bicycle riding. It’s all about the great outdoors and sparking their interest so that they pass it on and generate an interest in wilderness which in-tern produces people who care about the well being of our environment. It also attracts both their enthusiasm and their short attention spans.
Keepin’ up With The “Jones'”:
As far as equipment goes, it need not be expensive. I’m embarrassed to say, but I’ve caught lot’s of suckers and sunfish on my nieces “Barbie” rod! It’s not mine…honest! Either way a basic spin-cast system, the push-button variety, is easy for kids to operate. The old Zebco “capsule” reels are super easy to cast for kids.
I don’t recommend going for an open-faced spinning reel or baitcasting reel for little ones. For beginning adults, it’s not really recommended unless you want to practice and really get into the sport. These reels are super effective and efficient but difficult to operate and keep operational. When purchasing a reel, don’t be afraid to check our website out for buying tips, or send your questions our way.
You can find ready-to-go outfits that are made specifically for kids.
The Sure Thing:
My first fish was in a rainbow trout farm and I remember it! My first wild fish was a salmon that I caught with my dad in the dead-man river in British Columbia and that was even more exciting! Either way, If you want a youngster to get into decent fish, try a pay-to-fish commercial farm. The internet is a great tool for finding local fish farms.
Nearly every state, province, or at least region, produces local magazines or websites available to anglers, and these fish farms do advertise. The basic deal is that you pay an entry fee and so much per pound for fish caught. The upside is that you know the fish are there, the downside is that it ain’t the real world. But if it’s a fish guarantee you want, it couldn’t hurt much. And then there’s your local grocery store!
See the Sea:
For saltwater expeditions, I would do a little research and talk to someone who has done it if if possible. These operations are in business to make people happy, and if it’s a boatload of kids, some simple bottom fishing, not far from shore is just the ticket. Don’t take a five-year-old out in search of Marlin or 12-pound bluefin Tuna when a few small Coho salmon will make him or her happy. If you go out on the ocean with someone you know, be sure they know what they’re doing and have the proper on-board emergency equipment. Always check the weather because the sea demands an enormous amount of respect from us.
Help Reduce High Blood Pressure:
Help with the rat’s nests, bringing in their catch, and the like. But otherwise, let them have fun on their own. It’ll work wonders for a “quality time” experience – and your blood pressure.
Despite all the planning, kids will be kids and they’ll be too interested in the outdoors to focus on just fishing for hours on end. As long as they’re having good, safe fun with a little fishing thrown in here and there, the kids will be building good memories and good experiences that will boost self esteem and build confidence as well as a bond with you!