Monday, July 23, 2012

10 Tips for Fishing with Kids

10 Tips for Fishing with Kids

Taking your children fishing can be a great way to connect as a family. It's also a fantastic way for your kids to experience nature and learn the art of patience.  But have you been worried about how a fishing trip with young children would turn out? Or was your last trip less than amazing? I've been there! So I thought I'd share a few of the things that have helped my family enjoy this fun past time.

10 Tips for Fishing with Kids

1. Decide on Location- The first step towards a successful fishing trip with your kids is deciding on a good location. Ideally, you'd like to go to a place that is well stocked because it increases your chances for actually catching fish. Other things to consider would be how crowded and family friendly it is, and if there's a good bit of room to explore and play if the fishing loses it's appeal.

2. Build Anticipation- Before you go, especially if this is your child's first fishing trip, you could read a few picture books about fishing to build excitement. You could also mark the date of your family's fishing trip on a calendar and count down the days until it's time to go. Tell stories and ask open-ended questions to get them involved in the conversation.

3. Expectations and Rules- As you are building anticipation for your family outing, you could also take some time throughout the days beforehand to talk about your expectations and rules for safety. Go over them again as you leave to go fishing so that they are fresh in their minds.

4. Go Prepared- Of course, this is an important thing to do with any outing if you have kids. (I've definitely learned that one the hard way.) Before you leave, make sure you have plenty of water, sunscreen, and snacks. You might also need something to repel bugs, antibacterial wipes (to wash hands before they eat their snack!) and a change of clothes. Will you need chairs or a blanket? And don't forget your fishing gear!

kids holding worm for fishing

5. Choose Your Bait- The type of bait you use will vary depending on where you are fishing and what you are hoping to catch.. and your child's interests. For some, a big bucket of worms will be the perfect bait. Not only will you be fishing with them, but they could provide some added entertainment between catches. However, if your child is squeamish, you may want to bring some cheese slices instead.

6. Bring the Bobbers- Lightweight bobbers will help your child notice when they have a bite. This is really useful if your child wants to wander a bit without his pole.

7. Give Them a Job- Giving your child a job can give them something to focus on and look forward to. Young children can hand you bait while older children might be in charge of releasing the fish.

8. Make it Fun- Fishing is a lot of fun when you are getting bite after bite, but it doesn't always happen that way. Show your children that they can enjoy themselves while waiting for the next fish to bite. You can use the slow times as a chance to talk and explore a bit of the nature around you. Catch bugs. Watch your worms. Take a break and have a picnic. You can even make up silly songs to lure the fish to your bait. One trip we began singing, "Here fishy, fishy. We don't want to EAT you. We just want to CATCH you." And now it's something we sing each time we go.

9. Keep it Short- If you plan to keep the trip short, then you wont be disappointed or frustrated if the fishing has lost it's appeal early into the day. Don't worry. You are likely to see an increase in their attention spans and patience the more often you go.

10. Practice Responsible Fishing- Talk with your kids about responsible fishing. Talk about why we only keep what we need and release the fish we don't. Pack up everything you brought with you and try to leave your spot better than when you found it.

catching fish with kids

I hope that you've found these tips helpful! Do you have a tip you'd like to share? 

Can't get out to go fishing? You might like my post on Pretend Play Fishing.

{I would like to stress that we supervise R while fishing and recommend that your children fish only under close supervision as well. You know your child and their capabilities so please only do what you feel comfortable with.}


  1. We just took JDaniel fishing recently. The hardest part was waiting for the fish!

  2. Great tips! My son loooooves fishing!

  3. this is something that we need to do with Bear. his PopPop likes to fish, so hopefully we can do it once he gets a tad bigger. how old was R when you started fishing with him?


  4. Looks like your son really enjoyed your fishing trip!

  5. All in all, these are good tips. Location is very important wherein I recommend shallow water. Also, the gear must be non-hazardous to avoid any unwanted wounds. Also, a life vest is really recommended.

  6. Thanks! I reposted this so my readers can see this too! :-)


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