Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Catch-m-all's Guide to Fishing with Kids

We love to fish and we have families, so that means sometimes we have to fish with kids.  This blog post can be used a as your guide to fishing with small kids.

Get Over Your Ego
The first and the hardest thing for a die hard angler to do is leave your ego at home.  Don't plan on catching any fish yourself.  We know this is hard but if you want to have a good time, check your pole at the door. The goal here is to instill a love of fishing on your kids, so make this about them. Get them fun fishing poles, and neat looking gear. Involve them with choosing hooks, bobbers and bait. Even better, have them dig worms in the yard before you go.

Zoe fights a fish while Colin and Nick watch

Choose the Right Spot
Pick a spot where lots of fish live. We usually choose really small ponds or rivers and make sure we pick a spot where we can see the fish. Another thing to look for is other things to do at the spot. Is there a playground near by? If you are canoeing is there a really cool sandbar or beach to play at?  We fish a lot with 4 year olds who have the attention span of a gnat so there have to be other things to do. We are fans of fishing with kids in weird spots, like neighborhood construction ponds, you'll be surprised how many fish live in tiny waters.

Pack Snacks
If you are a dad taking your kids fishing, pack snacks that mom won't approve of! If you're a mom pack what dad would pack. Hungry kids can ruin your trip, so have snack handy at all times. When your kid gets grumpy, shove some junk food in his mouth and you've increased your fishing time by half and hour!

Snack time!
Take Lots of Pictures
The little fish you catch might not seem like a big deal, but a few snapshots hanging on the wall will encourage your kids to ask to go with you again. So take a lot of pictures and make a big deal about your kids, show them how proud you are.

Colin shows off his pumpkinseed.

Make a Big Deal about Small Fish
Give up on catching a salmon or large bass, go for a large volume of small fish. That means small hooks, and bait. It also means your kid will be catching a lot of fish. Kid love this!  Pumpkinseed sunfish, golden shiners and fallfish are beautiful and always make kids smile.  Once in while you'll see a large fish hit tiny bait, so that will stoke the fishing fire for you.

Zoe caught this brookie in a construction pond in Conway

Teach them Stewardship
For the most part fishing with kids for us is a catch and release experience. Show your kids how to be gentle with the fish, how to properly release it and thank the fish for letting you catch it. Don't leave worm containers or garbage on the shore and if you see garbage pick it up. Be a good example and your kids will follow.

Quit While You're Ahead
You have to stop fishing when the fishing is good and the kids are in good moods. This is the hardest part, but ending the trip on a positive note will make your trip memorable and your kids will remember all the fun they've had. So learn to recognize when your trip is over and get while the gettin's good.

Sammy is too tired to enjoy her catch of the day
Happy Fishing!


  1. Well done! Right on! I hope a lot of people take your excellent advice. We learned long ago not to expect to get any fishing done ourselves when we take the kids fishing, and yes make a big deal out of any fish they catch and they'll be hooked =) Appreciate the post.

  2. I love checking on a post and seeing comments! What an awesome story..Thanks for sharing this story.

  3. Thanks for the comments, we love seeing comments too! It means people are really paying attention!