Guest blogger, managing director of CH Smith Marine, and former president of the Boating Industry Association, Rod Smith, gives his expert opinion on having a safe and fun adventure when fishing with children.
Fishing requires preparation, patience, and concentration at the best of times. So you can imagine that by bringing children into the mix, it’s suddenly a whole new ball game!
But this shouldn’t deter you from introducing your child to such a wonderful pastime – fishing teaches kids many important skills and is a great way to bond with your little ones.
Simply follow these tips for fishing with kids and your child will be hooked in no time.
1. Have the right equipment
Essential fishing and boating accessories such as a rod, line, live-bait, and first-aid kit are important additions for any fishing trip. But the key is making sure your equipment is up-to-date and suitable for use by a young child.
In addition, having the best safety equipment and boating accessories will not only improve your chances of landing a catch but, more importantly, make all the difference if an emergency situation arises.
Every occupant of a vessel, whether it’s a boat or a kayak, should wear a life jacket regardless of swimming capability. The right personal flotation device will be clearly visible and well-fitted.
2. Be patient
Sometimes, a casual morning outing can become an all-day extravaganza, especially if the fish aren’t biting. Unfortunately, this won’t cut it with many children, who get bored, agitated, and tired during long periods of downtime.
Keeping your fishing itinerary to a designated period is a great compromise that will ensure you and your kids leave the water on a high note.
While minimising the time you spend casting your line will please kids, it’s important that you maintain a calm, collected attitude too. You weren’t born a legendary fisher and neither were they! Lower your expectations and take things step by step when teaching young ones to fish.
3. Keep your kids in sight
It’s obvious, but when it comes to children and water keep a close eye on them at all times. It takes only a moment for a child to find themselves in the water and mere minutes to lose consciousness. The glimmer of a fish underneath the surface is temptation enough to distract any child into taking a closer peek.
Maintaining supervision both before, during, and after your trip is an essential part of involving your children safely into the fishing world. Be sure to enforce the importance of good behaviour and staying close by before you head out.
4. Always check the conditions
And do this ahead of time. While checking conditions just prior to your fishing adventures can’t hurt, it’s best to be aware of the weather well before you arrive at your destination.
Check forecasts the day before you set out, noting the likelihood of strong winds or heavy rain. Consider taking a raincheck if necessary. Remember, safety is paramount.
“The glimmer of a fish underneath the surface is temptation enough to distract any child into taking a closer peek.”
It’s also a great idea to research the region before you decide to visit. Are there any nearby facilities such as cafés or playgrounds for young kids?
Children will get the most from the experience if you choose an interesting, diverse location. Or bring a picnic and make a true adventure of it!
5. Don’t start children too young
It’s no surprise that youngsters will be unprepared for the challenges of fishing. The pastime requires skill and patience and is often measured only by tangible success, namely, a caught fish. In some cases, it can be better in the long run to leave your child at home until they are ready.
To pique their interest, encourage your kids to play with your fishing gear (under supervision). Or visit a beach, river, or lake before you begin fishing to familiarise them with the surrounds.
“Children will get the most from the experience if you choose an interesting, diverse location.”
Taking a child fishing before they are ready – especially out on the water – can create a stressful, negative, and dangerous situation. If they’re old enough to crawl about but young enough to not effectively swim, then err on the side of caution.
Yet once they are ready and have the hang of fishing, the world is your oyster!
Do you have any tips for fishing with children? We’d love to hear about them in the comments section below.
Isn’t it time you enjoyed a family fishing adventure? Book your next BIG4 break now.