How to get the family fishing
As many of us starts fishing way before we established our own family nest, in some situations we find ourselves alone within this great fishing hobby, without our family joining us. And since we love our family and we love fishing as well… Wasn’t it great if our family will love fishing as well? Or at least would love to join us when we go out fishing.
So, if you want to know how to make your family get in love with fishing you must read this great post on “How to get the family fishing” which has great tips that will make your family get in love with fishing.
In this article, I will share with you several tips and ideas, that can help you accomplish this desired target. I will share with you tips from my own experience. The good things that worked out and the wrong things, as well, so you won’t make these mistakes as I did.
And don’t think that if your son is a toddler then you can’t have him fishing as well. Fishing with a toddler is possible and it’s fun. Toddlers can hold the rod nicely and even catch a fish.
Pssst… In case you are new to fishing as well, you can read our awesome fishing guide for beginners. Don’t worry, I won’t tell to anyone.
One thing that I learned in my life is that young kids love fishing. But as much as they love fishing, kids lose their interest and attention very quickly. So, if you want to have a successful fishing trip with your family and kids, you must have their focus at all times. So, you need to have a good plan before you go.
Don’t worry, it is not a complicated task. Just make sure to follow simple rules and your family fishing trip will be a success.
Some of us, loves fishing so much, that we think that if we will share it with others, they will love it as well.
I remember myself, on the way to the lake with one of the kids, explaining to him what he needs to do to catch a fish. And for the entire hour, he heard about fishing. I was telling him about the great fish I caught the other day explaining to him about the fish. I explained to him what he likes to eat. When it eats it, why it eats it, at what time of the day I caught it, and even…. Blah blah blah. I assume you got the idea.
Believe me, that if I start talking about fishing, well, you can ask all of my friends, I can go on and on for hours. And whenever I did it, I never had many partners to join me. But, after several times of me going alone for fishing. Whenever I got back home with fish in my basket, they came asking me…” Wow!!! How did you do it?”. So, then after a few more times, they asked me, if they can come along.
So please! Don’t overload information on the kids and especially on your wife (or husband). I guess, that no one did it to you. Let your family love fishing in their own way. We are all different, so we all love things in different ways, and we also love to learn things in our ways. So, remember, less talking!
And whenever you explain the technical details, make sure to do it in a fun way.
Fishing is fun
We go fishing for many reasons. For some of us, it is the major escape from daily stress. It is not stressful to go fishing, and one thing for sure, we go fishing since it gives us a piece of mind and a lot of fun.
So, make sure to pass it on to your family. Not by saying that (remember not to lecture, right?), but by acting like that.
So, if your kid is standing next to you, holding the rod and reel, don’t stress him out by pointing how wrong he holds the rod, or how wrongly he operates the reel – even if you think that he can break it (don’t worry – I will give you a solution for that as well). If this is his first day, most probably he will make mistakes (and I can almost say that it is guaranteed that he will make mistakes). But from his point of view, he is enjoying it. Why? Because he is like his dad. He is a big man holding the rod. For him, it means that he is fishing. And for him, this is already a success. For him, getting a fish in the first hour or day is not his top priority. At least he does not know it yet.
Make a picnic
The day should not be only fishing. So make sure you bring with you everything you need for a perfect day for a picnic as well. Make it an unforgettable day for them.
The timing for the picnic is up to you, but I do recommend you to do it when the fish are less active. I will speak about that later on.
And if a picnic is not relevant to the place you chose, let them play and enjoy. Allow them to bring some toys from home so they can enjoy the day.
Choosing the right place
While we all know great places for fishing. Sometimes we still prefer a new place, which we are not familiar with very well. We prefer this place for the sake of the challenge.
Unfortunately, some of us will take their family to these new places that they are not yet familiar with. Think as this is a fishing trip for your family, not yours. Consider yourself as their fishing guide.
When you think about a fishing trip with your family, you need to think about the best place for them, and less for you. It is not a bad idea to go to an easier place, a place where you know exactly where and when to catch the fish. Choose a place that you sure about. A place that you will provide lots of fish in your basket.
Trust me, that when I followed this rule, I got most of the interest of fishing from people. Even from those that don’t like to fish.
And to make it more clear, I would even consider going to a local stocked pond which is precisely for people who wants to catch fish easily. Believe me, this is exactly what you are after.
Choosing the best weather
Choose the right weather is very important. I would recommend a sunny day which is not too hot or even a cloudy day, but not a cold day.
If the water is safe, letting the kids enjoy the water during the day will be perfect. So don’t forget to bring with you everything you need for this, like swimsuits, etc.
Depends on the fish you will target for them, I would recommend letting the kids start with bluegills or tilapia. They are a great fish to start with. And many of us had these fish as our first ones.
You are more than welcome to read our post on how to catch bluegills, to make it easier for you.
Having the kids catch their first fish
From your point of view, it is very important that your kid will catch his first fish as fast as possible.
Hold on! I know what you are thinking… Just a few seconds ago, I told you that for the kid, catching a fish on his first day, is not the top of his priorities. So, let me explain what I mean. For your kid, holding the fishing rod, only is a great achievement. And since you don’t know exactly what does your kid believes in, and what he expects from the day. Even if he won’t catch a fish, it will be a successful day.
But we want something else. We want this day to be overwhelming for him. So, here is exactly where catching the fish comes in.
You must think about what do you need to do in order to get that fish as fast as possible. This takes us to our next tip. Choosing the right place.
Don’t expect them to be like you
I am sure that it’s been a while since you started fishing. And as times goes by, catching small fish is too easy for you. Your expectations and appetite became bigger.
So, assuming that you will follow my previous tip about choosing an easy place, and you will go to a lake that has lots of panfish, like bluegills. Don’t aim to catch a big fish. Remember, catching a fish is your main target. The size of it is really not important. And I will say that again, the size of the fish is not important. It’s the success of catching a fish.
So, when your kid catches his fish, no matter what it’s size. Make a celebration from it. Be proud of him. And if it was you to catch the first fish, even if it small, show it to them. Let them understand what they can achieve here. That will boost them a lot.
Make it simple
If your kids don’t know how to fish yet, give them the simplest setup. A simple short rod, with a small spinning reel, float, sinker, and a hook. As for the bait, try corn or doe.
Don’t make things too complicated. Tie them the hooks, don’t teach them that yet.
Also, don’t let them fish where the line can get tangled very easily. This is since kids can give up very quickly.
Buy the fishing tackle together
One thing that can boost up your kids about fishing, is going together to buy the fishing gear. Let them be a part of the decision (of course within your budget limitation). Let them feel like grown-up people. And direct them to decide upon the things you want. Or you can even go online with them to order the fishing tackle from, like many of us, from the internet.
What is the best fishing tackle for a kid?
When considering buying a dedicated tackle for the kids, a spinning set will be the best one to start with. It is cheap, and in many situations, it will just looks like yours and it won’t make problems like bird nests which we are familiar with, unfortunately, with a baitcasting reel.
I also prefer a telescopic rod for the kid, as I found it easier for kids to work with.
So here is my preferred tackle for your kids.
As for a rod, as said, I prefer a telescopic fishing rod. This Carbon Fiber Telescopic Fishing Rod is fantastic. I have a few of them. They are a great solution for guests or kids. I never saw someone breaks it. And I have them for a few years already. Just make sure to wash it every time your return home. I can’t tell you how much I recommend you to have this specific rod.
But if your kid is a toddler, and you want him to enjoy fishing as well, I would recommend a much shorter rod. Or even a toy rod.
To the fishing rod I mentioned above, I use this strong spinning fishing reel. As much as it is strong, it is lightweight and will be great for your kids. Like the telescopic rod, I personally have 4 spinning reels of it. And when I go out fishing, I use my best fishing reels, for example, the Shimano Stradic CI4+, but, I always bring with me a few of these spinning reels just in case someone will join me.
Regarding the line, as much as I prefer a braided line, for the kids I recommend you to use a mono line.
It is stronger near stones and bushes and also will have fewer problems when not casting correctly (well, that of course compared to a braided line). I like to use Berkley Trilene Super Strong line. It is a great line.
All the rest of the things, like floats, sinkers, and hooks, I will leave you to decide. You don’t need to go crazy here. Another thing to consider is a fishing net. By having a fishing net, you can have one of the kids to assist in case he or she didn’t catch a fish yet, or if they got bored, or even afraid of touching the fish.
I do recommend you to buy your kid a fishing plier (or a multi-tool). After my kid lost my pliers during fishing, I realized how much this small tool is so helpful. So, before the next time, we went fishing together, I bought him a fishing plier as well. And mine is now attached to me with a lanyard J.
Only after your kids are seriously into fishing, it will be a good time to get them better high-quality gear.
Allow them to make mistakes
Not on purpose of course, but, since we want to keep everything simple (like we said before), we can’t really explain to them everything we know about fishing on the first day. So, go only for the basics, and let the kid understand and explore the rest by himself.
But be smart! If he gets confused, in a way that he fails too many times, then it’s time to help him out. But again, make it short and simple, let him know what he didn’t do well. Try to hide out other mistakes (which are not important) as much as possible – for now, of course.
Your kid got his first fish
After all this effort, now it is time to celebrate.
Like I said before, no matter what you think. Even if it is just a small fish, once your kid caught his first fish, (or even if it’s his second one or third), be very happy for him, and let him know that. Celebrate each catch. Show your kid how proud you are at him (or her). This is very important for his self-confidence. And for wanting himself to continue fishing.
Depends on your kid’s age, ask your kid to release the fish from the hook by himself. He might not want to do that at first, but it is important that he will be independent with this. Only if he scared and refuses to do it, then help him out. Try even to encourage him to at least touch the fish. Let him feel this day on the water. All the handling with the fish is very important for his memories.
Take your phone or a camera (in case you have one) and make sure to take several pictures of your kid with the fish. And if your kid is not afraid, ask him to kiss the fish.
Not too much
Try to take breaks once in a while. This will keep the interest in fishing for your kids. Do it before your kid will get bored or will have enough of it. Sometimes, it will even be a good idea to make a break after your kid succeeds for an hour. When you will make the break he will want to continue fishing, and by stopping it (in a nice way) to go eat something he will think about returning to fishing all the time.
I remember when I was 5 years old, my dad bought me a toy truck. And my dad allowed me to play with it every day, but only for 30 minutes. After those 30 minutes, he came and took it. And I wanted it so much. I remember myself playing with this truck every day for a very many days after. I never had enough of that truck. And that was an excellent lesson for me in life. A lesson I am using not only for fishing but in many other aspects of life.
But do the breaks in good timings. For example, you and I know that there are specific hours during the day that are better than others. So, whenever you know (or see) that the catches are going down, this is a good time to do a break.
Catch and release
Here you can ruin a lot. If you are a catch and release person, not sure your kids will understand why after all the effort they put in, you release the fish. So, look carefully before you release the fish (in case you intend to do it). Ask them what they want to do with the fish. Funnily ask them, “What do you say if we release the fish?”.
Some kids, in their nature, will be glad to release it. However, some can be very disappointed. And many kids, I saw, don’t like to release the fish they caught.
Since, I do prefer to release the fish, what I have done, and it worked for me like a charm when a kid wanted to keep the fish, I agreed with him, but the next time when I caught a small fish, I showed him and let him feel like an adult to spare the fish life– since he is small. Having his approval for it is essential. Don’t push him to agree, and don’t let him feel that you push him for that. And after releasing the fish, the next time I (or him) caught a bigger fish, we kept it again.
In this way, as time goes by, the kid started to release the fish by his own will without me telling him to do it. And he always kept the biggest one he caught. And today, after few years of doing this, he now keeps only the really big ones.
So, let’s sum up all the things to have a great fishing journey with the family.
- Don’t lecture them about fishing too much.
- Don’t fish all day, make a picnic.
- Chose the rod and reel together, to increase the kid’s motivation and enthusiasm.
- Go to the most comfortable place that you know (and familiar with) that will provide you with as many fish as possible.
- Choose a great weather day. A sunny day, which is not too hot, is the preferred one.
- Don’t expect them to be like you.
- Stay calm even if they do mistakes.
- Celebrate every fish that your kids catch.
- Don’t be on the water too much. Make some breaks.
- Only at the beginning, let the kids decide if to release the fish or not.
Let me know what you think about this “How to get the family fishing” post, and also let me know if you have other useful tips about it. Or if one of my tips didn’t work out for you, I would like you to share that with me.
Let us all help everyone enjoy this great hobby of fishing.