A couple decades of working on, or running a guide boat allows for some interesting experiences. One of which is dealing with kids while on the water.
It is very important for today’s anglers to get the next generation involved with fishing, but several things need to be considered when doing so. There is a very big difference, however, between taking a kid fishing and just taking a kid fishing with you.
- Have a properly fitting life jacket. In many states it is the law to have a life jacket on a child at all times. Making sure it’s comfortable and safe will keep them interested longer.
- Pack plenty of food. When things are slow food always helps occupy time and everything tastes better on the lake!
- Know that when you take a kid fishing it needs to be about them. If you leave them to the dogs and focus on your fishing they won’t have much fun and it may burn them from the sport entirely.
- Fish in nice weather conditions and for a species that is more likely to provide action. Big waves and a few bites a day are not kid friendly.
- Dress for success. Have raingear or climate appropriate clothing. I have seen many dads get in my boat with top end gear and and have their child severely underdressed for the conditions, layers are best.
- Don’t make it an all-day marathon. Even the most fishing-hungry child usually can’t take a full day on the lake; it tires out the best of us. Know when to call it a day.
- Work on casting before fishing.
- Patience! Losing a fish or lure is not a big deal, so don’t make it one!
- Simplify everything you can. A trip with the kids is probably not the best time to take that new $300 jigging stick along.
While most of these things are common sense issues, I see many of them go overlooked on a regular basis. If you take the proper steps and introduce kids to fishing the right way you just may get a fishing buddy for life. After all, at some point we are going to need someone to haul our old butts to the lake!
Capt. Ross Robertson