Article by Exist to Fish Canada writer - Justin Girard
Introduction of Fishing:
As a father of 2 girls, I learned a few tricks to keep my kids interested in my passion, I am not trying to force them into the sport, just want them to enjoy it with me and let them make their own decisions on whether or not they would come back out with me!
Once you catch a fish, teach them how to handle it, talk to them about the kind of fish you have and show them the characteristics of the fish. If you have a good live well or are planning on keeping the fish, put it in there so your kids can have fun watching it swim, they will play with it and have a great time, this will help them with the whole experience. If you are releasing the fish, talk to them on the importance of handling the fish carefully and let them release it with you. Make sure you explain why you are releasing the fish or why you are keeping it.One of the most important part that I found that is the difference between a short miserable time on the water or a short enjoyable time on the water are snacks and toys! Kids get bored fast, don’t think that your kids will stay out there for a couple hours holding their fishing rod and not say a word, that just doesn’t happen, at least not with mine! So I’ll pack them all their favorite snacks, toys and coloring books, this will help them keep busy while the fish aren’t biting. Avoid taking any electronics out there for them to play with, I see people take their kids out and the dad is fishing and the kids are watching a movie on the tablet or playing video games. Kids can do that at home, try and separate the two if you can.
Some people may not agree on this next part but I find that this is very important. If you kept a few fish for dinner, get your kids to watch you fillet them, get them involved in what you are doing. I know some people think it’s gross and kids shouldn’t see that but for me, kids need to see that fish doesn’t just show up in a box or a can, this process needs to happen and they should know how that process works. I am lucky enough that my girls are interested in watching me fillet a fish and teach them about parts of the fish. I give my daughter a pair of gloves and she touches the fish and she starts asking me questions about it. I will ask my daughter if she wants to know what the fish was eating, it’s always a yes for her! So we play a game of “how many minnows does the fish have inside” All of this sounds disturbing for some but again, it’s getting your kids involved in the entire process and experience.
Always remember that safety is #1, never take your eyes off of them in the boat, make sure that they are always wearing their life jacket, and if you can, make sure you are too to show a good example.
Remember to keep the few first trips short, a couple hours is plenty for their first time. Don’t get discourage, they are kids. Keep it fun, entertaining and educational for them and I promise you that you will be making memories that will last a lifetime!
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