Teaching your kids to fish can be a great bonding moment that will result in tons of fun experiences in the future. While your kids might not end up adopting fishing as one of their favorite hobbies, they will certainly appreciate the time and effort you spent teaching them, and they will always be glad to join you on one of your fishing trips. However, many parents wonder how difficult exactly it is to teach their kids to fish? If you are pondering over the same question, then keep on reading – we might just have the answer.
In our opinion, teaching your kids to fish is much easier than you might consider it to be. Of course, it will take some time to find the correct approach and, of course, at least a few fishing trips will be necessary to show them all the tricks and know-how. Last but not least, you might need some extra equipment in order to make it easier for your kids. Of course, you will need to keep some things simpler in order to make them easier to understand – but we will take about this in a bit. For now, let’s teach your kids to fish by starting with the best rods and reels to use.
What Reel and Rods to Use to Teach Your Kids to Fish
The first thing to consider when gearing up your small ones are the reel and rod. One of the best choices in the reel department is a smaller-sized spincast reel. These, as you may know, are very easy to operate – they are certainly the best teaching tool regardless if you are dealing with children or adults. The smaller size will also make sure that the tasks will not be too cumbersome for children. A push of a button is all it takes for them to start casting and reeling in.
Now, if your kids are not happy that they are using equipment that differs from yours, then you might want to directly go to an open spinning reel. Of course, keep in mind that while these are superior, they might be a tad more complicated to operate. They are more susceptible to line twisting, and harder for small hands to cast. Ideally, you should start with a microlite version that is much, much smaller both in rod and reel compared to “regular” spinning models.
As for rods, you should certainly go with a microlite rod and reel. These are typically around 5 feet or so in length, and this should make it easier for your children to cast by themselves. Of course, you will still need to teach them proper technique so that their casting becomes more powerful, accurate, and safe. The microlite models, as their name suggests, are also lighter and more compact. This makes them far easier to operate with smaller hands, especially the smaller reel.
Terminal Tackle to Use to Teach Your Kids to Fish
“Terminal tackle” is what you tie onto the end of your fishing line. Setting up the tackle for your kid will not be difficult at all – keep it simple and you’re sure to have a good time.
A sample configuration for terminal tackle should include:
- A small hook at the end of the line – an ideal choice for panfish. Do not forget that we are using a microlite rig, so sticking to smaller bait for smaller fish is the goal here. A size 8 mosquito hook is perfect.
- A splitshot is attached 3-4 inches above the hook to act as a limiter for the next piece.
- Any bobber of your choice – but you should probably keep it small. If you want to make your kid’s life a tad easier, find a bobber that has a weight at the bottom. This will make it a bit easier to cast when the setup is complete.
What Type of Bait to Use When Fishing With Kids
When teaching your kids to fish, you might want to focus on live bait. Fishing lures is attractive for kids, but they need so much help early on that it will be non-stop maintenance for you. Teach them patience in fishing first, and then when they get casting down you can graduate to lures. So, make your life easier and stick to bait that is easier to manage – worms, grasshoppers, baloney, ham, hotdogs, etc.
Worms are an especially nice option because you can also use the opportunity to teach your kids how to find and catch worms – nightcrawlers, earthworms, or white grubs usually do an excellent job. Do not forget that we are going after panfish, so even the smallest pieces of bait should work. A great pre-fishing activity is to send the kids out to collect bait. They’ll love exploring, finding bait, and then using that to catch fish.
Alternatively, you could go with a store-bought option such as Crappie Nibbles. They are very easy to use, and they are not good for just beginners – they can be an excellent addition to your regular bait because of their scent. A jar of these should always be present on your fishing supplies. You can almost always “buy a bite” with some Crappie Nibbles. Not only are they a great way to enhance the quality of your bait, but they are pretty inexpensive for how long they last, and how much fun they bring to fishing.
Is Teaching Your Kids to Cast Difficult?
As you can probably guess, your kid’s first time casting should not be when you are already at the lake. Instead, we advise you to prepare the testing rig – the right rod they are going to use, with nothing but a bobber attached to the line. A weighted bobber really helps you out here. Once you have got this ready, find a green space where you can practice without bothering anyone – your lawn, a park, or even a soccer field. Naturally, you do not want any trees or bushes around, as this might make casting much more challenging.
If you remember the time when you were first learning to cast, then you know that the technique is not that easy to explain in words. Our advice is to show them how to do it a few times, and then let them practice. While teaching them the exact technique to use is not easy, do not hesitate to give them little pointers – letting go sooner, pulling the rod a bit higher, avoiding side swings, etc. Repetition is the best teacher, so let them practice until they get the hang of it. You can even turn it into a game by putting a target on the ground that they should try to hit.
Before you know it, your kids will be getting the hang of casting, which makes fishing so much more fun for them. Get out on the water and take those kids fishing!