Five tips for fishing with small children

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James Overstreet

Introducing your kids or grandkids early on to the outdoors and all it has to offer is important. If you do, it’ll stay with them forever. It builds self-confidence by teaching them that they can figure things out for themselves, and they learn to cherish the experience. It’s a win all the way around. 

But, like everything else, there’s a right way to do it and a not-so-right way. I’m going to share five tips with you that I’ve learned over the years — some of them the hard way — that I believe fall into the right way group. 

It’s their outing, not yours

You may want to stay out all day, but they might only want to stay an hour. If that’s the case, pack everything together and go back to the dock or the truck. Nothing will be gained by forcing them to do something they don’t want to do. And don’t be surprised if catching a fish isn’t their first priority. 

I was out recently with my grandson. With a little help from me, he ran the boat around the lake. At one point we stopped to fish. It wasn’t long before he told me he wanted to fish on the other side of the lake. He didn’t. What he wanted to do was drive the boat over there, so we did. He was having a good time, and I was having a good time watching him have a good time.

Fish with braid

Youngsters have a hard time getting a good hookset. As a result they lose a lot of fish. You can help them with this by always using braid line. It doesn’t have any stretch so a little jerk makes a big difference. I’ve even used it with drop shot rigs. And, don’t kid yourself, it doesn’t seem to affect the bites they get very much, if any. 

Another advantage to using braid is that you’ll have it handy when they hook you or themselves. Removing a hook with the string method is simple and relatively painless. 

You hook, they fight

If you catch a fish, hand the rod over to them and let them do the fighting. That’s the exciting part of fishing for most of us. Let them have the fun. 

Take along lots of snacks and drinks

This has a duel purpose. Kids like to eat when they’re doing almost anything, and snacks take care of that. Besides, most of them are growing and their metabolism is high. They get hungry faster than an adult, and they don’t deal with it as well.

The drinks go well with the snacks, but they also serve another purpose. They keep the little ones hydrated. Dehydration is no joke. At best it’ll make them sick. At worst it can turn into a serious medical problem.    

Use sunscreen

There is an increasing amount of medical evidence that serious sunburn in young children can cause cancer later in life. Don’t do that to them. Cover them from head to toe with sunscreen that is rated at least 50 SPF, and reapply it according to the directions. 

An even better solution is to cover them with clothing. That can be difficult with small children, but it’s well worth it. I use Simms products for myself and for my grandkids. 

Start ‘em out right and they’ll be an outdoors enthusiasts forever, regardless of where life takes them.