How to Take Your Kids Fishing for the First Time (and Make It Fun)
Taking your kids fishing for the first time is a great way to get them outside and in touch with the natural world. The quality time spent together as a family is what they'll remember for years to come. Set them up for success by keeping these fishing tips in mind. Whether you're fishing from the dock of your Indian Rocks Beach vacation rental or heading out on a chartered fishing excursion, everyone will enjoy their day of fishing if you follow these tips.
HELPFUL TIPS WHEN FISHING WITH KIDS
1. Focus on the experience.
The anticipation of catching fish is of course what everyone looks forward to, but don't put too much pressure on yourself or your kids to catch a lot of fish. There's a reason why it's called fishing and not catching! Focus on making the experience fun. Go out for breakfast first or consider choosing a spot that has other kid-friendly things to do in addition to fishing in case your kids need a change of pace (see number 2).
2. Find a kid-friendly fishing spot.
Your kids, especially the young ones, might need frequent breaks to let out some energy or a change of focus every so often. Choose a fishing spot that has other kid-friendly offerings such as a playground, park or other spot that has fun things to do. You may also need a backup plan and alternative to casting a line, such as having a dip net for the kids to try and catch small fish.
3. Keep it simple.
You definitely want to keep things as simple as possible. Don't overcomplicate it with too many do's and don'ts. Stick to the basics and you'll be just fine. Kids who haven't been fishing before will do much better with a spincast or spinning rod and reel than with a baitcaster. Similarly, live bait makes for an easier start than learning to work a complex lure.
4. Make the first fishing trip short and sweet.
You want to keep your first fishing excursion short. An hour or two is plenty of time to get the kids started, even if they don't catch any fish. You don't want a long drawn out fishing experience that ends in frustration (for you or for them). Start out small and build upon each of your outings with more opportunities to get the feel of the rod and reel—and to get comfortable with the whole process. Baby steps!
5. Be prepared.
Just as you would prepare for a trip to the beach, a fishing trip is much the same. Sunscreen, protective clothing, lots of water for hydration, snacks, insect repellant, and a first aid kit are helpful to have for your outing. Being proactive is key to a successful fishing day.
6. Be patient.
Model patience to your kids and prepare them for the reality that they may not catch anything and that's okay. Remember, it's about the experience and developing future anglers who enjoy the experience more than how plentiful and how big the fish are. Fishing is a wonderful opportunity to practice and develop patience for the all ages and skill levels.
7. Follow the rules.
You will want to be aware of the current fishing regulations and depending on where you're fishing, you'll need to have a recreational fishing license in Florida for those ages 16 and over (fishing charter boats and fishing piers carry blanket licenses so you don't need one). Licenses can be purchased online at MyFWC.com/License, at retail agents such as sporting goods stores or other retailers that sell hunting or fishing equipment, by telephone at 888-FISH-FLORIDA (347-4356) and at local Florida tax collector offices. You can get a fishing license locally at Indian Rocks Tackle, 1301 Gulf Blvd., in Indian Rocks Beach.
WATCH MORE KID-FRIENDLY FISHING TIPS
DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR TAKING KIDS FISHING FOR THE FIRST TIME?
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