Into the Outdoors - Fishing with Kids

By Chris Henderson

With spring just ahead, and a lot of great fishing just around the corner, this might be a good time to address the topic of introducing youngsters to the joys of fishing.  One of the greatest things about fishing is the opportunity to share it with someone else.  For this, there’s just nobody better than a kid. This week, with trout season a little less than six weeks away, we’re going to take a look at taking a kid fishing, and some things you can do to make sure that his or her first fishing experience is something that will long be remembered and cherished.  You know, this is the time of year when, in 1955, my dad introduced me to angling.  Since we have a few weeks before it gets warm enough for little kids to fish, this is a good time to get ready.

At this point, I should state that I do not agree with the idea of mentored youth fishing days. They should learn to wait for opening day just like everyone else. Further, I think that a junior fishing license, for kids between twelve and sixteen, should be put in place.

When it comes to equipping a boy or girl for fishing, it’s not really all that difficult or expensive, especially if the kid is pretty young.  One thing not to do, of course, is to stick the youngster with some old, worn out stuff of your own.  It probably doesn’t work all that well.  That’s probably the reason you stopped using it in the first place.  Even some really high quality and expensive tackle is not very suitable for a novice angler, especially a young one.  As great as they are, the fact of the matter is that baitcasting reels are, for the most part, just too much for kids.  In fact, some adults never totally master their use.  Give a kid one of these, and all you’ll get done is untangling backlashes, and both you and the kid will get frustrated rather quickly.  The same circumstances are also true of open face spinning reels, and, once again, they are best avoided.

In my opinion, a closed face spincasting reel is the best reel for a youngster.  It’s almost impossible to get a tangle with these.  The push button ease is very appealing, too. I think it’s important that the fishing outfit used by a boy or girl belong to them.  A first fishing outfit is something that will be remembered for many years.  In fact, when I came across mine in the attic, I got new guides put on it and started using it again. The rod’s not great, but I love it for the memories it evokes.

A serious mistake that is easy to make is staying out too long with a young angler. Young kids tire and bore easily, and if you overdo it, they may not want to go with you anymore. You also have to be patient with such things as tangled lines, snags in trees, falling into the water and a score of other potential problems. No matter how annoyed you become, you just can’t let yourself lose your temper.  If you do, the kid will become scared and nervous, and that will be the end of the fishing, perhaps for a lifetime.  As hard as it may be to do it, it just might be best to leave your own tackle at home for the first few trips, so that you can devote more time to your young companion. That may seem like a big sacrifice to make, but it’s certainly worth it in the long run.

Kids are great fishing buddies. Their excitement ant enthusiasm are contagious. If you get a chance, take a kid fishing.  You’ll be glad you did.

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