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Fishing is a classic family pastime and one of the most kid-friendly outdoor activities. With a small investment in a rod and a little bit of patience, you’ll be engaging in a peaceful and fun sport that bonds the whole family.
The following resources were compiled to introduce kids to fishing. Here you’ll learn everything from choosing gear to identifying fish and selecting times and places to hit the water.
Teach Your Kids to Fish: This guide includes everything from obtaining a permit to baiting and releasing fish.
Take Children Fishing: An illustrated WikiHow article walks you through the simple steps of casting and reeling.
How to Buy a Kids Fishing Rod: Pick the right pole or net for the type of water you’ll be fishing.
Fishing Spots: Learn the state regulations and permitting requirements before searching for fishing reports on nearby bodies of water. These will help you know which fish species to expect in each body of water.
The Barefoot Fisherman: Written just for kids, this fishing book covers the fun topics of raising your own bait and the differences in various fishing equipment.
Common sense will dictate what you wear fishing, but there are some additional considerations.
If you’re standing on shore, you’ll want to do more to blend in to your surroundings, which normally means darker, earth-tone colors. On a boat, you can get away with more color. Consider dressing kids in long-sleeves even if it’s hot. A thin, white long-sleeved shirt will still feel cool and will also protect kids’ sensitive skin from the sun.
As you become more advanced, you can look into water-wicking clothing that dry more quickly.
It’s tempting to go down to the big box store and let the kids pick their favorite princess or superhero themed fishing rods. These rods are cheap—and not in a good way. You’ll be lucky to get them working properly on your first trip, let alone multiple trips. This can leave you and your kid frustrated, and if you don’t enjoy your first outings, you probably won’t continue to encourage the hobby.
Instead, stick to a small but quality reel from a sporting goods or fishing supply store. These kid-sized rods can run $20-30, so they are still very affordable.
If you don’t own a boat, you can certainly fish from the shore, but you can also rent a boat to up your fishing game and explore deeper waters that may host different fish. A few hours’ rental can be as little as $40, but a full day can run you several hundred. Splitting the costs with other family and friends makes the day less expensive and more fun.
Aside from your tackle box of fishing bait and tools, you’ll want a backpack full of supplies. Potable water, bug spray, and sunscreen are must-haves. A hat and sunglasses provide additional protection. You may also want to bring sandwiches or snacks in a cooler.
If you’ll be on a boat, make sure the kids wear life jackets at all times. Double check that your child’s life jacket is United States Coast Guard approved. Bring extra rope and a safety flotation device just in case.
Many beginner fishers find they get a lot wetter than they expected. Bring a waterproof zip-close bag to store your phone, wallet and other valuable items. Make sure you have a protected copy of your fishing license or permit, too.
Having a small pair of pliers is also useful for removing stubborn hooks from your catch’s mouth, while nail clippers are great for quickly snipping knotted lines.