How to Encourage Kids to Fish

How to Encourage Kids to Fish
A father can become very disappointed when the fishing tradition that has been passed down from one generation to the next within his own family looks as if it will end with him. With all the options to fill leisure time today, kids often will turn their back on fishing. Encouraging kids to fish can be a chore, but done correctly it can produce a child who will become a lifelong angler.


Difficulty: Moderate

Step 1
Set the kid up to have immediate success. Rather than target an elusive species such as trout or pike, take her to a place where fish such as bluegill, pumpkinseeds, white perch and bullhead are known to bite. Make sure that she has a chance to catch some fish without too much trouble, which will whet her appetite for more.
Step 2
Keep the tackle simple. A bamboo pole with some line attached is perfect to catch sunfish and bullheads for children six and under. A light spinning rod can be used for older children. Practice casting in an open area near home rather than attempting to teach a child to cast during the outing.
Step 3
Limit the time spent fishing to no more than an hour and a half at first. Bringing a kid fishing and expecting to have him maintain constant interest over a long period of time is unrealistic and will lead to boredom, which the child will equate with fishing in the future. Less is more when it comes to encouraging a kid to fish for those first trips to the river or pond.
Step 4
Allow a kid to reel in one of your hooked fish, especially if it is a large one. Do not react negatively if the fish eludes capture. Feeling a large fish on the end of the line can only serve to make the child want to hook and catch his own. Accentuate everything the child does right and don't dwell on mistakes.
Step 5
Focus on the other aspects of the trip while fishing. Take the opportunity between bites to point out the many species of birds and insects which will invariably be near or even in the water where you are fishing. Explain the connection between animals in an ecosystem in a way that can be understood.
Step 6
Make the fishing experience fun. For example, you can assign a point value to each species of fish that you might catch while fishing and make a game of it to see which angler scores the most points. Smaller and more common fish such as perch and bluegill will have lower values while bass, trout, and catfish can be worth more. Print out a score sheet on your computer, have teams if there are enough kids along on the trip, and even have a "league" where you keep track of the standings.

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