How to Teach Kids to Fish Without a Bobber

How to Teach Kids to Fish Without a Bobber
Usually, a kid's first fishing experience involves using a bobber to detect a bit. While this method has been tried and true for a very long time, it is not always conducive to catching anything more than pumpkin seeds. Once a child is old enough and has logged some time fishing with a bobber, it's time to help him graduate to a method that will garner better results.


Difficulty: Moderately Challenging

Step 1
Convince the child that fishing without a bobber is a better way to catch fish. Explain that going without a bobber will allow the bait to sit on the bottom of the water, meaning more fish species will see it. Let her know that fish like catfish, carp, suckers, perch, trout, and bass will be more likely to grab something from the bottom than something suspended in the water. The allure of catching bigger and different fish will help the process along.
Step 2
Teach by example. While the child uses a bobber, you should rig your line with a No. 4 snelled hook and three heavy split shots, attached anywhere from 2 feet to 1 1/2 feet from the hook. Bait the hook with a night crawler, and cast it out. If you begin to have success, the child will be more than willing to learn this new method.
Step 3
Help the kid practice casting with just split shots on the child's line. Do this in a field where there is no danger of hitting someone. Fishing with a bobber normally does not require much casting skill, but utilizing a rig that sits on the bottom does to some extent. The further out into a river or lake a kid can cast, the more opportunity for fish.
Step 4
Show the kid how to monitor her pole and react to a bite from a fish. Depending on the species, a bite on a rig like this can range from a subtle tug to a hard jerk and run as the fish--especially trout and bass--take the worm and swim away. Focus on the child, knowing the difference between a bite and the natural movement of the bait and fishing line in the water caused by the current and/or the wind. Don't worry about catching fish at first.
Step 5
Set the fishing pole up, leaning against a forked stick stuck on the shore once the line is in the water. Urge the child to closely watch the rod tip for any sign of movement. A bite will make the rod tip twitch and jump. Once a child recognizes this, the next step is to catch the fish.
Step 6
Coach the kid to take up the pole when he detects a bite and "feel" for the fish. A biting fish will give a tug or two as it tries to eat the worm. Instruct the kid to pull back hard on the pole, making the rod tip come back quickly and setting the hook in the mouth of the fish. Tell her to not allow any slack during this process, and to reel in the moment she starts this hook-setting movement. Once a fish is on the line, the child can play it. If the child misses the fish, have her leave the bait there for as long as 30 seconds before reeling it in and casting it back out to the same spot.

Tips & Warnings

In states where it is legal to have more than one line per person, you can still have one of the kid's poles rigged with a bobber while he learns this new method.

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