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Fishing With Your Kids: Tactics, Tips, and Tricks

 July 13, 2018

 

 

As told by Outdoor Empire Editor Ben Team

 

 

 

Most kids love boating, and you probably don’t have to do any arm-twisting to get them excited about your next trip. However, the average outing probably goes on a little longer than their attention spans will last, which can cause your youngsters to become bored, irritable, and cranky. It can be helpful to make sure there are plenty of fun things to do while cruising around on the family boat.

Fishing is an obvious and exciting option, and generally one that kids are eager to try – even if it’s their first time behind the rod. It is true that fishing can be boring if you don’t catch any fish, but the recommendations below may give your kids the best chance of holding up a trophy before the day comes to a close.

 

 

  

SIZE AND AGE APPROPRIATE GEAR

It can be frustrating for children to use rods and reels designed for older, more experienced anglers. Set your kids up with smaller rods and simpler reels, which will better suit their size and skill level. A five-to-six-foot long rod and saltwater reel is ideal.

 

 

TARGET SPECIES THAT ARE ABUNDANT AND EASY TO CATCH

When teaching your kids to fish, you don’t want to start with marlin or swordfish. Highly-prized gamefish are challenging quarry and require advanced techniques and elaborate equipment to catch – certainly not ideal for a family day on the boat. Rather, look for species that are more abundant, which tend to be aggressive feeders.

Of course, different waters hold different fish, so you’ll need to set your sights on the best species for the area in which you are fishing.

  • If you’re fishing off the east coast, consider targeting bluefish. You’ll want to use metal leaders when trying to catch these toothy fish. They’re abundant and feed very aggressively, making them a bit easier to catch. Look in nearshore waters and around offshore structure where bluefish are typically most common.
  • If you’re fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, redfish are a great species to target with your kids. They are typically found in relatively shallow water but are sometimes a bit further offshore. Shrimp are usually great bait for redfish, and they’ll stay on the hook securely despite the fact that your kids are learning to cast.
  • If you’re fishing off the west coast, consider targeting halibut. Halibut are often pretty abundant, and while most are relatively small, you may get lucky and catch a giant! Since as they tend to feed near the bottom, you’ll want to use a sinker rig.
USE REAL OR LIVE BAIT INSTEAD OF ARTIFICIAL LURES

Even though advanced anglers are successful when using artificial lures, beginner anglers need practice to learn the finesse to animate the lure that will attract fish. For beginners, a great set-up is a simple float rig baited with a live minnow, a piece of cut squid, or a small shrimp.

 

FISH ALONGSIDE YOUR KIDS

If catching fish is the name of the game, you’ll want to keep as many baited hooks in the water as possible. It can be helpful to keep your own line in the water while fishing alongside them. With your knowledge and skill, you may be more likely to notice nibbles and successfully hook fish. Once you’ve set the hook, pass your rod over to one of your children, so they can reel in the fish and claim credit for the catch!

 

OBTAIN ALL OF THE NECESSARY LICENSES AND PERMITS

It’s important to set a good example for your kids and follow all fishing rules and regulations. Make sure to obtain a valid license and any necessary permits before launching your boat. The rules and regulations governing saltwater fishing differ from state to state, so you’ll have to do a little homework to find the relevant laws you’ll need to follow. Fortunately, the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service makes it pretty easy to do so.

 

Most importantly, be an example of a positive attitude and provide your kids with plenty of encouragement. Fishing takes a bit of practice and a lot of patience – and a supportive word from mom or dad can go a long way toward keeping their spirits up. With luck, they’ll be battling big fish in no time and grinning from ear to ear!

 

If you’d like to learn a few more ways to help make your kids’ first fishing trip a great one, cruise on over to Outdoor Empire and check out their comprehensive review of the subject. There, you’ll not only learn a few more ways to keep your kids comfortable and happy while fishing, but you’ll learn a few more tips about selecting the best bait, targeting the most aggressive fish, and minimizing common problems.