Any time a child master's a new task it builds his confidence in his ability to succeed. A great skill to teach a child is fishing. Teaching a child to fish can do so much more for him than simply helping him learn a way to provide food or participate in an outdoor sport. His self-esteem is heightened as he master's the new skill and, in the case of fishing, his appreciation for God's creations can become enhanced.
All this from a bucket of worms and a hook? Why not.
When teaching kids to fish there are several things to keep in mind. First, make sure they understand what the local rules and regulations are and the importance of following them. The obvious thing here is to make sure you do this yourself. No point in telling kids what to do if they see you bend the rules! Give them the gift of integrity.
Avoid the kid stuff
You've seen the cute character fishing lines. Your kids may want one, but they are more likely to lead to frustration than fun. Instead choose an ultra-light spinning or spin casting rod and reel combo. They are usually easier for kids to use.
Keep it simple
Don't start with spinners and jigs and such. We recommend small, barbless hooks-no larger than size 10 (the bigger the number, the smaller the hook). A light line, like 6-pound test or less, will do a great job.
Try a slip bobber
A slip bobber will let you and the kids see where the bait is as well as alert you when to set the hook. Slip bobbers work well for kids because they are easier to cast.
Correctly use sinkers
Sinkers are put on the line to get your bait down to the fish. It's best if your bobber just barely floats on the surface of the water. Split shot sinkers the size of a BB will work well if you put one at a time on the line until you get the right weight.
A little bait goes a long way
When you're ready to put on bait, remember you don't need to have a huge wad of worm on the hook. Keep the bait cut to about the size of your hook.
Preparing to Fish
Remember, this is about the child. She needs frequent praise to build her confidence. Help her want to come back and fish another day. Some things to help your fishing trip be successful:
Fish mornings or evenings, not during the heat of the day.
Think safety first.
Dress for the weather. Layers work best. Bring an extra pair of socks for wet feet.
Know your surroundings.
Bring mosquito repellent if needed.
To avoid sunburns, have kids wear hats and sun block.
Bring a first-aid kit and know how to take care of someone if they get hurt.
Keep an eye on the kids. Anytime you have activities around the water there are dangers of kids falling in.
Bring plenty of water to keep them hydrated and snacks for energy.
Let the kids set the pace. If they want to stop fishing and explore, let them.
For kids under 10 it is best for fish with one adult per child if you can.
Let kids have a daypack with some of their own gear. This increases their feelings of involvement and gives you less to carry!
Make sure fishing doesn't turn into a numbers game. That's not fun for anyone.
These first fishing trips are for action, not size. That can come later!