A family fishing trip can be a memorable activity for the whole family. Whether you’re deep sea fishing, or even casting in a line at Lake Sakakawea in North Dakota, it has various health benefits and can build stronger relationships between you and your kids. If you want to get your kids interested in fishing, you are in the right place. Fishing masters from FindYourFish share advice about how to hook your kids into fishing and make them more interested in nature in general.
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Family Fish Trips Require Patience
Before you embark on a family fishing trip, remind yourself of your own first fishing experiences. Tangled lines, lost fish, and wet clothes will likely come to mind.
If you want to encourage your child to fish, be sure that you praise them for little successes (such as putting bait on a hook), and avoid criticizing them. It is very possible that your kids won’t catch a fish at first. It’s also likely they will experience some problems. For example, tangling their line is almost certainly going to happen. Remember that if you lose your temper, you can effectively lose your child’s interest in fishing as well. Keep calm and fish on!
One way to deal with the inevitable tangled line is to bring two rods with you. Kids can get bored easily, so if one rod needs some fixing, your child can continue fishing with the second one. As they become more experienced and enjoy the process more, you can start teaching them how to fix any issues that pop up, but for the start of their fishing adventures, keep it as simple as possible.
Come Prepared For Your Family Fishing Trip
As a more experienced angler, you know that preparation is everything. It can make your trip a whole lot more pleasant and sometimes can help you avoid some severe problems. Being soaking wet, hungry, thirsty, or getting bitten by mosquitoes can make your child feel frustrated and, in effect, make them lose interest in fishing. Especially if they get sick a few days after. That’s a huge deal for your kids and you as well. Most of the items in our day hike packing guide will work for fishing too.
This is why you should verify weather conditions before you head to a body of water, choose proper clothes such as rain boots or waders and water-repellent jackets, prepare snacks and drinks (obviously including ones that your child truly likes), as well as bring a bottle of insect repellent. Think of everything that can make your kids more comfortable and relaxed.
If you notice that your child is markedly uncomfortable, it’s best to tend to them ASAP. Kids can quickly form negative associations with things, and there are few things more uncomfortable than being wet and cold on a family fishing trip. When your kids are comfortable and well-rested, however, they can be more focused and notice all the beautiful nature all around them.
Of course, you cannot predict all the things that can happen during the course of your family fishing trip, but if you stay vigilant and proactive, and understand what your kids need, you can keep them as comfortable and happy as possible!
Before Your Family Fishing Trip Talk About Angler Ethics
Use the time you have with your kids to explain some simple rules to them, for example, why you have a fishing license, why you can’t take some fish home, etc. Be informative, but not boring. You don’t have to go through a whole book of angling rules from your state. Extract the most important information and serve it to your kids in the most digestible way.
Take a chance to explain that poaching is illegal, and highlight why it’s bad for the environment. It is also a good moment to teach your kids when they can take a fish with them and when they should release it back into the wild and why.
Don’t forget to show your child techniques for safely unhooking fish. For a moment, you might suggest that your kids should observe how you do it to better learn the method before trying it on their own.
Once your child learns about these things, they can become more interested in nature, the ecosystem, sustainable fishing, and protecting the environment. Additionally, when they get older and go fishing on their own, they can use all the wonderful tips you’ve taught them and go on a family fishing trip of their own without hurting any species.
For A Family Fishing Trip And Beyond Teach Respect For Nature
There is no better place to teach your kids about respecting nature than nature itself. When you get a fish on shore, your kids can learn all about its anatomy. Note its scales, gills, fins, etc. If your child likes drawing, you can bring with you some paper and crayons, and let them draw what they see. This way, you make the whole experience more interesting and prolong the amount of time your tot will actually tolerate fishing.
Aside from fish, your kids might notice other creatures that live in the water, for example, minnows, tadpoles, frogs, and crawdads. Use this time to explain the food chain, and highlight how important it is to preserve nature to continue enjoying its beauty.
During your trip, you will probably have some snacks. This is a great moment to explain leave-no-trace ethics. Tell your kids about littering and how it can influence the environment, including the species they just observed in the water.
Talk About Nature Even After Your Family Fishing Trip
Even if you are back home, you can continue educating your child about nature. You can pick up an age-appropriate biology book (get one in a local library if you don’t own one), and ask your kids to find living creatures you find on your little escapades.
With good pictures, they can see all beings closer and better understand how they look. Treat it as a chance to talk a bit more about biology. For example, you can find some information about a frog’s development.
Of course, you can also use the Internet to do that. However, if you choose a book, you reduce the screen time for yourself and your kids and teach them a healthy habit of reading books.
Family Fishing Trip Summary
As you can see, a family fishing trip is a wonderful way to bond with your children in nature. It is also a perfect moment to share your values and teach them how to protect and love nature. Come prepared for your fishing trip, and you will quickly notice your children being interested in the natural world around them and quite likely asking you a lot of questions.