Children learn differently than adults. They are curious, like to explore and often have a complete disregard for the safety measures.
Teaching your kid to fish isn’t that much different from teaching him or her how to ride a bike. Give them too much freedom, and they could hurt themselves. Give them little or no space and they will rebel because you sucked out every last drop of fun from that activity. You need to balance what you teach with what they discover on their own.
- Prepare accordingly
Classic trip preparation with a few some slight adjustments. Make sure you bring everything so you don’t put yourself into a position where you need to improvise or have to cut trip short.
Is every piece of you fishing gear packed and ready? Snacks and drinks are in the bag? That’s great but don’t stop there. Make sure to bring a bug repellant, sunscreen, hats, first-aid kit, and sunglasses.
- Get them familiar with basic fishing equipment
Before your child can catch their very first fish, they need to know what is what. You don’t need to bother them with detailed fishing gear explanations but you should get them familiar with the basic concepts. Skipping this part is one of the biggest mistakes parents make when teaching their children about fishing.
It will be easier for them to understand what to do if they know what part of the equipment has which purpose. The main things you should explain are a spinning reel, a spool, an anti-twist roller and a reel handle. Adjust these step according to the fishing gear you are actually using.
Don’t just name these out. Storytelling is the most effective way of teaching this. Mention stories of when you went fishing, your mistakes, how you caught your first fish. Implement that into teaching the parts. That way your child will learn far more effectively and be more engaged. That’s why you still remember Toy Story.
Knowing the name of each part is not necessary but knowing what it does and how it does it kinda is. Children have creative minds so let them experiment a bit under your supervision. Let them try to figure out some things for themselves but help with an advice if you notice they are getting frustrated. Fishing rods can be quite complicated for a beginner.
- Safety First
Children are curious, meaning they are willing to try things that may not be the safest, simply because they don’t know that some actions are more dangerous than others. Educate your kid on what can happen if one is not careful.
Take special attention to hooks and baits. These things should be handled only by adults.
If you plan to use a boat or a kayak, don’t forget to use life jackets. This probably isn’t the most popular solution but hey, better to be safe than sorry.
- Choose an Appropriate Fishing Spot
Casting away can be fun in the beginning but if the fish isn’t biting your youngsters are likely to lose interest pretty fast. That’s why it is important to choose a location with a lot of fish.
If you need more info on where to find such spots, turn to you local tackle shop. They will probably be able to help you with this conundrum.
- Demonstrate and Practice
Don’t just talk. Show. Children learn the best when they are shown how to do so something rather than told. Make a few demonstrations and then let them try it out. It is no fun to only listen and watch. There is no better way of learning than to trying it out. It may sound cheesy but it’s true.
- Exercise Patience
If fishing has taught you anything it is how to be patient. Time to implement this into a new sphere of life. Children and even teenagers can quickly get impatient if their only task is to sit and wait for a fish to bite.
You can use this time to engage them in some personal conversations or to tell them about some of your interesting fishing adventures.
Also, don’t get frustrated if they take multiple times to get some things right. You can’t control what pushes your buttons but you can control how you react. If you openly show you are irritated by their fail tries you can be sure that fishing trips aren’t something they will look forward to in the future.
- Let Them Fish And Have Fun
Sometimes as parents we try too hard. There’s more than one way to do just about anything. Maybe your kid feels more comfortable holding the rod in a different way. Let them try. If all the safety precautions are taken, getting wet will just be a valuable learning experience. The lack of freedom is what destroys fun so you shouldn’t enforce unnecessary rules.
Now, go out, have fun and celebrate your child catching their first fish. It’s an experience that you will only witness once.
About the author: Andrew Austin is the founder of Kayak Fisher, an online resource providing valuable product reviews and purchasing options for all things related to Kayak fishing.