Involve your kids from the beginning
Kids enjoy feeling included, and what better way to instill some responsibility in your children. Depending on their age, give them small things for which they are responsible, such as ensuring that everyone has a personal floatation device, or teaching them to coil a line.
Keep them busy
Kids like to stay active. Plan an outing on the boat that includes water activities such as snorkeling, tubing, looking for wildlife or learning how to fish. Introduce your child to fishing.
Teach them new skills that will last a lifetime
Being on the water provides an excellent opportunity to teach kids about their environment, boating, fishing and safety skills. Try to incorporate these teachings into fun activities and gradually introduce your kids to new things as they are ready. For example, you might want to create a game that teaches nautical terminology such as port, starboard, stern, and bow. Once your kids master this terminology, help them learn how to safely drive the boat or cast a fishing line. Boating and fishing provide unlimited learning that lasts a lifetime.
Plan family outings and include others
Use this time to gather as a family and create lifelong memories. Plan short outings such as a picnic on the boat or let the kids find a new creek or lake on the chart and plan a picnic at that destination. This creates a sense of adventure and allows valuable family time together. You can let your kids invite a friend or relative along to share in the fun!
Tips for Fishing with Kids
An ultra-light spinning, or spin casting rod and reel combo is usually easier for kids to use.
Small hooks = big catches. Avoid hooks larger than size 10 (hook sizes run backwards—size 12 is smaller than size 10). Fish will not readily take large hooks unless they are feeding voraciously.
Most of the time, a subtle presentation is needed to catch wary fish. Tiny hooks also allow small fish to “inhale” the bait, rather than nibble at the hook. If a fish swallows the hook and you want to return it to the water, simply cut the line as close to the hook as possible and release the fish.
Lighten up your line
Light line will do the job, preferably 6-pound test line or less. Unless you are targeting monster catfish or marauding muskies, light line is your best bet.
Bobbers (or floats) are used to suspend your bait in the water and alert you when to set the hook. The harder the bobber is to pull under, the harder it will be to hook a fish. Small floats will help convince the fish to take your tasty bait and run. “Slip” bobbers work well for kids. Slip bobber rigs cut down on the amount of line needed at the end of the rod and are easier to cast. Small ice fishing bobbers can provide a light touch any time of year.
Sink it with shot
Sinkers help get your line down to the fish. They can also create “zero buoyancy.” Ideally, you want your bobber to just barely float on the top of the water. Squeeze small BB-sized split shot sinkers onto your line one at a time until your bobber nearly sinks from the weight. Since there is very little resistance when the fish takes the bait, it is more likely to bite the bait and run.
Great big gobs of worms will not do
There is no need to use whole whopping-big, writhing night crawlers on your hook. Keep the bait approximately the size of your hook. Live bait such as worms, bee moths or crickets work best. Cut the bait to fit your hook.