If there is one thing better than catching a fish yourself it perhaps is helping someone else to catch one. Even more so if it’s their first, or PB of some description. Better again if it’s their first fish all together. Recently I’ve had the pleasure of once again taking the grade 5/6 children of St.Joseph’s Primary school fishing as part of their water safety and awareness program. Some are already keen anglers, others have never been before, but they all get right into the day and the smiles and excitement as fish start coming in makes all the preparation worthwhile. A lot of this success/enjoyment can be put down to a few factors that are specific to the place we take them fishing, the Hopkins River bridge. However these factors can be applied to any situation where you might be taking young budding anglers fishing.
Kids are happy just to catch fish, make sure your spot is a place where bites are plentiful even if they aren’t big fish or prestigious species. A variety of species is always another good factor in keeping children’s interest. Mundane captures like a toadfish can be a source of great delight to youngsters, even if they had been previously catching something we would see as being much more worthwhile.
Use of basic berley is important in helping attract fish. As stated earlier plenty of bites equal plenty of interest and berley is a key factor into assisting with holding fish in your general vicinity. Even looking down at a school of baitfish cruising around the berley is entertaining even if they are too small to catch. A mix of stale bread and tuna oil works well and the kids enjoy distributing this as much as the fishing.
When fishing off the bridge there is no need for the kids to be proficient casters. In fact (as we keen anglers all know) fish often hang close to shade and structure so a simple opening the bail arm and dropping the bait straight down is perhaps more effective than casting well out. There is enough access to shade and deep water to keep the fish biting through “gentlemen’s” hours. Many spots only fish well at certain tides or low light times but convincing novice anglers that they need to be up at say 5am, can be difficult.
Comfort and safety are another two key points. With guard rails on either side and a dry clean deck to stand/sit on, the bridge sure beats being on a muddy or sandy bank. As well as reducing the danger of unintentional swims, such an environment makes it easier to keep the tackle tangle and dirt free…ready for when a fish jumps on. The rods can be easily left lying at an angle on the bridge railings ready for the bite. Even if a good fish jumps on they are secure from being dragged off into the water if the novice angler isn’t paying attention. It doesn’t take a very big fish to pull a rod in lying horizontal on a pier or bank.
Fish as light as line as possible and use quality terminal tackle especially sharp hooks. Fresh bait, sharp hooks and light lines often see fish just hook themselves and important factor to consider with angler with novice level skills.
Constant tangles are no fun, nor is hooking a decent fish and losing it to gear failure. Make sure you are using tackle that the kids can allow the children to fish effectively and hassle free as possible. Daiwa has a range of pre-mounted combos that are perfect for getting novice anglers into fishing. With summer holidays upon us do some youngster you know a favour and introduce them to the wonderful world of fishing, you’ll probably get just a big a kick out of it as well.