By Nabeel Issa
As someone who grew up fishing from a young age, I know first hand how exciting and enjoyable fishing can be when you are a child. The anticipation of the trip, your dad telling you the plan the night before, the early wake up, the long drives... it all forms part of a great experience. Something I really wanted to pass on to my son. Fishing with children is a challenge, it can frustrate you, it can frustrate them and there will most likely be crying! However, it will also bring on some amazing moments that you will cherish that make it worth every second of it!
I love fishing with my 4-year-old, he is an obsessed fisherman just like me and lives for the next time he gets to come out. In this article, the first of a few, I wanted to go over a few tips for how to get your kids to enjoy their fishing. I often hear of people saying their kids dislike fishing, or they lose interested very quick. For most, that’s going to be common, fishing can be slow at times and kids… well they need excitement!
Keeping the kids occupied has to be your main aim when you take them fishing, its also important to note that it needs to be about them (for the first few trips at least) if you get carried away focusing on your own fishing (it happens!) then there’s a good chance the kids will lose interest.
One of the best ways to get them involved is to gather the bait yourself. Pumping yabbies’ or nippers is a great one, using a cast net if legal in your area is another fun option. The bait itself will keep the kids entertained, as well as being a great bait to use to catch fish! It also means they get to play in the water and sand. You can also give them the task of making sure the bait stays alive!
Set your target low when it comes to catching fish. By that, I mean don’t go out expecting that the kids want to see a massive fish. Even though my son has caught some big fish, he gets more excited when he’s catching lots of little whiting, bass or bream. It’s the constant action that really gets them going and makes it fun.
Take snacks! I can’t stress this one enough! When we head out I make sure we have a good supply of snacks, a few sugary treats to use as bribes… oh and plenty of drinks! Always handy to give a child a pack of chips or a muesli bar while they wait for a bite!
A couple of key points to keep in mind -
- Make it fun and about them
- Take snacks!
- Bait fishing will see consistent action and if you can dig/cast/catch your own bait – even better.
- Take some toys in case. (a bucket and spade, a ball, a frisby etc)
- Make the trip short. A few hours is plenty!
In the next article I will go over the types of gear and a bit more into the actual fishing side of things so stay tuned!