Finding joy in the outdoors since 1988
There are no greater satisfactions than to see your kids light up with enthusiasm as they hold up their trophy bass. Your mind goes back to that sunny day you probably shared with your father holding up your trophy; the next link in the chain is set. You feel accomplishment yourself in that your kid is falling into the same love affair with fish that you have, and now you can share it. Not only does this tip apply to fishing reels but many things throughout your child's skill building. Number one in my list is success.
Put the reward within sight
Your son or daughter sure loves casting in the backyard when all their friends are riding bikes and going swimming... sure. Getting some one on one time throwing the practice lure is helpful and fun to do, but make sure your kid does't start veering in the direction of "chore" mindset. It does't need to be scheduled like a piano rehearsal. I know what your thinking, "If i get them good at it in the backyard then I can spend a lot less time teaching my kid on the water." This is another one of those times when rational thought does't come close to practicality. Invest your time going through the frustration with your child on the water and that "frustration" will turn into laughing and joking before you know it.
What's the magic age?
There is no magic, just like there wasn't any magic when you were potty training. Kids are ready when they're ready. The tell-tale signs that I picked up on are listed below:
The number one rule here is to remember that this is fun, make it about your kid. 45 minutes for a 4-5 year old is a looong time. This means it might literally take you 30 minutes to pack up for only 30 or 40 minutes at the lake setting up their gear, detangling the bird's nest, finding and providing a drink or snack, wandering around and picking the "approved" spot. This is a patience test. You really can't get around this one. Hang in there it's worth it!
Try the night fishing scene
This one worked the best for my son. We got the lantern, the big night crawlers, fold up lawn chairs, a cooler, I got to grab my big catfish pole which was awesome in my son's eyes. I'll be honest I did this in a loving manipulative way. I knew that he and in general most children are afraid of the dark and get sleepy at that time. He would't wander around and was sat still in the chair due to being tired. (Remember to pack blankets, even in the summertime) He ended up conversing for awhile until curling up on my lap under the blanket sleeping. 20 minutes later I hit a channel cat, smaller one, so I set the hook and woke him up by having the pole in his lap. He tugged and grunted and reeled and reeled and in came this 8 inch channel. His mind was absolutely blown, under all that quiet black water this fish was swimming around? He literally told the story for days. Perfect...
Go where the fish are!
If fishing the day make sure you go to a good warm water shallow spot with little drift. Whats important is that your child catches something. Picking through a swell of bluegill will keep your son or daughter thrilled eve if they're all 3 inchers. Things to do to facilitate this:
Enthusiasm and tips
This is simple. I probably don't have to mention it but you definitely don't want to under do this step. Show you excitement for each fish, ham it up. Make sure your kid doesn't sense your fishing and they just happen to be there. Your responses should be genuine. High fives, fist bumps, touchdown dances, have fun with it. Make sure everything associated with fishing is in the positive. You don't want your first few trips together associated with deep sighs or scoldings for tangling the line for 6th time. Your a parent and it comes with the territory. Be patient and have fun with your kid and you'll have a fishing buddy for life.
Things of note