I am no child psychologist nor fish expert but, I can tell you about what seems to have worked in developing Nick’s love and passion for fishing. By investing the time and energy in Nick’s fishing over the last several years, it has made him an awesome young man, a better fisherman and given him skills for the rest of his life. Oh yeah, I benefited greatly from the experiences too. These tips are in no particular order, well except the last one.
You Are Guiding, Not Fishing
This tip is so true when fishing with really young kiddos and as they get older it applies less and less; in fact they will start helping you more (especially threading hooks). Your job is simple, teach and do the work, be it tying on hooks, setting a bobber, baiting hooks, carrying gear, etc. If you do it right, you will have worked up a sweat and not even thought about getting your own line wet. You will have plenty of time to catch fish when your kid is older and more self-sufficient. Trust me on this one.
Check Your Patience At The Door
Nobody has fun when dad is frustrated or losing his patience and there is no reason to pass this on, especially while in a great place. This should be a relaxed situation, besides you are outdoors on the water; it beats sitting in the office, right? Find humor here and laugh. You probably did the same goofy things when you were learning to fish or tagging along too. Take a deep breath and chill. Besides, I bet you have fished the same hole for hours before and not caught a fish…….see you have patience just use them to help your little fishing buddy out.
Make It Fun and Easy
I can think back to the first time Nick caught fish; it just so happened we were camping at Roaring River State Park in Missouri at the same time they had put on their kids fishing weekend. Rainbow trout were so thick, you could walk across the river and keep your shoes dry. Nick caught his limit of rainbow trout in 30 minutes. He was so proud of those fish and what he had accomplished; buttons would have popped off his shirt from his chest sticking out. Find yourself a kids fishing day or a place you know your kiddo can catch fish pretty quickly. One last thing, don’t take your kiddo fishing when you know the conditions are going to suck!
When It’s Time To Go, It’s Time To Go
This may seem pretty obvious but…… don’t over stay the opportunity. Quick short trips from the house are always a good idea when starting out, especially with young ones, so you can make a quick getaway. To mitigate meltdowns, nuclear explosions or mass chaos, make sure to have water, shade and possibly a location that has other things to do. You may find yourself sitting on a park bench next to a playground with a rod and tackle box for a bit, it happens. Remember you are making this fun so they want to come back and fish again. Also, your little fishing buddy is going to be thrilled to death just to have time with you; it ain’t all about fishing. Yes, I said that.
Get Your Kid Involved In The Process To Fish
Okay, I know it’s easier if you do it yourself, this may sound counterproductive but, it gives your kiddo a chance to be a part of the entire process. Have them help you do the planning, sorting of gear and tackle, pack up the car and even take them shopping. You may have to help them out at first but, before long this can be a huge asset when you are running behind. Nick and I still go to Cabela’s or Bass Pro just about every week and we don’t even buy stuff every time we go. We go look at stuff, catch up on the week, plan future trips and just have our guy time. Besides, who doesn’t like sorting gear or going to a fishing store, seriously!!
Fish When They Want To Fish
This probably sounds like a touchdown and score at the moment you read this but, not necessarily. There had been times when Nick would ask me to go fishing and I didn’t feel like it but, I did it and never regretted the decision. Typing and reading this, it sounds funny but, Nick and I will fish two or three times during the week when we have day light and typically almost every Saturday. Making the time to fish with your kid is always cooler than sitting on the couch watching the game. You can do that when they are older and you see them in passing.
Enjoy The Time
The obvious theme throughout this article is about having fun and enjoying time with your kid on the water, outdoors, teaching something that they can pass on as well. I kind of eluded to my next point already; they aren’t kids forever and time will exponentially speed up the older they get. Nick is a teenager, spends more time with his friends, has commitments at church, sleeping and soon he will be driving. I am already seeing a change in that my little fishing buddy isn’t always there to go with me. I won’t try to pull one over on you, it is taking some getting used to for me but, he still loves to go fishing when he has the time. Okay, who is singing, Cats In The Cradle, don’t lie! I made my point.
Well, these are my 7 tips to help you get your kid interested in fishing. I haven’t always done a great job of sticking to the points but I can tell you, every time we go fishing, even the local community pond; Nick will always say on the way home, “thank you for taking me fishing dad.” Priceless.
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