The bass fishing on Lake Travis here in beautiful Austin, Texas has been great! During the summertime I often get a lot of clients who are bringing their kids fishing since school is out. Now is the perfect time to introduce your kids to the sport of fishing and get them hooked on your passion. I love getting out on the water bright and early while its still cool out, especially when children will be fishing too. Check out this article as I give you some of my top tips for getting kids hooked on fishing!
This past week especially I have had several family trips with lots of kiddos! Some of my favorite trips are with children who love to fish and are interested in being outdoors. Last week I took the Younger family fishing and we had a blast! Their kids were a blast to fish with, lots of fish caught and everyone had a good time. Fishing with them got me thinking about the things I do to try and ensure everyone has a good time. I curtail my trips to each group I fish with, so I guide trips with young children a lot differently than I would a group of adults.
If you have young children and are trying to get them interested in fishing, I have a couple of tips for you! If you do it right, you may just create a lifelong fishing partner.
Depending on the time of year you are going fishing, you should be mindful of the weather and temperature outside. You may be a tough hardcore angler, but if you want to get your kids hooked on fishing don't take them when it's freezing cold or blazing hot. During the summertime I encourage parents to bring their children out early in the morning before it gets too hot out. This goes without saying but also make sure they are dressed appropriately. Bring extra jackets, blankets, sunscreen, hats etc.
2. Time of Day
While the fishing is definitely better in the morning, I don't recommend getting kids up super early and having them out on the water with you before sunrise. These fishing trips are all about your kids and making them enjoy the experience. If they are falling asleep before you even start fishing then the odds of them having fun are already stacked against you. Same goes for night fishing! Night fishing is a blast but don't keep your kids out until 2AM when they'll be exhausted.
3. Target Something Easy
Keeping children engaged and active is one of the keys to ensuring they have a good time. Whatever you know you can catch a bunch of, target that! In many cases that may mean bringing some good old fashion night crawlers and a bobber. Bluegill are notorious for being easy to catch. On Lake Travis the shorelines are full of them. A small pan fish hook, a 1/2 inch chunk of worm, and a bobber is all it takes to have non stop action.
Kids don't care what they are catching! Sometimes us bass fishermen get too caught up in only targeting bass. If it swims and will put up a fight, your child will have a good time reeling it in. Catfish, white bass, crappie, and sunfish are all great alternatives to take your kids fishing for.
Trust me on this one... pack lots of snacks! When kids get hungry they get fussy and the last thing they care about is being patient waiting for a fish to bite. Make sure you pack a cooler with drinks and healthy snacks for them to enjoy while they're on the water. Oh, and maybe a pack of gummy worms wouldn't hurt!
5. Let Them Drive the Boat
Obviously safety comes first, but if you are in an area of the lake and are going slow enough, let your kid get behind the wheel! I remember growing up how much fun it was getting to steer my grandpa's sailboat! These trips are about creating memories and trying to get your kids to share your love of fishing. Do everything you can to make it a memorable trip and make them want to come back again.
6. Teach Them
This one might seem obvious, but when you get your children out on the water let it be a learning moment. Try not to do everything for them! I realize that it can be a lot easier to cast for them since they can't cast as far or as accurate as you. It may also be easier to set the hook for them to avoid losing a fish. Teach them how to do it and let them learn. I kid you not, I find it easier most of the time to teach a child to cast than an adult who has never fished before. Children are sponges and if you are patient and explain things in simple terms they will soak up that knowledge. Let them be as self sufficient as you can all while guiding them and helping them catch fish.