Having young kids and being a keen Fisherman I often wondered if my kids would share the same passion for my hobby as I do.
In any sport you first have to introduce your child to the activity and do your best to ensure that the experience is a good one. This stands true for any chosen sport you introduce your child to from Rugby, netball right through to fishing.
With the existence of sports clubs the rules on getting your child into these sports are defined. This includes what age they can join, when and where they play and practice including weather conditions acceptable for the sport. Unfortunately clubs and organisations such as this for fishing are limited with the exception of some annual kids fishing events there are no year round fishing clubs.
For this article we will look at how to create a safe and enjoyable environment for your child’s first fishing excursion, what is a good age to take them out and where and lastly tips and tricks to link this experience with a positive memory.
There are no rules on what is best age for a child to be taken out on a fishing trip/excursion and this may also vary from one child to another. I will discuss a few guidelines for parents to think about before take the youngsters out.
There are many forms of fishing from boat fishing, surfcasting, kite fishing, rock fishing and trout fishing to name a few. Each of these forms of fishing there would a varying range of ages recommend for youngsters depending on the complexity of the type of fishing and dangers associated with it.
I strongly believe that for kids to be introduced to fishing this can happen as early as 2 years of age from safe environments such as wharves and ocean walls. Other fishing disciplines add other variables the maybe too much for a youngster to cope with and enjoy the day. Such as fishing from a boat, although fishing from a boat can reap a lot of rewards in terms of your catch size, this also has a number of variables such as waves, wakes and change in weather conditions which can frighten your child or worse put them in harm’s way.
Rock fishing certainly has its associated dangers where this may in most rock fishing spots not be suitable for youngsters till they are much older and more sure footed. There may also be times where you need to move from your spot very quickly due to waves being larger than anticipated or if you miss timed the tides. In these scenarios moving quickly with a younger one to take care of is something that will slow you down and would certainly be a situation we would want to avoid.
Boat fishing would be good once your child is around 5 years old, at this age most children are better at understanding what is being told to them. This means that they will be better equipped to understand the safety aspects, such as avoiding sharp objects such as hooks, knives and spines of some of our local species. At 5 years old kids are more stable on their feet so will be able to handle the waves which will knock around smaller fishing boats, if you happen to own a large launch then this won’t be much of an issue for you. Whatever the size of your boat make sure you put life jackets on you kids that fit and they keep them on. As a hint there is a good chance they will wear it and keep it on if you do the same, remember kids to as you do.
Safety for parent and child is second to none but next comes fun. If you child does not enjoy their first day of fishing then you have little to no chance that they will want to repeat this experience. There are certain things that kids both boys and girls get excited about and they will relate certain things to an activity and experience.
Ensure that your child is feeling safe and comfortable. Keep warm clothes, sunblock and maybe even his or her favourite toy. Check the weather, especially if it is the first time out you want clear blues skies.
Kids love food and they do tend to link food items to certain experiences, like most of us can link playgrounds to the ice cream van or popcorn and movies. So be sure to take a number of treats for your child and be sure to include one of their favourites in there to. They will need plenty of snacks and drinks to get them through the day.
Another tip is to get them involved with them holding the bait and holding the rod, even if you don’t manage to pull in a fish just the movements in the line will keep them excited. Tell them stories of some of your trips, keep them excited and they surely will be out with you again.
Now once you have covered of these things make sure you spend time with them and enjoy the moment, its about you helping them catch that prize fish and having fun.
What have we covered?
At 2 take them to the wharf cast your line in the water
At 5 take them on the boat
Make the little ones comfortable
Take food, drinks and lots of treats
Have fun, enjoy the moment