A few summers ago my son went fishing with his great-grandpa Parke, we just went along for the ride. Tyler had a great time. It was also a good bonding experience for him and his great-grandpa, whom he still calls “my fishing grandpa”.
Tyler was so excited when he felt that first tug on the line. Then with grandpa’s help they slowly reeled the fish in. His delighted cries filled the air as he pulled the fish out of the water. It was at least 18 inches long. During the next hour Tyler and grandpa caught two more fish. By that time he was done fishing and we enjoyed a picnic lunch. This summer we plan on going again, this time my girls will be old enough to enjoy fishing too.
Summer time is a great time to go fishing. Most states offer at least one free fishing day during the year, which means you can go fishing without a license. You can find the information on-line. If it’s not a free fishing day you can purchase a one or two day license, and sometimes a season, in most states for less than $20 (California license is $12.50). You can purchase them on-line or at most local sporting goods stores.
Children under the age of 12 and sometimes older (Ohio age limit is 16) do not need a license, only the adult. A word of warning, if you do not purchase a fishing license you cannot legally help your child at all, that includes holding the pole, reeling in, or netting the fish. There is a hefty fine if you are caught fishing without a license.
If you do not own fishing poles many places rent them, just do a search on-line. Or you can purchase a fishing pole, cost $6 and up. Unless you plan on fishing a lot a simple pole and line is all you need. If you’ve never been fishing before you can always ask your local sporting good store how to use the pole. If you plan on just letting your child fish they make shorter poles especially for kids.
Here are some tips to make your family fishing trip more enjoyable:
Break up the fishing sessions. Children have short attention spans so let them fish for a little while, then go dig in the dirt, look for bugs, skip rocks, or wade in the water.
Come prepared. Bring a picnic lunch and snacks and plenty to drink. Also don’t forget sunscreen, insect repellant, and a basic first aid kit. Camp chairs are also nice, instead of the ground.
Bring other activities. Bring a bucket and shovel, Frisbee, or ball and glove so that your child has something else to do. Also bring a change of clothes or swimsuit in case they decide to go wading.
Choose a well stocked area. Kids don’t usually care what size of fish they catch. So target areas with a high likelihood of success. Often fish hatcheries have special fishing programs for kids.
Use live bait. Live bait increases the likelihood of catching a fish. Kids also enjoy the whole worm thing.
Have patience. You will be the one unsnagging lines, baiting hooks, and landing the fish. You might want to catch and release instead of keeping the fish, so no one has to do the gutting.