I love taking kids fishing. There is something very basic in what they expect to get out of any outing. Whether they only want to catch a fish or maybe take their first boat ride it doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep the time out very brief, especially for those younger kids. Do not plan a long hike into a remote stream or a long boat ride. That will end in disaster for sure. I have seen many articles in outdoor magazines recently on this same topic. The theme is the same. How do you help young kids begin an interest in the outdoors and how do you keep your enthusiasm and your expectations from ruining their experience? The answer is really simple. Do not push them if they do not want to go and take them when you can if they ask. The last thing I feel is vitally important is to be patient with them.
I had the priviledge of taking my two young nieces out this past summer and I know I had a blast. I had help of course. My in-laws helped tremendously and without them I would not have been able to take both of them out at the same time. I do not think that the girls would have been ok if that was how this trip worked out. I have older siblings so I know how it felt to be left out of things I wanted to do with them, so I can relate. They had asked about fishing with me numerous times as I had already taken their older brothers out over the past few years. As they had expressed interest I felt it was even more important to get them out on the water and do my best to make it fun for them.
Now the other part of taking young kids fishing is that they may want to use that special rod that they got for Christmas or their birthday. Try to make it work. It will make them feel special and I also like the challenge. The girls had got their own fishing rods, each one depicted a different princess figure from recent movies, and really wanted to use them. So I made it work and they caught some nice fish. Now that they saw that they worked for them they obviously thought I needed to use them. That brings me to the last part of taking kids fishing. If the kiddos ask you to use their fishing rod, by all means do it. But don’t get too comfy using it as they will probably want it back soon after. It is the thought that counts really.
Of course when you are handed a princess fishing rod your mother-in-law really needs to take a picture. It’s for the kids after all and they got a kick out of it. I am not sure if I caught a fish on that rod, but I know the girls did. I was surprised that the rods held up and the girls were more than a little thrilled as we were catching smallmouth bass that put up a really good fight. A vital part to having a succesful short outing is to find a spot that has a good population of willing fish. Throw in some refreshments and some snacks and it will be a good day. So when you take a kid fishing remember to keep it short, fun and by all means when they want you to use their fishing rod just make it work.