Of the many activities competing for your free weekends and vacation time this summer, there is one that is a must-do. If you haven’t yet introduced your kids to fishing, now is the summer to do it. For some reason, children naturally get excited about the idea of fishing. And once they try it for the first time, they’re hooked.
Before you go, do some research and find an easy beginner spot. Piers and docks are examples, and some municipalities don’t require a license to fish from these structures. Another example is a private lake or pond that is stocked and designed for little anglers. Although these places may have an amusement-like ambience, your little ones will almost be assured of catching fish. If you want a more secluded, natural location, try to get a local angler’s recommendation of where, when and what bait to use. Also it’s a good idea to check regarding local licensing requirements.
Now that you have a location, you’ll need some equipment. The benefit of the commercially stocked pond is that you will usually be able to rent the equipment and buy the license and the bait right there. Some piers also rent basic equipment. If equipment is unavailable at the location you’ve decided on, you’ll need, at the least, a rod, reel, line, hooks, floats, sinkers, pliers and bait. All of this is available at your local sporting goods store, and you can get some basic instruction on how everything works if you’re new to fishing. You should also bring drinking water, snacks and sunblock.
Before you bait the first hook, have a discussion with your children about whether you will be eating your fish or releasing them. For first-time anglers, it’s best if you bait their hooks for them. Then teach them the basic casting motion and let them practice this new motor skill a few times. Now it’s time for them to practice another new skill – patience. Good luck with that one.
When you catch a fish, you’ll want to photograph it. But remember that fish are slippery. On one family fishing trip, a new iPhone slipped right out of our slimy hands and into the bay. Whether you catch fish or not, you’ll have fun, create lasting memories and maybe even make a new summer family tradition.
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