Msg 1 Posted: 10:36 AM 06/20/07 (CST)
What do you remember about your first fishing trip? Was it a Norman Rockwell experience with your family or was your dad yelling at you to keep quiet so you wouldnt scare the fish? |
There are a number of things for adults to keep in mind when taking youngsters fishing to make it a happy outing for everyone. The first thing is to recognize that you have assumed the noble role of expert fishing guide for low-paying clients. Its not your fishing trip, so set aside any notion of doing much fishing yourself -- youll be too busy helping them with their lines.
Consider fishing with the kids as an investment with payoffs far into the future. If you do this right, pay-back time will come years later when they help you launch your old boat and take you fishing. For now, heres what the client requires:
Food: Pack a cooler with sandwiches, some cookies, and water. Instead of juice boxes, bring along a jug of juice and some reusable plastic tumblers to minimize trash. Soda pop increases the loss of water from the body, so plain water is best.
Fun: The younger the child, the shorter the attention span. If the fish arent biting, dont keep them chained to their fishing poles or held hostage in a boat. On shore, let them set the poles down and run around. If youre fishing from a boat and its hot, reel in, double-check the kids life preservers and throw them overboard for a swim.
Relief: When nature calls, answer promptly. If you are in a remote area, take the opportunity to teach proper outdoor ethics. Make sure human waste is kept 200 feet from the water. Bring plastic zip-lock bags along to pack out paper products.
Patience: Accept that they may not keep quiet and they probably will get a few tangles. Keeping the outing short (under an hour for beginners) and ending on a cheerful note before anyone gets crabby will set you on course for cultivating a lifelong fishing buddy.
Safe Area: Check for swift or deep water, dams and uneven footing along banks. Set boundaries for your children and explain them. Our web site lists good places to take children fishing.
Simple Gear: Cane poles and closed-face reels are good choices. Dont buy the cheapest pole on the market and expect them to have a good time. Or borrow fishing equipment from one of the state properties or DNR offices with equipment loaner programs. A list of locations with loaner equipment programs is available at DNR offices and on the DNR web site.
Bait: Worms. Encourage, but dont force them to bait their own hooks if they hate touching worms. Let them practice with plastic worms; eventually, theyll get used to the idea of doing it themselves.
Tackle: a small (8x4") box can hold a few small hooks, a couple of 1" bobbers and a few sinkers. Thats all they need to get started.
Anglers nine years and up whove had a good introduction are ready to add a few items to their tackle boxes. A half-dozen lures including Mepps spinners, Daredevil-style spoons, and a couple Rapalas are good choices. Kids are as dazzled by fancy lures as their guides so work together on keeping the consumptive end of fishing to a minimum.
Tetanus: Kids who are up-to-date on their immunizations will be covered for tetanus. Their guides, however, may not. Make sure you get a tetanus booster every 10 years. If a wound is deep and dirty you may need a tetanus shot before your scheduled booster.
The guides tackle box should carry a needle-nose pliers, Band-Aids and most importantly, a fishing license. On occasion, well-meaning adults get pinched -- warden lingo for caught -- for fishing without a license or with too many hooks when they get caught "holding" their youngsters fishing pole. According to state law, no angler may fish with more than three hooks, baits or lures. If your child wants to take a break from fishing, make sure he or she reels in rather than abandon the pole to you. If your help is needed to cast or reel in, make sure you have your license with you, because you are now fishing.