If you are a parent, then spending quality time with your kids is the greatest gift you can give to them and yourself. Quality time is harder to come by in today’s world, however, due to constricting schedules and the lure of technological entertainment. Setting aside a weekend afternoon for a fishing trip, therefore, is an excellent way to create quality bonding opportunities, especially as the water will necessitate the absence of cell phones and gaming devices. However, the safety of your child is paramount, especially when fishing with younger children. Here are considerations to keep in mind when fishing with your kid:
Gear to Consider
Once you are out fishing, the last thing you want to be worrying about is not having the right gear. First of all, don’t make the mistake of leaving home without enough bait. Your child is just beginning, so they’ll probably end up using significantly more bait that strictly necessary, and you’ll want something that they can easily attach to the hook without hurting themselves. Second, bring extra fishing line. Breakages are common, especially with beginners, and running out prematurely may frustrate your child and spoil the trip. Make sure that you have a pole that is small enough for them to handle without getting tangled in the line or losing track of the handle and the reel. No matter what age, children will have smaller hands than you and are much less flexible with them, so don’t assume they can handle an adult fishing pole right off the bat.
Stay Dry with Waterproof Clothing
Wearing certain long sleeve performance shirts, pants, and rubber boots will go a long way. They won’t just keep you warm on a chilly morning or evening, but protect you from the water. Children have a lower immunity than you, and cold water full of bacteria can easily make them sick if they aren’t dressed in clothing that allows them to dry quickly. Not only that, but the proper boots are essential to maintain proper footing on slippery surfaces, and your child may easily lose their footing to a lively fish if they don’t have proper grip in their boots.
How to Handle Hooks
Before giving any other lessons or tips on how to fish, you absolutely must teach your child how to handle a fishing hook. Children’s hands aren’t as strong or steady as an adults, and without supervision and care, one slip of the hand can lead to a fishing hook going right through their hand, thumb, or even digging into their arm or stomach. Teach them how to feed the bait in a motion away from their body so that these slips in their grip don’t result in cutting the trip off at the beginning for a ride to the emergency room. Show them how to safely pull the hook out of the fish, and how to disentangle it from a knot of line. Also, be sure they are casting their line in a way that will not bring the hook back to you or your child, and even consider casting for them in the case of younger children. Children ages eight and older can take on a bit more responsibility, but those younger than that should never be allowed to handle hooks on their own.
One of the fishing rites of passage is cleaning and gutting. This requires good knife skills and attention to details, neither of which are very common in younger children. Teach them the basics of knife safety, how to close or sheath the blade after use, and to never cut toward their body. Things that may seem intuitive to an adult may never cross the mind of a child, so be detailed in your instruction.
If you are considering taking your kid out for a fishing trip sometime soon, then you need to have the right tools and strategies to stay warm, comfortable, and safe. The last thing you want is for the fishing trip ruined because you weren’t prepared, or worse, because your child became injured. Remember these factors before any fishing trip with a child so that you can focus on creating lasting memories that are pleasant rather than painful.