HomeOutdoorsFeatureReel Time: Make fishing...

Reel Time: Make fishing fun

Lately, it seems we’re constantly reminded how our experiences growing up molded us into the kind of person we are today. The all-too-often-heart wrenching news we’re seeing emphasizes just how important it is to give children positive, optimistic and life-affirming experiences growing up.

Introducing children to fishing, the natural world that supports it and working together with others to accomplish a goal can create the foundations of a healthy and well-adjusted adult if we strive to make fishing uncomplicated and as much fun as possible. Those experiences on the water leave indelible memories and help impart the importance of camaraderie, the natural world and a desire to protect it for future generations.

Creating unrealistic expectations can discourage young anglers and be the difference between the kindling of a passion or an aversion to the activity. The basics of fishing are easy to teach and don’t require expensive equipment. If there’s a cardinal rule to getting kids interested in fishing, it’s to keep them engaged. Children are naturally curious; they love to play in and on the water and are fascinated by the creatures they find there. Catching fish isn’t their main objective and you shouldn’t make it the focus of an outing. It’s important to plan a trip that includes other activities like swimming, wildlife identification and snorkeling as well as fishing.

Being on the water provides an excellent opportunity to teach kids about their environment and boating safety skills. It’s important to let kids be a part of the adventure and getting them involved is a great way to interject a lesson in responsibility. Let them drive the boat even if they’re just sitting on your lap while you steer. Introduce them to navigating the Intracoastal Waterway and give them things to be in charge of such as making sure everyone knows where the safety equipment is.

Don’t start children out with cheap fishing rods and reels. Provide them with decent equipment that’s light and manageable. An ultra-light rig with 6-pound test line is a great way to start. Try and think like a kid when fishing. Children would rather catch a dozen pinfish in a half-hour than wait hours for a chance at a bigger or better fish. Action is paramount; kids are easily bored and distracted.

Consider starting kids fishing with a small popping cork that they can watch for signs of action. If you can start teaching kids that the enjoyment of the adventure isn’t measured by the number or size of fish you catch, you’ll teach them an important lesson that many anglers never learn. If you can make the experience interesting for them, even if they don’t catch anything they are more likely to want to do it again. Kids might be more interested in collecting shells, counting crabs or looking for manatees or dolphins than fishing, so be sensitive to what’s bringing them pleasure.

It’s also important to emphasize safety, bending down barbs and making them aware of fish with sharp teeth and stingers like catfish and stingrays. These first experiences on the water are very important and you should consider a plan of action in advance in case the fishing isn’t great. The last thing you want to do is bore kids by sitting on a spot too long. Keep your eyes and ears open and you might learn a lesson or two from them!

Most Popular

More from Author

Try a beach fishing adventure

Are you an accidental angler? Someone who might not be passionate...

Egmont, Passage keys prove enchanting

Extending approximately 5 miles from Anna Maria Island to St. Petersburg,...

Tarpon Primer: Part two

Although tarpon can be one of the most exciting gamefish to...

Tarpon primer: Part One

Tarpon season is one of the most anticipated times of the...

Signed palm tree agreement remains elusive

BRADENTON BEACH – A newly-planted coconut palm tree that fell over on Bridge Street last week has raised questions about whether the city obtained a signed indemnification agreement prior to planting it and 79 other trees. At the April 3 Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) meeting, members unanimously approved...

First win for Shady Lady

ANNA MARIA – After two halves of youth soccer action, team AMI Coconuts could not put a point on the scoreboard against The Intuitive Foundation squad in the 8- to 10-year-old recreational soccer league at The Center of Anna Maria Island. The Coconuts team put up a strong...

Buyers losing hope

Tired of waiting for mortgage rates to come down? You’re not alone. Every potential buyer out there is waiting for the same thing, the problem is the Federal Reserve isn’t moving the needle, so it might be a long wait. The Federal Reserve made no move in their...

Try a beach fishing adventure

Are you an accidental angler? Someone who might not be passionate about fishing but who has always wondered what all the hype is about? Maybe you’re an avid freshwater angler from the north unfamiliar with the salt. Whatever your situation, if you want to get a taste...

Latest Pine Avenue bid rejected

ANNA MARIA – Following Mayor Dan Murphy’s recom­mendation, the city commission rejected the latest Reimagining Pine Avenue bid received from C-Squared. On May 9, the commission voted 5-0 in favor of rejecting C-Squared’s approximately $1.4 million bid to construct a one-block Reimagining Pine Avenue prototype area that was...

Candidate qualifying commences soon

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – The candi­date qualifying periods will soon begin for those seeking election or reelection during the 2024 election cycle. Anna Maria provides a two-week qualifying period. Bradenton Beach, Holmes Beach and Manatee County provide one-week qualifying periods. All city commission and may­oral terms on the...

Farrington secures petition signatures

MANATEE COUNTY – Mana­tee County Supervisor of Elec­tions candidate Scott Farrington has secured enough petition signatures to avoid paying a $10,133 qualifying fee. The one-week qualifying period for county candidates begins on Monday, June 10 at noon and ends on Friday, June 14 at noon. Farrington will face...

Captain: Derelict boats looming issue

CORTEZ - Tour boat Capt. Kathe Fannon is questioning why authorities are focusing on the removal of Raymond “Junior” Guthrie’s net camp from the waters off Cortez while ignoring more than 20 derelict boats in the same waters. “The net camp is who we are, it’s our heritage,”...

Season’s first shorebird nest discovered

BRADENTON BEACH – The first shorebird nests this year on Anna Maria Island have been spotted and marked by Anna Maria Island Turtle Watch and Shorebird Monitoring volunteers. A colony of least terns began nesting the week of May 6 at an undisclosed location in Bradenton Beach. A...

Mayors discuss law enforcement consolidation

ANNA MARIA – Anna Maria Mayor Dan Murphy and Holmes Beach Mayor Judy Titsworth are not on the same page when it comes to the potential consolidation of law enforcement services, with each mayor preferring their city’s law enforcement agency take over policing in both cities. As is...

March tourism numbers soar

ANNA MARIA ISLAND – March tourism numbers are up from last year in all three Island cities, significantly so in the City of Anna Maria. Each month, the Manatee County Tax Collector’s Office reports how much income the county’s 5% tourist tax produces. The tax is collected from...