Taking the family fishing is a great way to bond with your children and learn about nature.
Wait! Don't stop reading: I know what you're thinking. The thought of taking your kids to a body of water and letting them throw a hook around? Well, sure, it could be stressful. But if you temper your expectations and plan ahead, you can make it a fun outing they'll remember ... and want to do again and again!
Here are 10 tips to catch some fun while fishing with your kids:
1. Don't worry about casting perfection
It’s very likely — pretty much guaranteed — that a child new to fishing will snag the weeds, a bush, or even a tree... or maybe not even get their fishing lure in the water. The point is that you’re having quality family time together, so don’t take it too seriously — but do make sure to let them know to be careful with hooks!
2. Plan for water safety
Have each child wear a life jacket, even if they are good swimmers and you're on shore. You will likely be distracted helping with rods and bait and might turn your attention away from a child curious about the water.
3. Research first
Do a little research before you choose your fishing hole so you know what’s biting. A good place to ask? Your local bait shop! Also, make sure you find out what type of requirements the area has for fishing licenses.
4. Go early in the day ... or in the early evening
Typically, fish bite more first thing in the morning or when the weather has cooled in the evening.
5. Dress appropriately
Be sure to check the weather! And don’t forget the sunscreen and bug spray!
6. Pack snacks and drinks
This is pretty much a given for any trip with kids. Pro mama tip: Always pack more than you think you'll need.
7. Plan a short trip
The first few times you go, plan to stay only a short amount of time — especially if your kids are younger. The kids will remember that they had fun with you — catching a fish is just a bonus!
8. Use a pole made for a child
While you might think that you’ll be the one baiting and casting, you will also be handing the rod over to your child. Find a simple rod that isn't too big and isn't complicated so they feel like they have full control.
9. Use simple bait
A basic nightcrawler and bobber should do the trick! Use a big enough bobber that it's easy for the kids to keep an eye on it so they know when they have a pull on their line!
10. Take your camera
If they catch a fish, you’re sure to want to catch that grin!
Jenny Sites is the publisher of Macaroni Kid Fredericksburg, Va.