I live in an area with an abundance of lakes, ponds and rivers. As a result, there are an abundance of vacation and rental homes, filled every summer with people looking to get back to nature. Part of that experience for many of them includes throwing a line into the water and seeing if anything bites. I have witnessed whole families doing this together, some quite harmoniously, others not so much. Here are five tips that will help turn your family's next fishing trip into a treasured memory.
• Don't make your child's first fishing experience your first one as well--Your kids are going to look to you for answers. It is always helpful to have a few answers ready. Sneak out by yourself to practice casting, tying knots and baiting a hook.
• Go to a place where you know there are fish--Nothing kills interest in fishing like spending an afternoon without getting a nibble. Find a stocked lake or pond and ask at local bait shops for good places to take kids. Landing a few panfish will earn you a fishing buddy for life.
• Don't raise expectations too high--Fishing is unpredictable at best, infuriating at worst. There is a fine line between getting the kids excited to go fishing and filling their heads with visions of reeling in a prize-winning bass. This is a tough one. Good luck.
• Know what to do if you actually catch one--Landing a fish can be tricky, and unhooking one can be a nightmare. Using hooks that are too small and easily swallowed is a common mistake. Hopefully you will have snuck out and caught a few, as per tip #1, so you have a feel for it. If not, watch a few videos online, keep a pair of pliers handy, and stay calm. You can do it. Also, take the time to learn the correct way to release a fish back into the water so it can live to fight another day.
• Keep it simple--Flashy lures that swivel, pop and rattle are cool, but it is hard to beat a worm and a bobber for pure fishing fun. There is something about watching a bobber twitch, dip and finally go under that never gets old. Definitely give lures a try, but always have some worms on standby.
Remember above all to have fun and enjoy your time together. Best fishes!
(Images by Flickr user MyFWCmedia, licensed for use under Creative Commons)