If you are like me and have children, I’m sure you have taken them fishing – or, at least, attempted to take them fishing.
And as parents, we always want the best for kids, so when it comes to fishing, you certainly would like them to catch some fish.
That maybe the goal, but there is so much more to a kids fishing trip than just catching fish that you had better be flexible. Catching fish may wind up being just part of the goal – and not necessarily the most important one.
The most important is the time you spend with your child without the distraction of a cell phone, computer, or the TV. In fact, that should be rule number one that when you go on a family fishing trip that the cell phones are left at home or in the car.
Each trip that you plan should be short. Kids’ attention spans are not the greatest and both the parent and child will have a far better time when you go on a one-day or two-day trip.
One golden rule to remember is that when you take your kids fishing it is going to be their fishing trip. Don’t plan on catching any fish yourself. Your primary role should be as their instructor and guide.
Of course, if your kid is an avid and experienced angler then you can enjoy your role more as a fishing partner.
When you plan the fishing trip, many of you will have your kids ask if they can bring a friend. I have two schools of thought on this. It is always nice to have your kids friends’ enjoy the fun, however your child might end up not enjoying themselves because of the added pressure of making sure that their friend is enjoying themself.
Preparing for the trip is part of the fun that your child will have and it is also a super way for you to create some additional interest for you kid. The Internet is a great tool to explore together with your child where you are going and what species of fish you will be trying catch.
Most recreational areas in Montana that you might be headed to have web sites that have information that range from history to attractions that might be fun to take in on the way.
One web site that has some great advice for taking kids fishing is. www.takemefishing.org. This site has some great advice on how to get your kids involved in a fishing trip.
They strongly suggest in keeping your kids active. Plan an outing with the boat that includes water activities such as snorkeling, tubing, looking for various wildlife and of course learning how to fish.
While you are logged onto the site, check out their page that provides “Tips for fishing with kids”. It will at least give you some basic fundamentals on what to do or don’t do when taking your kids fishing.
Every kid is unique depending on his or her age. Some of my younger kids love to play in my tackle box. For their safety, I set aside some plastic baits without the hooks that look like worms or small baitfish for them to look at and play with.
Taking a kid fishing can be very frustrating if you are relying on just catching fish. In fact I have been on trips where the fish were really biting but after a short while my kids interest started to dwindle.
When that happens take a break by swimming or exploring the countryside. Take a walk along the bank. Skip stones. Bring your binoculars and see what you can discover. Look for birds and teach the kids about them. Read them a book. Tell them a tale. Cook a little shore lunch. Ask them what would be fun.
Then you can get back to fishing. The goal is to spend time and have fun with them – fishing or not. Make the whole experience enjoyable for them and you’ll wind up with a partner for life.
This Saturday June 2 will kick off the 7th annual National Fishing and Boating week. Many of the kids are either out of school now so there is no better time then now to have some fun together on a Montana river or lake.
Good luck and thanks for taking a kid fishing.