When I first became an avid angler, fishing with children was something I never gave much thought to, or even saw myself doing. That was until I took my kids out and learned to fish all over again. Fishing with kids can be a very frustrating time for parents and for this reason the children are left behind more times than not. “If you want to come along you will have to be quiet so you won’t scare the fish” is one of the more common lines parents use. With the kids along, peace and quiet can be next to impossible because no matter how dedicated children are to fishing they will always have something to say or a question or two to ask. After all, they do see you as the world’s greatest fishing guru and expect you to have all the answers to every question.
Since I’ve began taking my kids out fishing, I have had to field many questions which seem silly to myself as an adult, but to my son or daughter it makes their world of fishing much easier to understand. A simple question like, "How are we going to get the boat off of the trailer?" or "How do the fish know to bite my hook and not my brother's?" are not always that easy to answer and generally leads to another volley of questions right afterwards.
The invitation placed and the basic questions out of the way, it is time to get to head out to the lake. Once you have packed the rods and reels, tackle and bait you are on your way, right? WRONG! Before you pull out of the driveway you better make sure you have some of the very important stuff like sun screen, mosquito repellent, a few hot wheels, a Barbie or two, drinks, snacks, lunch, more snacks, toilet paper and a pail with a seat. I will guarantee you that at sometime during the day you will here those eight words, “Daddy I have to go to the bathroom” and there are NO bushes on the lake for them to hide behind. When children aren’t catching fish and want to go home because there is nothing for them to do, your preparation beforehand becomes the key to both the success and sanity of this day together..
On a typical outing, my daughter Carly will sit in the boat and wait patiently for a fish to bite, while my son Joshua, will ask me to change hooks every five minutes. He also loves running up and down the boat, putting his cars in the live well to see if the fish will eat them. Every once in a while he yells that one has and then laugh when we stop to take a look. This particular joke is repeated frequently and is just as funny for him at the end of the day.
If you have the serious and patient type of angler, just sit back with them and enjoy the fishing. Fishing with kids can be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding times you could spend with your children. Once you are inside the boat there are very FEW distractions for your children and what better time to sit down and talk to, or more importantly, listen to them. Often children will be the first to start talking and all we have to do is give them our ear. Over the last couple of years, thanks to fishing, I have learned about many of the important things in my children’s lives; some as vital as which “Pokemon” is the coolest. On one trip my daughter even informed me of my fashion faux pas because my raincoat didn’t match my shorts.
Meanwhile, at the back of the boat my son had given up on fishing and playing in the live well and had started racing his cars around the back of the boat.. Soon my daughter was done fishing too, and invited me to lie down on the floor of the boat with her and look at the clouds. It wasn’t long before we had a whole family of animals in those clouds and we went on at great lengths about how clouds are formed.
After about a half hour we were all back fishing again hoping to catch that big one that we could take home for supper, or to at least prove that we weren’t just laying in the sun all day. Not that it would have mattered as the day turned out to be more about enjoying the company of my children and less about catching fish.
Fishing through the eyes of children is not only exciting; but it also provides a whole new perspective to your environment and fishing in general. As a father of two young anglers, I strongly recommend that you take the time to go fishing with your children. It is you time when you can talk to them, teach them about fishing, and most importantly listen.. They will amaze you with the things they know and what interests them. You will not regret it for a moment.
My kids are still at the age where I get to take them out fishing, but every year they seem to be getting a little more independent and fish a little further away from me. I’m sure going to miss it when I tell my kids its time to go and they say “just ten more minutes” or “just one more cast PLEASE!” So the next time you go fishing don’t wait for the kids to ask you if they can come along, instead ask them if they want to go and enjoy what they have to offer. Sometimes there’s more to fishing than just catching fish.