Family Spotlight: Teaching Your Kids How to FishMy fondest memories of my childhood are all of the times we spent as a family camping, fishing, and hunting in the great outdoors. My Mom didn’t actually like to do the fishing herself, she enjoyed watching my Dad and me and my brothers fish. She really enjoyed each and every one of our fishing trips where my Dad taught us how to have patience while fishing, how to tie our own hooks, how to setup a rig, how to select the right bait or lure, where to cast, how to set the hook when we got a bite, and how to reel the fish in gently, allowing the drag of the reel to zing as the fish pulled too hard and put the line at risk of breaking. He also taught us how to clean the fish, and my Mom loved cooking up our catch. She had just as much fun as she watched all three of us boys, and my Dad, get excited each time we caught a fish. We had so many great memories on these trips, it really holds a special place in my heart. My parents gave us kids the best life, and fishing was a big part of that. Fast forward to today with me and my own family. My wife and I have five kids, and we are teaching our kids how to fish, like my parents did. My wife enjoys fishing with our family, and she also enjoys doing the actual fishing herself. In fact, most of the time she gets her fishing license each year before I do. She’s ready to go! Learning the Fishing Rules and RegulationsEach of our fifty states in the USA have a government agency that manages and oversees the fishing for their state. In most of our states, you have to have a fishing license at the age of 16. It’s important to go to your state’s website to learn what the licensing requirements, as well as the size and type requirements for being able to fish for, or keep certain fish. You can go to your state’s website to learn more, or a lot of times your local store that sells fishing gear and tackle will have the regulation books and fishing guides. When you start looking into this, don’t let it overwhelm you. Once you narrow it down to what you need to understand for your area and type of fishing, it’s fairly simple, and there are not a lot of changes each year. You will quickly learn the key areas that you need to peek at each year to look for any changes. Learning the Rules and Regulations•Fish and Wildlife Agencies by State•Local Rules for Privately Managed Fishing Locations•License Requirements•Fish Size Requirements •Fish Limit Requirements (how many you can keep)•Specific Closure Areas•Types of Hooks, Lures, Baits That May Have RestrictionsFishing Gear and Tackle for Kids - Rods and ReelsThe first mistake a lot of parents, including myself, make when buying kids their first fishing poles is that they buy the little light up push button barbie or spiderman type fishing poles. Don’t do this if you can avoid it, these poles will cause nothing but frustration and constant maintenance to fix while your kids are trying to fish. They are also too stiff to fish or cast with. Instead, buy the four or five foot Ugly Stick rods. They are virtually unbreakable, and under warranty for six or seven years if you do break them. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Reel On Size, Select 5ft or Other SizeFishing Gear and Tackle for Kids - Fishing LineFishing line for kids doesn’t have to be the fancy high end line that the pros use, but it should be good quality, strong, and virtually invisible to fish to give them a good chance and catching fish. Your fishing reel will tell you how many yards of fishing line can be used on the reel and of which size. Typically a 300 yard spool of six or eight pound test will be sufficient. If you buy a bigger spool you can add line to more reels, or again when this reel needs it. Berkley Trilene XL Smooth Casting Fishing LineSelect 6 or 8 Lb Test Fishing Gear and Tackle for Kids - Practice Casting PlugsIt’s important, and fun, to teach your kids how to practice casting at home before you venture out on the water to make it less frustrating and less hectic. Kids love playing two types of games, to learn how to cast. The first one is a simple game using things you may already have around the house where you tie on a ¼ ounce washer on the line, and cast towards a five gallon bucket. This can be a little dangerous around windows or other kids with metal flying through the air. I would recommend that you use a swivel tied to your line, and use something stronger, like stronger line, to connect to the washer as the washer can break the line and fly off. Never use a lure with a hook when they are learning how to cast as the hooks may get stuck in something or someone. For my family, we used the Backyard Bass Casting Game. This game is fun, especially at a younger age, where they are targeting a plastic fish. The durable polymer construction of each fish allows you to play on most surfaces, and they even float for use in the pool or at the lake. Practice Casting PlugsFishing Gear and Tackle for Kids - Practice Stringing Your Fishing PoleAs the kids get a little older it’s also nice to teach them some of the advanced tasks involved with fishing, such as stringing up their own fishing pole. Here’s a video that will help along with a few products that make stringing up your fishing pole much easier. How To Put Line On A Spinning Reel VideoBerkley Portable Line Spooler Max Portable Fishing Line Spooling StationFishing Gear and Tackle for Kids - Practice Tying KnotsAs the kids get a little older it’s also nice to teach them how to tie their own knots and fishing setups. Here’s a video that will help along with a few products that make tying knots and fishing setups much easier. Teaching Kids How to Fish VideoTeaching Kids How to Tie Fishing Knots VideoTie-Fast Knot TyerPlaces to Fish - Easy Fish Locations for Kids to EnjoyAfter the kids learn how to cast, it’s great to start fishing with them in a small pond or lake to get the kids comfortable with fishing and enjoying fishing. These shorter trips make it to where it’s not a big deal if they get bored the first few times and only want to stay for an hour or two. This will give them a place to fish that will have more action due to the confined places for fish to hide, as well as the types of fish in these smaller bodies of water. See more fishing tackle in ourFishing Gear and Tackle store.Disclosure: This post is brought to you by the Mendenhall Outdoors team. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive products free of charge from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. 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