My 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!
Teaching Kids About Fishing Rules and Regulations
Each 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 Restrictions
Fishing Gear and Tackle for Kids - Rods and Reels
The 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 the kids do break them. Buy an ultralight model if it’s for younger kids if they can’t yet hold the larger poles. The perfect model for the older kids is the Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Fishing Rod and Reel
Fishing Gear and Tackle for Kids - Fishing Line
Fishing 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 Line•Select 6 or 8 Lb Test
Fishing Gear and Tackle for Kids - Practice Casting Plugs
It’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.
Berkley Max Portable Fishing Line Spooling Station
As 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. The Berkley Line Spooling Station is a great tool to help them add fishing line to their fishing reels. It works great, and makes stringing up your fishing pole much easier.
Fishing Gear and Tackle for Kids - Practice Tying Knots
As the kids get a little older it’s also nice to teach them how to tie their own knots and fishing setups. This knot tying tool is great to help older kids learn how to tie the best knots. It really makes tying knots and fishing setups much easier. Some of these have sharp points where adult supervision is recommended.
Places to Fish - Easy Fish Locations for Kids to Enjoy
After 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. There are a lot of different options available to start taking the kids on these new family fishing adventures. The ponds and small lakes are great options to get started, but it’s also fun to fish creeks, streams, and rivers. It’s fun to learn about a new area to fish, and what type of fish you may catch. Then do some research, talk to some locals, or a local bait shop, and learn all there is to know to catch as many fish as you can to make the day fun for everyone. A good practice, if you are not planning on eating them soon, is to practice catch and release. Let the fish live to fish for another day, as well as to give them a chance to breed and grow in population so there are more to catch in future years. About The Author Mike Mendenhall is the the founder of Mendenhall Outdoors. This website is an extension of the Mendenhall family’s lifestyle and passion for the great outdoors. Everything that they learn, and experience, along the way that they find may be valuable to our website visitors is on the site for you to enjoy. We highlight products and services that you might find interesting. We frequently receive free products from manufacturers to test. This does not drive our decision as to whether or not a product is featured or recommended. If you click a link on this page, then go on to make a purchase, we might receive a commission – at no extra cost to you, and does not impact the purchase price of any products that you may purchase. The Best Kids Fishing Experience Awaits!