Fishing is not an inherently dangerous sport, but bringing kids fishing can present hazards and obstacles that can be easily avoided to make for a fun day out. Have tips of your own? Want to share some family fishing photos? Post them on our Facebook page, tweet them or send us a quick email. We’d love to hear from you!
Fish for action
Let’s face it, kids get bored easily. Choose a fishing location where you’re sure to get a lot of bites, even if the size of the fish leaves a lot to be desired. Kids are not as concerned with the size of the fish as they are the action of catching fish after fish. Get them hooked by fishing for trout in a pond, trout in a tarn or mackerel at sea.
“Fix” the hook
Use pliers to flatten the barb of the hook. It will make it easier to unhook fish and anything else that the hook might get caught in – including you!
We would advise never putting children in anything longer than thigh waders. Far better they realise they are getting too deep when they get wet than have a disaster.
Get a simple set-up
Use a hook, split shot, bobber and nightcrawler. Explain what each piece does, and with this simple set-up, kids will be able to work on the other aspects of fishing once they understand the basics of this combination. The bobber in particular will give the kids a visual that indicates what might be going on under the water, and helps you keep track of the bait. This set-up can be used for any type of fish.
Let them hear a “great job!”
Praise your child when they make a great cast or reel in a fish. If they make a mistake, find a positive aspect then let them know how they can improve next time. Let them know why flinging the hook around can be dangerous and lead by example. You’ll find your excitement throughout the day helps determine whether or not they have a good time.
Get to know the basics of first aid and bring along a first aid kit. Should there be a minor cut or other injury, it’s important to remain calm, clean the wound and apply a bandage. By keeping your composure, the child is more likely to stay calm, and in most cases you can go on to finish your day of fishing.
Teach your kids about conservation. Talk a bit about nature and why people fish. This doesn’t have to boring, in fact – get hands on! When you or your child catches a fish, let them hold it and point out the various parts of the fish. Ask them if they know the differences between how fish and people breathe, or why fish have scales.
Can I take my kids fishing with me without a license?
Children under the age of 12 do not need a rod licence. However, many parents choose to buy a licence for their kids to avoid any risk of being deemed to be fishing themselves while assisting the children. A short-term licence can be purchased if you only plan on bringing your child on a few fishing trips within a short period of time. Alternatively, consider an annual licence which can be more cost effective if you’re planning to bring them along throughout the year.
Source: Environment Agency
The basic safety measures of fishing should be followed with kids. Want to find out what they are? Take a look at our Fishing Safety Guide. Most of all, have fun and tight lines!