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How to Make Fishing Fun for Kids

Father and son putting a freshly caught fish in a bucket.
Dragon Images/Shutterstock

National Go Fishing Day is June 18, and it’s the perfect time to get your kids into fishing. It’s a fun pastime that gets them outside in the fresh air and sunshine, and can even put food on the table.

Not all kids are into outdoor sports, but fishing is a pretty relaxing activity that can appeal to both boys and girls. If you find your child isn’t super interested at first, he might be more into it if he gets to pick the fishing spot and some of his gear. Don’t forget to get your fishing licenses!

Purchase the Right Gear

Rather than handing down your old fishing gear to your kids, let them pick out some new, age-appropriate equipment for themselves. Younger children will do best with a spincast reel, which is what you’ll find on most children’s fishing poles.

Once your child is in her pre- or early teens, she can use a larger rod, but shouldn’t start using an adult rod until she’s 14 or older. Even then, you’ll want to get something that isn’t too much for her to handle.

Let her get her own tackle box, too. Some kids poles come with tackle boxes and lures, so your child will have everything she needs. If you’re buying these items separately, let your kid pick out her own lures—just be sure to show her right kind for the type of fishing you’re going to be doing.

Make It a Learning Experience

Learning isn’t always boring. There are a lot of things your child can learn on a fishing trip, including the different types of fish, and which you can eat. If you’re not catching and releasing, you can also include your kids in cleaning and preparing the fish.

Walking to your fishing spot will give you some other teaching opportunities, like the different critters and plants you see along the way. Even looking for animal tracks is fun when you’re in the great outdoors.

Don’t Force Them Into It

If your child gets bored quickly while fishing, there’s nothing wrong with finding a way to convince them to give it a little more of a try (sometimes the fish just aren’t biting). If they’re getting grumpy, though, just pack it up and save everyone some aggravation.

Also, keep in mind some kids will be afraid to bait the hook—especially if you’re using live bait. Your child might also be hesitant to touch a fish he caught or remove it from the hook. Children can definitely be too squeamish to clean a fish. You can do those things for them, but have them watch so they can see how easy it is, and that it’s not as scary as they think it is.

Don’t forget to take your phone along so you can look up fish you don’t know, and share a photo or two of your child’s first catch.

Yvonne Glasgow Yvonne Glasgow
Yvonne Glasgow is a professional writer with two decades of experience. She has written and edited for nutritionists, start-ups, dating companies, SEO firms, newspapers, board game companies, and more. Yvonne is a published poet and short story writer, and she is a life coach. Read Full Bio »
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