teaching your kid to fish
published : 2019.04.08
I've never known anything quite like teaching a kid to fish. It can be quite amazing to watch a child react to "fish on!", to landing the thing, and dealing with a real life wild fish.
fishing with my kids
But the reality is that kids + fishing gear = mess. Tangles are a given, as are lost end tackle. My son, by that time already nine years old, once left his fishing rod somewhere random which he described as "packed". We never saw it again despite rushing back to the site in the morning.
So here's my advice, having now introduced two of my own kids to fishing, and a number of other kids ranging from age three to sixteen.
set yourself up for success
It pays to understand the sport a little, and to make life easy on yourself.
Go where you can find some small fish. Panfish go a long way with small children, they don't have to start on "sport fish". Bring along a small net (such as a trout net). Cut cost on your rod and reel and all the other gear if you must, but get a decent net with that weird rubber stuff instead of a traditional string net. String nets and fish and kids mix terribly.
If you live somewhere cold, rent an ice-fishing hut and go after perch. This allows you to keep the kids away from open water, and you can feed them a snack. When the kids get bored they can blow off steam by running around on the ice.
pack super light
Take along the least imaginable equipment: some ultra-light rods and small reels suitable for small hands. Use lightweight mono line such as 4# test. Do not try to use braided line, the kids will somehow get it knotted just by casting (I don't really understand how they do this but it happens immediately.) Take a variety of small tackle, such as:
- Hooks, small bobbers, and earth-worms. Bring a couple of extra bobbers, they will get smashed.
- Small spoons and spinners for casting or jigging.
That said, bring food and water and sunscreen and insect repellent and so on.
go in marginal (for humans) conditions
I've found the best fishing happens under overcast and the worst tends to happen under completely clear skies. There are always exceptions, but that's the general rule. Early mornings and late evenings tend to be better (often much better) than late morning, midday, or in the afternoon.
set up somewhere uncomfortable
The more uncomfortable you humans are, the better the fishing will likely be. Get to a lake and situate yourself somewhere that the wind is in your face. This will have blown the top water toward you. This water will be full of plankton which will bring the bait fish, which will bring whatever you're after.
teaching the skills
Start by pointing out all the parts to the equipment, and the basics of using them.
Don't try to teach a kid more than one or two simple concepts in the space of a morning or afternoon outing. Teach casting or reeling or setting a hook but don't expect it all to stick. With small children, be prepared to do it all again after the kid's had a sleep. If the learning/sleep cycle's not there repeats seem to be necessary.
Conversely, do teach as much about fish behavior as you can, this will take a lot of the frustration out of it, because the kids will understand the context of what's happening and will find it all fascinating. I've found that this is the gateway to getting the kids to concentrate.
As for knots, I advise letting the child lead by expressing an interest. I find it impossible to get a kid interested in something that takes effort, precision, and dexterity when their mind's just not in it. They say youth is wasted on the young, and tying end tackle onto a line is an excellent example - those nimble little fingers and superb near-distance eyesight are wasted when a kid shrugs off the challenge.
are these kids unteachable?
This question will occur to you frequently. Bring a super-human amount of patience. It won't be enough, but bring all you have. Kids will ask a lot of questions, and frequently these will be insane. Kids have excellent agility but incredibly variable hand-eye coordination, experience, and attitude. Some love handling bait and fish, others just can't do it. Just roll with it, you brought kids this is how it's going to be.
Added interest to my day
Hi Mike: I typed in "turning 30" as a subject search, and found your site. I must tell you how amazing I found it to be.
I live in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. I am turning 30 on June 30th (my golden birthday) and have been a little blue lately.
There's something about the way you write that strikes me. I have read about half of your entries. I think it sounds exactly like me, like you are my "writer twin" or something. Your overall tone and the things you notice are just like my life, too. I would never be brave enough to put my essence and thoughts out there, as you have done. The lady in the grocery store ranting about the margarine was so interesting; things like that happen to me all the time.
Maybe it's because I am a very observant person. Also, my fiance and I broke up in March 2001 and I'm still dealing with a lot of inner conflict, as it was a cruel and ugly end that I would have preferred to do without. I think the malaise returns when I remember the lack of closure on that relationship. It sounds as if yours ended on fairly decent terms, that's good. I love the site and will book mark it.
I am 29 but will turn the big 30 this March. I was just surfing for consolation and understanding. I am not so nervous about turning 30 as I am about not being where I NEED to be or not having done enough with my God given time. Is there a book that I could buy to tell me what to do? I have been married, ( at 24 ) and divorced ( at 27!...never marry your high school sweetheart....especially if the mojority of the time they treated you bad..) I don't know. Its hard as a " girl,") to not have someone to tell you what to do and where to go. I CAN fend for myself, believe this to be true, but I know in my heart things could be easier. I just won't allow it. Take the bumpy road or no road at all. Anyway, I hope I have as many great epiphanies as you have had when I get there.....THIRTY, that is.
I also typed in turning 30 for a little perspective. I like what you had to say. I turn 30 in two weeks. I'm not a famous writer, I don't really even write except for pr stuff, I'm not married with kids, haven't gotten my pilot's license or ridden my bike across the U.S. - all things I thought I might do by 30.
Instead, I've jumped out of a plane, been to Europe and Asia, have eaten Octopus, watched the sun rise on the Gulf of Thailand, had food poisoning, gotten my heart totally broken, made amazing friends, got an F in Spanish in college, sang in front of strangers, got in a car wreck, got the great job, stopped wearing leather, started to regularly floss my teeth and fell in love again.
Turning 30 rocks. I get all mid-life crisissy sometimes, but at least I'm still (as you say) remembering to breath, get dressed, etc. I can run and laugh and see movies that make me cry and read crappy books written by English women. It's all good in the hood. We all just have to concentrate on each day because nothing is guaranteed. That's the easiest concept to realize, but the hardest to put into practice. Living in the moment is the big struggle.
The passing of "T" day...
I too am surfing the web for some solace. I turned 30 just 1 hour ago, and although I have been dreading this milestone for the last couple of years, I really don't feel much different at all. I could sit here and cringe with regret over all of the things I haven't done with my life, but what about the things I have:
I've learned that you don't have to lie to avoid saying things that are painful. It will just bite you in the ass in the end.
I've accepted that I am capable of doing whatever I put my mind to, I just don't know what that is yet. I've got time. I've already owned my own real estate company, been a teacher, and ran 6 restaurants. That's alot.
I've learned to accept the fact that I am worthy of significant relationships in my life and I don't have to click to "self destruct" mode when things get intense. Thank God for that - I'm married to my best friend.
I've learned that I don't have to be perfect, that I will always be curvaceous and not waifish, that I will always have problem skin. As long as I am healthy that shows through and defines me more than any pant size.
Most of all I've learned to relish my family, my mom and dad and siblings, and realize that all of those years of fights, hurtful words, times when we didn't talk...they simply weren't worth it. Those people are invaluable.
Maybe when I am 31 I will have all the answers - if not, at the very least, I know I will be able to add to the previous list!
I'll be 30 soon....
The thing that's driving me crazy...is that eveyone else is waiting for me to freak out and asking me if I'm ok with it, how do you feel, what are your plans? It's three months before my 30 birthday and I'm freakin out! I guess I imagined my life to be very different, husband and a couple of kids. None of that happend...bad break up but I have to believe...I have to...that I made the right choices. New career, new out look on life and the incredible support of my family and friends and of course without them I wouldn't be freakin out(right)! Thanks for your words of encouragement...just like the others I searched "turning 30" and there you were..You made me smile even tear up;)
Wow. I've been bummed out so much lately, and not because I'm turning 30 tomarrow. It's just that the big 3-0 is piling on all the other crap in my life if you will. But as many of the other posts have said, it is only a number. And technically, we are still young(kinda :)
I JUST TURNED 27 IN SEPTEMBER. BUT I HAVE BEEN HAVING TURNING THIRTY ANXIETY FOR SEVERAL YEARS NOW. IT JUST SOUNDS SO GROWN UP. I DON'T WANT TO BE AN ADULT. I DON'T LOOK LIKE ONE AND I CERTAINLY DON'T WANT TO BEHAVE LIKE ONE. TO ME ADULT EQUALS BORING. I HAD A LOT OF ANGST IN MY TEENS AND EARLY 20'S BUT AT LEAST THINGS WERE NEVER BORING! I JUST DON'T WANT A ROUTINE, SETTLED LIFE. MY MOM DIED WHEN I WAS 18 AND I THINK PART OF THE PROBLEM IS THAT PART OF ME IS STUCK AT THAT AGE DUE TO THE TRAUMA. I STILL WANT TO BE MY MOM'S LITTLR GIRL! IT'S PATHETIC I KNW BUT THE DER I GET, THE FURTHER AND FURTHER I AM AWAY FRM BEING MY MOM'S "BABY".
i HAVE AN OLDER SISTER. BUT I WAS SORT OF MY MOM'S FAVORITE IN A WAY. I WAS THE YOUNG ONE, THE BLONDE ONE, THE ULTRA SKINNY ONE. I ALWAYS HAD GUY AND FRIEND DRAMA AND IN A WAY MY MOM THRIVED ON IT. MY LIFE WAS ALWAYS IN TURMOIL AND DRAMATIC BUT AT LEAST I WAS POPULAR AND BLOSSOMING. I MISS MY TEEN YEARS BECAUSE OF ALL THE EXCITEMENT. I AM HAPPILY MARRIED TO A GUY I WAS BEST FRIENDS WITH IN HIGH SCHOOL. SO IN A WAY BEING MARRIED TO SOMEONE WHO I GREW UP WITH KEEPS ME YOUNG. ALSO I LOOK ABOUT 19 WHICH IS A BLESSING AND A CURSE. WHEN I DO FINALLY START TO AGE PHYSICALLY IT WILL KILL ME. I HAVE ALWAYS LOOKED VERY YOUNG FOR MY AGE BUT I KNOW TIME HAS TO CATCH UP SOONER OR LATER. A LOT OF MY FRIENDS ARE A LITTLE YOUNGER THAN ME, WHICH KEEPS ME YOUNG TOO.
I NEED TO GET PERSPECTIVE ON GROWING OLDER OR ELSE I WILL BE IN ATHERAPISTS OFFICE ON MY 30TH BIRTHDAY. I KNOW I SOUND VAIN AND SILLY. I REALLY DO NEED TO JUST GET ALIFE.
I went to Ask.com and typed in dealing with turning 30. Thank God you had a website. I'll be 30 in 3 months. I am really scared. Other people questioning me about it perpetuate my fear even more. I don't haev everything I set out to have by 30. I almost feel like I have failed. I do have a great relationship, job, life. Why is it that society has made turning 30 into such a bad thing. I remember my mother looking in her rearview mirror on her 30th birthday and saying "Oh my God, I'm old now". I was like 10 & I remember that. I'm even tempted to start a 10 year plan of what I will accomplish. I have set out a bunch of mini-goals before I turn 30. I dread the surprise Birthday party. By the same token, I know I should feel lucky for even having people that want to throw me one.
Just scared in Fresno, California
Turning 30 in March - happy??
I swore that I would not have a nervous breakdown like my friend did when she turned 30. I am looking forward to it, but I have been taking an inventory of my life to see what I have accomplished. I am content with my life and the experiences I have had. I do feel thought that I have to make sure "all is in order"...financially, spiritually... Wish me luck!!!
1 week away
I identify with the comments made about mid-life crisis. I think it for me it's pre-midlife , but it is evaluation time. My wife isn't bothered at all by 30 , and seems to not understand my disappointment in myself and my life. She even seems somewhat insecure about the subject, like i'm going to run off and leave her. I'm actually waiting til I'm 40 to do that:) Is this unhealthy in anyone's opinion, and is it possible that I have the fidget's because I have been married 11 years to the same woman, and feel like I may have missed out on life a little? Thanks for the article, Ididn't know there was a place like this to vent.
thoughts on turning 30
Thank you! You said it so well! I had just written my own blog on turning 30 and decided to search out what other people had to say. I think for me it wasn't so much turning 30 that bothered me - it was the approach to turning 30. Perhaps it was like you said on your 26th year - that was when you decided to make all these changes.
For me, at 26, I seemed so afraid of "missing" everything that I got into a marriage that was an ill fit and then I proceeded to tear the roots from my life in my late twenties. I just turned 30 in April. And I love where I am now (for the most part). To read my blog: www.herowninvention.blogspot.com
I just turned 29 in June and never thought I would feel this way--anxious about turning 30. I've accomplished a lot but still fret the big 3-0. I have a college degree, a wonderful husband (going on 9 yrs), three healthy children, a good paying job in pharmaceuticals, a 4-bdrm house and a strong spiritual foundation.
I think it all boils down to me realizing that I'm all grown up and there's no turning back (getting younger). It's kinda scary. I've been searching the net for inspiration. Thanks for this site.
I turned 30 today
I had the good fortune to be awake at midnight, watching a movie with a good friend. As I walked home, I lit a cigarette, looked up at the stars and generally felt an incredible sense of peace with this new "milestone." Yes, I have become the token chubby lady down the street with two cats. But you know what, I've also got an incredible 8 y.r. son who reminds me every day how pretty his mom is and how I'm his favorite person in the world. I've got a good job that I love, reliable transportation, friends and family that care about me (hey, I've already gotten sung to three times today and it's not even lunch time!). I won't moan and complain. I like where I'm at. The only thing really lacking from where I thought I'd be is a serious relationship, but those begin every day, right? Each failed one brings me that much closer to the real thing. So I'm ok with this 30 thing, I really am...
I will be 30 in October. I hope that I can get some things accomplished that I never got around to in my 20's.
Thanks for your site, I am glad I am not the only one who is scared of the big 3-0.
If you think 30 is scary consider the advent of 50, more is behind you than is in front and the ominous boding of decrepitude will shortly be in the offing. Those young 20's and 30's something girls in those short skirts will no longer give you that passing glance. There should be an off button that you could just put on a timer that would just gracefully shut you off before the supposed twilight years are imposed on you.
I am touched by your honesty and the way in which you express yourself to the world. You are a good man Michael and hopefully you have inspired me, pretty soon I will be 26 and I feel as if I have so much to figure out. Good luck my friend.