August 09, 2021
By Rebekka Redd
I am certainly not a kid anymore, but as an adult with a fast-paced career that includes frequent travel, I can say that fishing and boating has helped me connect with my parents. Coming from a family that has always enjoyed time in the outdoors, I can say that fishing, without a doubt, has kept us close. I have been able to spend much more one-on-one time with my father ever since I got my new Alumacraft. It’s a very user-friendly boat with plenty of room to spread out and tons of storage for rods, gear and bait.
We enjoy the whole experience together, picking out new lakes to try, getting outside, launching and driving the boat, and of course hooking into fish! Even when the fishing is slow, during the lulls and quiet times we have the chance to talk. It can be the littlest thing like sharing a laugh, or sometimes diving deep into a troubling issue. Looking back, I have realized that without fishing we might not have taken the time to have those conversations. Sometimes that’s what it takes, getting away from it all and being on the lake with no disturbances from the outside world to really slow down, touch base and connect with one another.
Unfortunately, today’s families are busier than ever. With parents working to build careers, create savings, pay for the home, school, cars, groceries and an ever-growing list of expenses, it’s no wonder people have trouble making time to be together as a family.
If you like fishing, including your family can be a great way to make up for lost time, create lasting memories and grow inseparable bonds through an activity everyone will enjoy. Fishing helps you unplug from outside world distractions. When you’re out fishing, the only distractions are the good kind, like a fish on the line! Leave the phone in the car, or at least turn it off, and focus on the people who are right in front of you. Too often the distractions of technology become a crutch that we hide behind when we aren’t comfortable expressing ourselves around other people. This isn’t a healthy habit for anyone, let alone something you want to teach to young children.
When it comes to younger children, I firmly believe that fishing helps kids stay on the right track. The greatest benefit of all is the strong bond that fishing as a family can create. Getting out on the water will help strengthen a family unit, which is critical when things get difficult.
Here’s some tips to help you tailor your time on the water to make it enjoyable for younger children.
First of all, plan a trip with your kids in mind. Every child is different and while some may enjoy the competition of catching the biggest or most fish, others may be inquisitive and try to learn as much as possible about the world the fish live in.
Another thing to keep in mind is the pace and attention span of your child. They may lose interest quickly, especially when things are slow, your priority becomes utilizing innovative ways to keep them engaged. Take breaks and hunt for frogs on the bank or take a swim if the water is warm enough. This will keep them in the moment, without getting bored.
Finally, don’t plan on a specific timeframe. You should be able to stop the adventure when your children are ready to. Remember, they won’t get into fishing if they aren’t having fun.
Make sure you plan for a safe time on the water. This means you have to have the required safety equipment onboard like flares and fire extinguishers, as well as first aid kits for the occasional bumps and properly fitting life jackets. Don’t forget to bring plenty of drinks and snacks, sunscreen, bug spray and protective clothing like hats and sunglasses. You should also make sure to have fishing rods that fit your child. Handle any lures and hooks for them to avoid problems until they get comfortable with the gear.
Teach your children patience. Many children will have a hard time just sitting still, but that is an important part of fishing. Loud noises scare fish away and make it harder to catch anything. Also, once a fish is caught, help your children appreciate and respect the fish. Again, until they feel comfortable, remove hooks for them and help them hold their catch to avoid accidental dropping or injuring the fish.
Make sure you follow local laws. You have to have licenses for anyone that needs one and boat registrations have to be up to date. Check local bag limits and lure restrictions in your area. Your local tackle shop is a good source of information for where to take your children fishing, what to expect and what equipment to bring with you.
Last but not least, have fun! Fishing is a wonderful activity that can create an incredible bond and be a part of making memories that will last a lifetime. Enjoy yourself!