Avoid disposable themed fishing gear targeted at children and hire equipment from the location where possible, buy cheaper second-hand gear or lend your children an old rod. You can reward them with new gear as they show enthusiasm for fishing over several trips.
Safety is paramount – lifejackets are essential if you are not just shore fishing and you should use debarbed hooks or equipment that hides the hook within the float. Apply suncream frequently in the summer and bring warm waterproof clothing in the winter.
You should use a float and a simple-to-use reel to avoid knots in your line, which itself should be soft and supple. Choosing a lightweight rod between three and six feet long allows a more accurate and comfortable cast for your child. Your children may enjoy choosing their own bait and digging for small worms but simply seeing the fish nibbling the bait will create great enjoyment.
Choose somewhere with bathroom access and refreshments that is easily accessible just in case you need to return home quickly. To maximise the chance of a catch, choose areas with an abundance of fish, including specifically-designed fishing ponds.
For children under three, make sure the trip is not just about fishing. You can focus on getting them accustomed to being outdoors by pointing out wildlife, letting them feed the ducks or collecting tadpoles and shells as keepsakes with them.
From three to five years old, you can take them on a boat and let them hold the rod themselves. Once your child is around six years old, you could cast the rod and let them reel in the fish.
Older children can cast themselves, using the sidearm cast which is easier and safer than an overhead cast. They can practice casting by aiming at hula hoops laid out in the garden. Technology-obsessed older children can bring a camera to capture memories from the trip!
You must get a free junior rod licence for children between 13 and 16 years old from your local Post Office or the Environmental Agency’s website. Children under 13 do not require one but those over 16 years old must pay for a licence.
It is imperative children catch something, so target easy-to-catch fish such as roach, bream and small carp. Encourage them to throw small amounts of bait around the float every few minutes and introduce competitions to keep them motivated. If unsuccessful, you could buy a fish from the fishmonger before the trip and stage a “catch”.
Fishing should be fun, so frequent fifteen minute breaks will ensure your children do not get tired. You can play a game of hide-and-seek or introduce other activities with older children such as plogging, which combines jogging and picking up rubbish around fishing sites. As well as working more muscles than traditional jogging, it reduces single-use plastic waste deadly to marine life.
Get them involved
Depending on age and ability it can be from choosing the right type of clothing, food, and equipment. This will create anticipation and start teaching them organisational skills. You can’t just go and fish – you need to prepare for it.
Make it fun
Let your child take the lead. Let them chose the lure/bait, how they cast, where they fish from on the spot. Your role is just to ensure they are safe and most of all enjoying themselves. Your reward will be to be asked to take them again soon!!
Make it memorable
Take pictures, film your child do a re-count at the end of the day edit it all in a small video to be emailed to friends & family. You can also choose to post it online – remember to tag us!
Make sure it is THEIR DAY, not yours
Following these tips will guarantee the day out is enjoyable for everyone – you will soon be rewarded with a plea to go fishing again, establishing a new family hobby!