Motherhood occupies a special place in the world and it is somewhere between winning a gold medal and sainthood. Juggling a career with parenthood is difficult enough. But when kids ask to learn a sport or activity that a mom may not know pushes even the most patient women to the max. I should know; I married one. Here are some quick tips for moms to consider when taking their kids fishing for the first time:
- Fishing is fun if you keep it simple. Take kids to a place where they can experience a lot of action. A farm pond or a reservoir that is loaded with panfish is an easy place to start.
- Ask family, friends, or co-workers if they know of any places that have bluegills, sunfish, perch, or small bass. These species are about the easiest to catch in the fishing world.
- Check out areas close to home on a topographical map. Use mapserver.mytopo.com or the TakeMeFishing.org Hotspot Map.
- With minimal gear – a spinning rod, reel, line, a bobber, a hook and a coffee can full of worms – you’re likely to find action soon after the bait hits the water. Kids want to see the red and white float go under and they want to feel the rod bend.
- Remember your camera so you can take lots of pictures!
Kids who get bitten by the fishing bug will want to learn all they can about the sport. But for the first few trips, don’t stress about the technicalities. That will come with more time and study. If you bog them down with technicalities in their first few outings, then the odds are they won’t have fun. All that matters is that the bobber and bait gets in to the water where the fish are. Farm pond panfish don’t require much expertise, and they are very forgiving of bad casts.
In a child’s eye there is a lot more to fishing than catching. It’s a chance to spend time with their mom, siblings and friends. Kids have short attention spans and can get bored easily, even if they are catching a fish on every cast. So take frequent breaks. Pack a tasty picnic lunch. Point out birds, turtles or other animals that you see. If it’s hot, bring a bathing suit and go for a swim. Unless your child is destined for the pro circuit, they’ll have fun being on an adventure with you.
P.S. Be sure to stop for ice cream on the way home.
Tom Keer is a freelance writer who lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He regularly writes for over a dozen magazines, and is the contributing editor of Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America and a columnist for The Upland Almanac. His book a “Flyfisher’s Guide to the New England Coast” was published by Wilderness Adventures Press in 2010. Visit him at www.tomkeer.com.