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Kids Just Wanna Have Fun!

Kids are big on instant gratification. They want success -- lots of it -- and they want it now. Correspondingly, they are bad at patience. They have short attention spans, their minds wander. They lack focus. Their entire world is a wonder.

Gathering night crawlers after dark is a sport as rewarding as catching fish with them the next day. Frogs and dragonflies and water lilies and rusty soda cans fascinate them as much as fish. They'd just as soon practice skipping flat stones as casting a fly.

Give them frequent, but short doses of fishing. Quit before it gets slow. Then help them try to catch a frog or a dragonfly. Throw some stones into the water. Pick a bouquet of lilies. See how many rusty soda cans you can hand-capture by wading the shallows. Bring the cans home with you and refrain from preaching about it. You won't need to.

Kids are democratic. To them, a fish is a fish regardless of species or reputation. Two small fish are twice as good as one big one. Kids measure their success by numbers. They'd rather catch a bucketful of sunfish in an afternoon than a trout or two.

Kids are suspicious of anything that smacks of a "lesson." Adults take heed. If kids don't want to bait their own hook, don't make a big deal out of it. This is no time for a lecture. Put the worm on the hook and toss it into the water for them. When a fish bites, help them set the hook. Unhook their catch for them. Hold it so they can touch its colors. When they're ready to try these things for themselves, they'll let you know.

In the meantime, be assured that they're watching how you do it. Kids are impatient with process. They see no sense in redundant artfulness. Fancy methodology does not impress them. There's no need to complicate things, although complicated methods work well, too.

Kids may be quick and energetic but they lack skill. Start them with methods that don't require skill. They'll pick up the skills quickly if they want to. And they'll want to once the fishing bug bites them.


William Tapply


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Gear Checklist...

A little planning will insure that you have a trip that is productive, fun and safe. Use this checklist to insure that you have all the equipment, snacks and protection you need for an enjoyable fishing experience.

  • Life jacket

    • Cold drinks

      • Sunscreen

        • Camera

          • Lots of snacks

            • Jacket and cap

              • Fishing rod & reel

                • Tackle box with hooks, line, lures, sinkers and some cool kid's bobbers

                  • Fish bait

                    • Bug repellent!

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