Getting Kids Started Fishing

Getting kids started fishing can create great family memories and lead them to a hobby for the rest of their lives.  The key to that first time is to provide an enjoyable experience  to ensure that they are excited to go on repeated trips.  This article gives you suggestions to make sure that first trip is a success.

Bullet points:

  1. How long to go?
  2. Fish in a barrel
  3. Make it an adventure – related activities
  4. Snacks can save you
  5. Simple gear

In today’s increasing digital age, fishing can be an important activity to get kids outdoors and away from electronic screens.  Healthline estimates that 91% of kids today play video games.  When time playing games is combined with other screen times like phone and television it is critical to organize physical activities to get kids outside and away from screens.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children ages 8 to 10 spend an average of six hours per day in front of a screen, kids ages 11 to 14 spend an average of nine hours per day in front of a screen and youth ages 15 to 18 spend an average of seven and a half hours per day.

Getting kids started in fishing is a great outdoor activity to keep them busy for a few hours.  Here are three tips to make the trip a success.

1. How long to go?

Plan a short trip. Do not plan to be gone the whole day, plan the trip to be 1-2 hours, so that if they lose interest you are ready to move on also. If you plan a long day and the fish aren’t biting, kids quickly lose interest and will be asking many times how fast you can go home.

2. Fish in a barrel. 

We all know the old saying, “easy as fishing in a barrel”, you want to take that approach when taking kids on a fishing trip. Catching as many fish as possible is the goal of most anglers but is critical with kids. Seek out bodies of water, with high fish density and low fishing pressure.  You can start by looking for private waters where you could gain access. Good public options can include waters in housing developments, schools, or churches.  Many of these organizations will allow fishing to the public especially for residents and members. has an interactive website tool to help you find a place to fish close to you. Start by targeting species that are numerous and easiest to catch.  Secondly, plan trips to target those species around the best possible time to fish in your area.  If the bluegill spawn in May, plan your trip to coincide with that. Certainly, weather should be an important consideration as well.  Also, bringing along live bait or preserved live bait can be extra insurance to make sure fish are caught. Other organizations that have resources to help you get started include Cast For Kids and Future Angler Foundation.

3.  Make it an adventure.

Certainly, you hope the fishing are biting, but if they aren’t it will help a lot to have other outdoor activities planned that you can quickly transition to from fishing.  Even if the fishing action is fast, don’t be surprised if the kids quickly lose interest and are ready for something else. A quick transition to a nature hike or scavenger hunt can peak their interest in a new adventure. If you brought live bait for your fishing trip that can easily be turned into an activity.  You can seek out a new home for worms, minnows or crickets or quickly add leaves, water, rocks etc to a container to make them a new home.  Used soft baits can also be great entertainment for kids.

Kids may spend more time playing with the soft plastics than they do fishing with them. You just want to make sure they do not put the lures in their mouth.

4.         Snacks can save you

Make sure to bring plenty of snacks and drinks for your trip.  You certainly can bring their favorites, but you can also pack items with a fishing theme.  Goldfish crackers, gummy worms, Swedish Fish or even tuna sandwiches could make your fish theme even stronger for the kids.  Unique and different snacks will help them remember the trip.  Hydration is also important, so make sure to include plenty of beverages.

5.         Simple gear

It is important to start your anglers with equipment that is easy to use, spincast combos make a great place to get started.  For live bait, get some small hooks in sizes like 8 and 10 along with some small split shots and small bobbers.  With just those few items you can be set up to fish with live bait.  The same spincast or a small spinning combo can easily be used with some simple lures as well.     

Here are three product recommendations that work nationwide for multiple species to help get you started

Fish4Bass. For only $2.99 this kit has two versions that will have you ready to bass fish anywhere in the country.  Each kit has the hooks, weights and baits rigged as you need them ready to go, just tie them on and start fishing.  The kit is available in two color options. One is recommended for stained water and one is recommended for clear water.

Bait box

Kids love critters and bugs and the Bait Boxes bring you realistic soft plastic critters.  Each pack comes with a 1/16oz jig head rigged with a top selling plastic and six spares.  Each plastic shape is offered in a best-selling color. Simply tie them on and you are ready to target bluegill, crappie, bass or walleye in lakes, rivers, streams or ponds.

Kids Kit

This assortment kit brings you a mix of plastic baits, hooks, weights and jigs that will allow you to target a wide range of species anywhere in the country.  All come in a Plano tackle box to keep everything organized.

Getting your kids fishing this year is a great way to get them away from the screens and set the foundations for a hobby that could last a lifetime.