Fishing with little ones


Cooper catches a Sunshine Bass.

Last weekend I took my youngest son fishing for his first time.  It would be his first exposure to being out on a boat far from land, his mother and his favorite blanket.  Like a lot of fathers, I know that I have a tendency to push my kids.  So I wanted to get this right as I introduce the experience of fishing to my youngest.  I wanted to share some things with you that I feel are important when teaching little ones how to fish.

First off, no serious, tournament style fishing with little ones.  I can remember sight fishing on the mosquito lagoon with my then four year old son.  What started out as a simple trout fishing trip quickly turned into me pursuing a large school of red fish across a flat.  Here are a few rules I gave my son Chase as I prepared to go after the fish.  No talking, no eating, and definatley no moving.  After about 15 minutes of that, I heard the words no father trying to teach their child something they love wants to hear, “Daddy, I want to go home.”

Some advice: Plan your fishing experience with kids in mind. A five year old is not going to be up for plugging a shoreline with a top water plug and you don’t want your little one buzzing treble hooks around your head either.  Live bait, like worms, minnows or bread work well.  It almost guarantees action and will introduce them to the bait and switch or hook concept.


Cooper cashed out after a hard day fishing.

Secondly, make it a short day and bring plenty of food and snacks.  Two hours for a kid is like forever (at least that what my kids say), so keep your day short and try to start early when it’s cool or later in the day. Bring some food to keep there little stomachs full and happy.

Lastly, Make everything part of the experience. From the getting up early, buying or getting the bait, launching the boat, tying the knots or pointing out wildlife.

You are your child’s guide to the outdoors so stop and take the time to teach them.  And most importantly have fun.

For additional information please watch our video on “how to teach kids to fish”

Do florida!

Chad Crawford