A few weeks back he sent me over this short post on ways to make a kids' fishing outing more enjoyable. I figure if even one reader follows up and takes a kid fishing after reading this, it was well worth the copy & paste.
As you all know, I have been fishing with my daughter Sam (Bubba) since she was old enough to hold a rod. Taking a child out fishing no matter what the age can be trying and hard, but also very fun and rewarding for all involved. I just want to offer some advice and experience to help others who take children out, or want to take them along.
The first tip is to usually find a place with a lot fish. Any kind of fish will do. Action is important to kids that have short attention spans.
I have been blessed with a wonderful daughter who is still a Daddy's girl. Just doing something with Daddy was awesome to her. She has won awards which help keep interest, but she loves the outdoors, partially from discussing the outdoors to her early, and showing the wonders in it.
When bringing in fish, a lot of kids wanna do it themselves, but sometimes cannot reel it in. I used to have Sam walk away from the water to help pull fish in. Later, when she would let me, I would hold the rod mid shaft so she could focus totally on reeling, then graduated up to helping reel then by herself when she got bigger.
If your child wants to leave do not force them to stay, just pack up and go. Sam used to be afraid that I would be mad if she was ready to leave before I was. It took a while to "train" her that Daddy won't be mad,and the trip is and was about her enjoyment and not be afraid to let me know she wanted to go no matter what the reason.
The second tip is to watch the weather, a non-cold or rainy day is a must for some.
Weather for her can be rough, especially the cold so layered her, and used heating bags to help. Add that the truck was near to heat her up (I ran truck till hot, and turned off engine before she got in).
Bathroom breaks were another obstacle. A lot of times we were near the truck which I put a small portable potty chair and paper for her to use; or we had a blow up one, and a small space blanket and made a tent she could use to go.
The final tip is to create diversions for slow time.
One important thing I did was add a diversion when she was younger. My pop bought Sam a kinda big fishing bag that had a big compartment on front which I loaded with books she loved and a small magnifying glass. She could read or look at bugs, plants and such with the glass. When she got tired of reading she went back to fishing. We also carried a small net to catch bugs. She also played with the live bait, even to point of naming them.
Wading is for later years but it adds enjoyment for the child. I used to put a life jacket on her just in case, but always tried to keep her within arms reach even if it meant I did not fish to add the safety factor.
These worked for me, and hope they help you when you take a child out, however these are just suggestions. Different things can and should be tried.
So I hope you enjoyed Spurky's tips and take some of them with you the next time you take a kid on the water. A lot of them are simply common sense, but in today's times, that can unfortunately be in short supply