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Tips for Teaching Kids to Fish

Updated: Jul 13, 2023

We recently co-hosted a kids fishing and paddling event at Prairie Park Nature Center here in Lawrence. I have three children myself and thought it would be a good idea to share some tips for teaching kids how to fish.

Play First

Assuming they already have a rod and reel, my first suggestion would be to curl in the hook of a small crappie jig, or maybe even clip it off. Then let them play with it outside as if it were any other toy. I did this with my kids and it let them learn to use the equipment in a safe environment however they choose and at their pace. The biggest benefit was that they could learn to cast and retrieve in our backyard including how to pop snags loose when the jig would catch in the grass or on a rock. By the time I took them out fishing again they had it down well enough that I could focus on teaching technique and concept.

Everyone Learns Differently

The next varies in a way from one kid to another. My oldest was and probably still is the most patient kid I’ve ever taught to fish. With him, I could teach fishing with a classic bobber and rig setup. My younger two however, are not so patient. To many anglers it sounds crazy, I gave them small spinnerbaits and rooster tails. They don't usually run very deep so you avoid snags and it allows them to be impatient and still catch fish with baits that are meant to be repetitively cast and quickly retrieved. You could always choose other lures, again it's different from one kid to another.

Have Fun & Be Safe

The last thing is have fun and be safe, bring lots of snacks and drinks. Make sure sunglasses and sunscreen are there if needed, and maybe some bandaids. They will be using hooks and many fish have sharp spines on their fins. Inevitably there will be a prick so bandaids or a small first aid kit can come in handy. In my experience they will have fun if they catch a fish or not. It's just about being outside and just being with family in the end.


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