Why Should I Take My Kids Fishing?

Goodness, let me count the reasons!

Fishing together builds new ways of relating between parents and children!

People Only Save What They Value

If we don’t teach our children to care about nature, they won’t protect it!   There’s a lot of truth to the song,

“Don’t it always seem to go

That you don’t know what you got ’til it’s gone

They paved paradise and put up a parking lot.” *

Get a Future Fishing Partner 

Folks who take the time to train kids to enjoy the pleasures of fishing earn life-long fishing companions.  This isn’t a very shabby outcome, believe me!

My father had the right intentions, but he used lousy techniques.  He killed the joy of fishing by lining us up on a pier and droning on for more than an hour about the dangers of fishing.

When we made a mistake, we weren’t allowed to forget it.  My father never could understand why we were unwilling fishing partners!

It’s an Opportunity to Relate Differently

While out fishing, you may learn new things about your kids — the way they look at things, what worries them, etc.

When we took our kids fishing, they surprised us by talking about their lives away from us (school), their likes and dislikes … and a thousand other things.

There’s something about being in a natural environment that brings out soulful discussions.

Keep the Preaching to a Minimum 

There is something very satisfying about seeing a child’s face light up when they catch their first fish — even if it is a tiny perch!

A successful fishing trip is actually a juggling act! The trick is to teach youngsters the safety they need to know while engaging them in the fun of fishing.

This isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds!  Most of us are so used to talking to our kids as … well, kids … that we forget that they will eventually be adults.  This is a great time to practice talking to them as adults.  Kids hear the difference and appreciate the change!

Getting Started

After teaching kids how to bait their hook and cast, talk about the effects of weather and winds on fishing.  Show what you know … your kids can learn a few things about you, too!


*  From the song, Big Yellow Taxi, by Joni Mitchell


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com


Published in: on June 17, 2011 at 12:02 am  Comments Off on Why Should I Take My Kids Fishing?  
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Fresh Water Fishing vs. Salt-Water Fishing

We live near the Gulf of Mexico and our family has done more salt-water fishing than fishing in fresh water.

From a Kid’s Point of View

Of Course, These Aren't Dogfish!

As a child, I always thought dropping my hook in a lake was rather tame compared to going salt-water fishing.  The tackle was larger (for salt-water fishing) and the game fish seemed to have a lot more fight in them.

There was nothing more exciting than fighting a dogfish puffer (I’ve never seen any dog that was as ugly as this fish)!  It was an absolutely useless fish for eating, but it was a great adversary.

(I’ve been all over the net looking for a photo of this awful looking little runt, to no avail.  I don’t think they were members of the shark family.

They were rather fat, short, with pock-marked faces — just generally ugly.  Does anyone know to what I’m referring?  This must have been a local name for this fish — I can’t find a photo online.)

Charter Trips

The great thing about going on a ship fishing, was the size of the fish available 16 miles out in the Gulf of Mexico.  However,  the long rides were a drag.

My father worked for printing firms that often offered fishing trips to their employees (this was in the dark ages, just after the dinosaurs stopped roaming the earth).

After a couple of trips, during which I up-chucked my hastily eaten breakfast, I learned to eat very little, until I got used to the rolling and pitching of the boat on the water.

It took a long time to learn to enjoy the trip out to the oil derricks where we fished.  As the eldest of the 4 kids, I understood that the long rides were necessary —  to get to the redfish and snapper we were hoping to catch.

After a couple of trips, my brothers decided to bypass these “adventures” for a few more hours in bed.

Forget ‘Quality’ with Kids …’Quantity’ is King!

These fishing trips, although worth a great deal of money, were never as much fun as just driving down the Gulf Freeway to Galveston and dropping our lines off a pier.  Why?

Getting in the car to drive to the ship, to ride some more, seemed to take too long.   Kids want ACTION!

As kids, we didn’t appreciate the value of those “expensive fishing trips” because it took too long before we could do battle with fish — and (usually) lose!


This is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesandGraphics.com

Published in: on July 29, 2010 at 6:58 pm  Comments Off on Fresh Water Fishing vs. Salt-Water Fishing  
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Who Will Teach our Children to Fish?

Dave Richey is a retired newspaper reporter who writes a blog about things that matter to him.

I happen to think what he’s written about Friday is important to all of us who appreciate the outdoors.

Who Will Teach our Children to Fish?

Who Will Teach Our Children to Fish?

Click on the title above to go to Dave Richey’s article.  It is timely advice!

In the past, I’ve written about how the numbers of fishing licenses and hunting licenses are dwindling in many, if not most, states in America.

If we don’t teach our children how to fish as youngsters, who will do it later?

The people who pay for fish replenishment, habitat protection, etc., are the folks you see in the mirrors.  If our children do not acquire a passion for fishing (and hunting) now, they are not likely to  acquire it later.

Who will protect our streams, rivers, lakes, hunting grounds and public lands in the future?  If the children of today do not become the anglers and hunters of tomorrow, who is protecting the future?

Standing in Line to Buy Tackle

I’ve noticed that there are fewer kids standing in line at the bait shops.

Folks are so strapped for time, that I’m more likely to see a guy’s bonding fishing trip, and not an adult-and-kid trip.

Granted, I live in the Houston-Galveston area.

Are you seeing the same thing in your area?


This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on June 19, 2010 at 2:50 am  Comments Off on Who Will Teach our Children to Fish?  

Part 2 of Taking Kids Fishing

The goal of most adults in taking youngsters fishing is to get a life-time fishing partner.  Frankly, the goal is admirable … the road to that goal is usually rather rocky.

Getting Ready for Success

There's a World of Fun Out There - Called Fishing!

In order to keep kids interested in fishing, it is important that they catch fish!  The first order of business is to choose a fishing location where kids and fish can spend some quality time together.

Kids don’t care what kind of fish they catch, they just want … action!   So taking a newbie angler marlin fishing would probably be a disaster.

The idea of riding in a boat for an hour, or more, to get to the right spot for catching large game fish would be a total turn-off for most kids.

Using Basic Equipment

Turning over your new fly-fishing equipment to a new angler is another poor idea.  Kids need to learn the ropes with a minimum of equipment.

For a basic fishing set-up, you need go no further than a cane pole and a few basic items.  For cane pole fishing, refer to yesterday’s article: ‘A Great Way to Introduce Kids to Fishing.’

Your Behavior is Critical to Success

Let kids feel important by letting them help with the equipment.  They are not going to handle items as carefully as you do; try to be tolerant.  Remember your goal: You want a long-term fishing buddy.

A guaranteed day-ruiner: Yelling at kids, barking orders, giving lots of unasked-for advice.  Please don’t get upset when kids make mistakes.

Let kids do their own thing! I can’t tell you how many times my brothers would stop fishing, go tinker with something for a while and return to fishing.

Most likely, the place you take the kids fishing is a new area to them.  They will want to explore or test limits. Try to be flexible – remember that it is their free day too.

Make a big “to-do” about anything they catch. Please don’t do what my father did with my first big fish.  He took it off the line and promptly cut it up into smaller pieces for more bait.  I  was crushed!

Take breaks; praise kids for their efforts.  Try to instill a respect for nature.


The most important suggestion:  Quit fishing when kids get tired or lose interest.  Remember: Tomorrow’s another day!


This blog is a companion to my website: GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on February 19, 2010 at 12:04 am  Comments Off on Part 2 of Taking Kids Fishing  
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A Great Way to Introduce Kids to Fishing

I live in an area that can usually measure “the days of winter” on one hand!  However, we are into the 10th week (!) of freezing night-time temperatures.

After this winter, the idea of “global warming” is laughable.  But that’s another story.

Instead, I’d like to think about taking kids fishing.  My calendar says spring is coming, but the mess outside my window disagrees.  Thus, I’ll just have to dream about…

Kids and Fishing

Kids & Cane Polin'

In my dream, it is early spring.  You and I know that the water in small ponds heats up faster than in large bodies of water.

The first fishing trip with a youngster can be an exasperating experience.  Thus, I’ve decided to go low-tech and use cane poles.

Our great-grandparents had it right when they invented cane poles.  This is equipment a kid can get his hands around – no moving parts and not enough line to create a birds-nest to unravel.

Getting Started

Fish become more active during spawning.  The temperature of the water controls the spawning cycle.  The smaller the body of water, the sooner the spawning begins.

Another sign of early spring is the emerging plants in the water.  Fish are particularly fond of cabbage plants — and they sprout after a few days of warmth.

For a large photo of cabbage weeds growing in water, refer to my previous article, “Why ‘Weeds’ Are Important to Fishing.”

Cane Poles in the Weeds

A 16 foot cane (or fiberglass) pole is ideal for fishing in weeds.  You only need a few feet of line, a bobber, a hook and some bait. A long-handled net is also important when fishing in this situation.

Baitfish hide in submerged weeds. Predator fish hang around the weeds, hoping for a ‘meal-deal.’

The trick for kids is to learn how to dip their lure or bait into the spaces in lily pads, weedy patches and other hard-to-reach areas.

Tips to Share

Lesson # 1: ‘If you can see the fish, he can see you.’

Lesson #2: Fishing is a quiet sport because fish can feel sounds. “They can feel vibrations and/or hear sounds that occur in the water (up to ~ 100 feet away).” *


The beauty of using a cane pole is that kids quickly learn to recognize the feel of fish nibbling and biting their bait.  And that expression is priceless!


* Quote from my previous article:Fish Senses & How They Use Them – Part 2′


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Fishing & Kids II

Recently, we covered safety issues with kids and fishing. Now,  let’s talk about the “how” of fishing with kids.

Getting a Life-Long Fishing Buddy

Remember that the goal is to get a life-long fishing buddy! Making sure the first few trips are “all about them” will ensure their continued participation.

You will need to show patience  while you are untangling lines and baiting hooks.  If it is hard for you to split your time between your fishing and theirs, this may be the time to leave your rod at home.

Limit fishing time; kids are not going to enjoy fishing for a whole weekend (at first).

It’s All About Kids and Fun

Choose a place that is easy to get to, safe and offers other diversions. A fishing spot near a park is ideal; if the fish aren’t biting – kids will enjoy a swing ride or two — and then return when the fish get hungry.

Choose a place with plenty of action. Kids would prefer to catch lots of little fish versus a couple of large ones. If possible, use live bait. Children find this much more fun than lures, spoons, etc.

What if the kids decide to toss stones or chase around? Remember that this is their outing and take it in stride. The idea is that fishing is fun! 

Fishing Can Be Fun for All Ages!

Fishing Can Be Fun for All Ages!



Hooking Your Kids

Use simple tackle: a hook, split  shot, night-crawler and bobber.

Alternately, use an old rig (in working order) from the back of the garage. You will feel better about losing this rather than watching your child accidentally drop your new graphite rod  in the water.

Another choice is to buy a “kid’s sized” tackle set. It’s the right size and fairly inexpensive.

Teaching Conservation

Teach conservation: Show the fish’s eyes, explain how they see. Let them feel the layer of “slime” (that protects them from bacteria).

Teach them only to catch what they can eat. Also, teach  ‘catch and release.’ Explain that releasing this fish today will allow the fish to reproduce many more for the future.

Being Prepared

Besides tackle and bait, be sure to bring some snacks, drinks, sunscreen, insect repellent and some basic items of  first aid.

Even with you hooking their bait and helping them cast, kids will make mistakes. Leave your temper at home! Calmly explain why it is wrong and how to do it correctly.

Lavish praise and take photos!


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Fishing and Kids

If we want to keep part of America in its natural state, we need to teach the next generation about the value of nature and wilderness.



Kids Learning to Value Nature by Fishing!


One of the easiest ways to do this is to take kids hunting and fishing.  The beauty of taking kids fishing is that you can start this at a fairly young age.

Taking Kids Fishing

There is something very satisfying about seeing a child’s face light up when they catch their first fish — even if it turns out to be in the minnow class!

A successful fishing trip is actually a juggling act! The trick is to teach youngsters the safety they need to know while engaging them in the fun of fishing.  This isn’t nearly as easy as it sounds!

The Safety They Need to Know

First, decide what young anglers need to know. Most kids look at the waters of a lake or stream as “wet land.” They think they know a lot more than they do. Kids want to get started; adults know that certain cautions should be observed.

My father killed the joy of fishing by lining the 5 of us kids up on a pier and droning on for more than an hour about the dangers of fishing.  It was a long time before any of us wanted to go fishing again!

The next time we went, with an uncle, it was a wonderful experience!  He told us the cautions while having fun fishing.

Some Fishing Safety Tips

Decide beforehand if flotation vests are required — and by whom.  Then stick with that decision!  Kids will try to whine their way out of wearing vests.

After teaching kids how to bait their hook and cast, talk about the effects of weather and winds on fishing. Anglers usually have one eye on their lines and the other on the weather.

They need to understand the dangers of lightning and how their rods can conduct electricity to their bodies! Explain when you decide to stop fishing — is it at the beginning of a rainstorm or when the thunder starts to rumble?

If there are power lines around, explain how to avoid danger if they use long rods or fancy fly-fishing casting.


When I go fishing with kids, I learn as much as I teach!  It’s a great way to communicate with kids on a different level.


This blog is a companion to my website:  GreatGhilliesAndGraphics.com

Published in: on August 11, 2009 at 11:30 pm  Comments (3)  
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