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

Why ‘Weeds’ Are Important to Fishing

As a beginning angler, I didn’t have the proper respect for the weeds in the rivers, lakes, ponds were we fished.  I thought of them as ‘stuff in the way.’

This posting will hopefully help newbies understand how important all that underwater ‘stuff’ is.

Why Weeds?

In the fish world, there are two roles: eat or be eaten!  Larger fish are looking for smaller fish to eat, while tiny fish are looking for plankton or other invertebrates for a meal.

No fish wants to be a larger fish’s meal; thus, they hide in weeds. Large predator fish lurk in the weeds, waiting for an unsuspecting bait fish.  Tiny fish feast on the bits of food caught in the sticky tendrils of the weeds.

Cabbage Weeds


The Water Around Cabbage Weed is Highly Oxygenated


Cabbage has a thick stock with long, willowy leaves.   Bait fish and game fish call these weeds home.   Whitefish, walleye, largemouth bass and suckers particularly like to hide in these weeds.

Although bait fish think they are safe, pike and other predators lurk in the shadows, hoping to nab a meal.

Coontail Weed Beds


Coontail is Important to Ducks, Fishes, Reptiles & Amphibians

If you are a duck hunter, you probably know about coontail weeds.  They are excellent food for fish and ducks.  As a rootless plant, coontail breaks down and feeds reptiles, amphibians, fish and ducks.

Coontail exists as deep as 6 and 1/2 feet in water (2 meters), and is shade tolerant.  Because it is mostly rootless, it can form dense mats in slow-moving streams and bodies of water.

Fishing Weed Beds

This info is all very good, but how do we use it for fishing?  First, use the beds to your advantage.  Fish prefer to hide in the weeds – rather than swim around – waiting for a larger fish to eat them!

Fish along the irregular weed edges and above submerged weeds.  The deeper you are fishing, the lighter your lure should be.

For example, in deep weeds – where light does not penetrate so well, use light-colored lures: white, yellow, light blue, light green.  In the depths, these lures will appear larger and brighter.

Did You Know?

If you are fishing 40 feet down, your red lure looks black in the dim light.  At the same depth, your orange lure appears dark brown to fish!



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