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In regard to links throughout this Site, you may see a word that is underlined but NOT highlighted blue like a link, It IS a link and these are words that can be found in our Dictionary. In case  you're unfamiliar with some of the fishing lingo.

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Jon Anderson
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FUNdamentals of Camping

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This Is Indiana



Kids and Fishin'

The best fishing tip throughout this whole site is to take your kid fishing with you!

There is nothing like seeing the joy and excitement in their eyes when they catch their first fish and to know that it will be a moment they will never forget!

Camping and fishing go together like peanut butter and jelly.
(Or peanut butter and Chocolate if your not into peanut butter and jelly)
So, if you're planning your first fishing adventure with young children this summer while Camping then here are a few tips that I hope make everyone's experience last a lifetime.


First what you need to bring is a heap of patience,
 because kids have never even heard of the word.
I know, I raised 5!

A child's first couple of fishing experiences often determines whether or not the sport is going to become a life long passion, or just another thing he or she will grow out of as they progress in years.
Many things can make this a great experience which children will love. 

Some of the greatest bonding experiences one can ever have can come just from sitting out there for hours fishing and talking. Fishing should never seem like a boring chore for children, or they are going to reject it as they would anything that isn't fun.

With just a few simple rules, fishing can be a great trip for children which can often lead to some of the best childhood memories.


I believe that the first experiences should be a one on one affair, since others would only tend to be distracting.

A child needs someone to give them full attention to every detail. 

A child can also feel like second place if others come along and talked to you the entire time instead of you talking or teaching him or her how to fish.


and that's your best bet for a fun day.

Don't turn the trip into a big production. 
Make the experience fun for a child! Kids can only take in so much information at any given time. The more complicated you make it, the more frustrated they'll get.

After all, your child just wants to spend time with you.

Limit the first fishing experience to a couple of hours.  Kids have limited attention spans especially younger ones.  Instead of fishing from a boat, bank fish on a pond or small lake.  This way, if the fish aren't biting, kids are not stuck in a boat and can do other things like explore, swim or picnic. 

A pier, dock or shore is a great place to start. Treat the trip as an adventure and explore the area you'll be fishing.

However, If your taking the youngster for his or her first fishing adventure, the first thing you must do is find a pond where you're sure you can catch something . . .

kids don't fish for the scenery or for relaxation. 

Don't worry about technique and don't be concerned about catching lots of big, trophy-size fish. To a young angler, a small bluegill or crappie caught with a simple hook and bobber is a major achievement.
For some children, a big fish might be scary.

Big lakes full of bass are great for experienced fisherman, but not for a child who has little concept of where to cast, or how to set the line. Small ponds make an excellent choice. Bream are much easier to catch and handle for children. They are easy to catch, and if it's the right time of year, can be snared very easily right off the shore. When these fish are on the bed, ready to give birth, they rarely leave and snap at anything that lands in their general vicinity. Small ponds which are regularly stocked and have few people fishing them, make the whole trip a lot easier and fun for children with little patience.

Children also need to know that fishing isn't always going to be this easy, but for the first few times they need to catch fish in order to have a good time. Without much understanding of the sport, children are more likely to be impressed by catching a stringer of bream than they are of only catching one or two small bass.

Don't force your child to fish for hours on end. 
Sometimes a child will be happy fishing for 15 minutes and then playing for an hour along the beach or woods, etc.

A child cannot be expected to spend long hours sitting and holding a rod. 

If your child decides 2 minutes in to the fishing that he or she rather throw rocks, let them throw rocks. If they want to play with the bugs, or splash through the water, let them. This is their outing. In the beginning, it’s all about having fun. Their version of fun, not ours. If the first few trips consist of 3 casts and 2 hours of skipping rocks, then great.
They’ll come around.

Try using fishing rod holders and bells, so your child doesn't have to be sitting still and chained to the rod. Sure, they'll miss a few fish, but the excitement of a ringing bell alerting them that a fish is interested in their bait will usually renew their interest.


A child shouldn't learn to fish on a baitcaster or some spinning reel which takes skill and know how. My main recommendation would be a cane pole. This is fishing in its simplest form, and what I (and probably yourself as well) personally learned to fish on.
In the right places, a cane pole, bobber, and a few worms and crickets can make for a very fun day. There is little to be done other than baiting the hook, and tossing it into the water. Retrieve with these is simply a little more than jerking the fish back out of the water, rather than having to reel it in over a great distance.
Also, without casting, you have less hang-up, and less time trying to get your youngster's line untangled from some tree, or off the bottom of the pond. Fishing made simple, this is probably the easiest way to bring a child into the world of fishing.

However, your child may also find that a cane pole is boring or not cool. You're probably using a rod and reel yourself and your child is more interested in that type of pole.
Not a problem. 
A closed faced spinner can be a very good choice for those just starting to fish. The ol' Zebco capsule reel with the push-button variety, is easy for kids to operate. But if possible, I would personally recommend starting with a cane pole for the very young fisherman out there, with a gradual step-up to a closed faced spinner and so on.

Often children want to be able to move the rod around a lot and see how things look and work when they're underwater. There's nothing wrong with letting them do that, as long as they're not swinging the rod around and hooking each other or you. Children that want to bounce the rod around can be successful using small jigs for panfish, since the fish will often strike jigs worked in an erratic, vertical manner.

When fishing with a young child, YOUR fishing should be the last priority of the day. After all, you are here to teach and to make sure this child goes home happy. The only stringer you should be concerned about being filled at the end of the day, is the child's.

 Pay attention to your child and DO NOT ignore them while you fish.
I have seen too many parents get frustrated with children who are "getting in the way" of their fishing.

Don't force a child to touch or de-hook a fish. Do it for them by carefully and respectfully handling the catch. If the fish is of legal size, let the child decide whether to let it go or take it home as a trophy. Use the opportunity to explain the rationale of catch and release.


Kids will no doubt make bad casts, fling the hook around like a flying gaff, and probably drop the rod a time or two. That’s okay! Do yourself a favor, and smash the barb of the hook flat with a pair of pliers. Not only does it make unhooking the fish easier, but it makes unhooking the parents easier as well. You will be unhooking both.
Always let them know they’re doing a great job, and show excitement when things are going well. Their opinion will be forged as much from your reaction, as their catch success.
If they do something wrong, explain it to them, and teach them how to do it right. This is the time to leave the short temper at home.

And finally, teach respect of the fish and their environment. 

No one likes going fishing and seeing where others have thrown beer bottles and other trash around the lakes.
Teach your child to preserve these areas so that they and others might enjoy them in the future. Also, teach your child the importance of respect for the animals they are catching. Catch and release is a great system, especially for the smaller fish. But teaching healthy respect for size limits and what makes a keeper are also a must. Keep what you are going to eat, release the rest, and never toss back fish which you have hooked deep enough to kill them. If you've killed them in the catch, keep them in the basket. Never throw a dead fish back into the water.

However, odd as it is, some states like Texas state that if a fish dies while in your possession but it is not legal to keep, regulations state that you must still release it.
Be sure to check your State's Rules and Regulations

Teaching your child respect of their fishing areas will make sure that there are still places around to fish when they have kids of their own.

The end result:

Your child will learn that it's about the sport, the joy of being outdoors, and all about spending quality time doing something they love, with someone they love.

Once this is learned, fishing becomes a joy for everyone involved, and a guarantee of memories which will last a lifetime.

What You'll Need To Get 
To Get Your Child Started Fishing

Most youngsters are taught how to fish by starting out with hook, weight, bobber and carton of red worms off of a dock or from shore.
If your looking to set-up your child with rod and reel here's a recommendation: 
Buy a quality 5 1/2 ft spincast ( closed faced combo) light action spooled with 6lb test, this will be better and easier for kids than the short brightly colored fishing outfits that are available.
For rigging purposes:

Use a size 8 Aberdeen long shank hook as they are they easiest hooks to work with or try a Circle Hook, as this hook requires no pulling on the rod and hook to hook a fish as a small child might not quite get the hang of that part of fishing yet.
Next, get a pack of BB sized split shots and a few bobbers that attach to the line about the overall size of a quarter, the smaller bobber is intended to suspend your bait in the water and alert when to set the hook. Using a larger bobber will only make it that much harder to set the hook and detect a bite.
To complete the set-up tie on the hook using a clinch knot. Above the hook, about 6-10 inches place a spilt shot or two then attach the bobber. 

I suggest starting your child off using good ol' fashioned Nightcrawlers (worms)!

See how to bait  your hook here


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It is important that people who fish follow all fishing rules and regulations.
These rules help conserve fish populations and also help anglers be successful.
Regulations may limit the size of, number of, and season that a type of fish may be caught, and may require a license to fish. In some cases, only “catch and release” fishing is allowed, which means the fish must be let go. Some bait is illegal in certain areas.
Contact your state wildlife agency by visiting Our Rules and Regulations Page.

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