It doesn’t take much to get started – just a few basics – and the benefits of passing on a skill to your children they will carry on for a lifetime are priceless.
Perhaps you didn’t live near a waterway or the coastline in your younger years so the opportunity wasn’t there to learn how to fish, but here are a few simple tips to help ease the panic when you hear “mum/dad, can we go fishing today?”
If you look past the sharp hooks and smelly bait there is a bigger experience to enjoy. I think the best way to approach a fishing outing with your kids is to take the focus off actually catching a fish and place more emphasis on the whole process from getting your bait, rigging up, knowing where to fish and patience. That way we are avoiding the prospect of some very disappointed anglers.
Here are some 101 basic fishing tips for kids
Forget the overpriced kids’ fishing gear
Don’t worry about the overpriced fishing equipment aimed at children. A basic rod and reel or even a hand reel are all you need and you’ll save dollars. Younger children will even be happy playing around with a simple fishing net.
It begins with the bait
It depends on the location but ask your local tackle shop on which bait is best for the area. It will probably be something small like worms, prawns, pilchards, salted tuna or if you have a yabby pump take that along and on a low tide around river banks pump your own. This could very well be the most enjoyable part o f the outing for your kids!
Next the rigging
This one can get a little tricky. There are many different ways to rig a rod but they are dependent on where you plan to fish. Your best bet is to ask your local tackle shop like MOtackle for tips when you are buying the bait or rigging. Alternatively the internet has some great tutorials, like this one:
Know your local fishing regulations
Know your local fishing recreational regulations, there are different laws in place for each state. Fishing is free in Queensland, New South Wales requires you to purchase a licence but is free if you’re fishing with a child (alternatively $7 for 3 days). Victoria requires a licence and Tasmania has a rule in place if you are inland fishing. South Australia is free and Western Australia is also free if you’re simply fishing from the land. Check here for more information
Improve your chances
Fishing on the last and first 2 hours of a tide is usually going to give you the best chance to hook something. This is when the fish are most active and feeding. Morning and afternoons away from the midday sun will improve your chances (and are better times for us too). Most local newspapers have a section where you can check where fish have been biting and will show a tide map also.
Treat it like any outing
Take plenty of snacks, sunscreen, insect repellent, hats, water and a first aid kit in case sharp hooks cause an injury. A typical list to run through of a basic tackle box may include (and your local shop will assist you with this) extra line, extra hooks, bobbers, sinkers, needle nose pliers, an old rag (for wiping hands or holding fish), a bucket, sharp filleting knife and scaler… oh and don’t forget the camera!
Know what you are going to do if there is a catch. I like to keep a pair of gardening gloves and pliers handy. That way you can easily slip them on and have a good grip on the fish to unhook with the pliers and throw back if it’s too small or the thought of breaking the fish’s neck, bleeding it and scaling is not up your alley. Teach your kids the golden rule: if you keep it you must eat it.
Teaching your kids fishing is a fun activity they can grow to love and perhaps pass onto their own kids one day. It helps us get back to nature and doesn’t require the internet or PlayStation. If it’s kept positive no matter the outcome, it’s a real family bonding experience.
Do you have any fond fishing memories from when you were a child?
This post was brought to you by MOtackle