Introducing kids to fishing!

I look back at memories with my dad and most of the top 20 are either fishing or hunting. He loved to be in the outdoors and not only was he sharing the outdoors with me, more importantly we were spending time together. Loved ones die, but the memories live on.

There are places to fish ALMOST all places humans live, from the coldest to the hottest regions. Manmade and natural ponds are everywhere and offer up some of the best fishing to introduce kids. It can't get any simpler than a fishing pole and bait, no reason to overthink it. I'll offer some tips below of the essentials and then you can expand from there.

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What is the best fishing rod & reel for kids?

Anything is better than nothing whether a cane pole, spincaster, spinning, or baitcaster. Sans a cane pole, in order of the easiest for a kid to manage are #1 spincaster #2 spinning #3 baitcaster. The spinning reel isn't much more difficult for a kid than a spincaster, but more likely for the line to "jump" off the reel and knot. The baitcaster is the hardest to master and I have still seen 30-year fishing pros backlash one. :)

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L to R: (Spincaster, Spinning, and Baitcaster)

Most outdoors or general stores that sell fishing gear will sell combinations with the reel, rod, and line already included. This is good because they match the equipment to each other. For kids you don't want the rod too long, look for a shorter rod even 5 feet or less. If you aren't buying a combo, then make sure the rod is the right type for the reel and when you shake the rod, you want it mostly stiff with some bounce on the tip. When buying line separately look for the types branded "easy casting" or "tangle free" in 10-15 pound test. Keep in mind when holding the rod, spincasters and baitcasters the reel is on top of the rod, spinning reels are on the bottom.

What are some simple straight forward tackle to use?

To start, using bobbers for kids is the best because you can easily see the bite. It is more advanced for the kid not using a bobber and having the right amount of tension on the line to feel the bite. Use a simple clip on bobber where you can adjust the depth, it will be easy to see when the fish is biting. You will then have a hook and 12-18" above the hook place a clip on (or pinch) weight.

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Want an easy knot to tie for the hook?

I prefer the palomar knot, especially using fluorocarbon, but it works for everything. Quick and strong!

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What kind of bait to use?

You can never go wrong with worms, especially ponds full of bluegill and perch, catfish will also eat. You don't always need the full worm, just break off a little half-inch to inch piece and maybe hook it in two places. Some alternatives are shrimp, shad sides, or liver in areas with catfish or if an area with trout try a salmon egg on a egg hook.

How to find a place to fish?

Do a search on the internet for your area, but there are so many ponds that you should be familiar with ones you have seen other fisherman. City parks with ponds and housing developments with ponds are the most common spots. Golf course ponds can be some of the best fishing, but it isn't advisable with the golfers and you'll probably be run off.

What are the next steps?

Once you and the kids have figured this first step out and catching plenty of fish you can start experimenting with different techniques and bodies of water. Ponds are the easiest to fish, but then rivers, lakes, and oceans are prime spots too. Once you have mastered the bobber technique, the next step is either bottom fishing with no bobber (particularly good for catfish) and then casting lures (particularly good for bass).

Get out there today with your kids for the time of their life and yours!
About author
Rob Lay
Rob Lay is the Founder and Editor-in-Chief at ManLife.com, Founder of FerrariChat.com, and Owner at Lay Properties, LLC. Rob has a B.S. from Babson College and M.B.A. from University of Dallas along with executive training from SMU. Rob has enjoyed various activities from competitive swimming in college, running several marathons, competed at triathlon nationals, competed at national club car racing, 1,000+ hour private instrument pilot, competed as a co-anlger national FLW bass tour, and big game hunting around North America. Rob wants to share his experiences and learn from other middle-aged men in the ManLife Community. You can also find Rob on Instagram and LinkedIn.

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