I asked my husband why he loves to fish. He responded with a whole slew of reasons, but said that his favorite fishing has been with his kids. I get it. If you really love an activity, it brings great joy to pass that love to your children.
One of my husband’s favorite fishing activities is telling stories — telling stories while fishing and about fishing. Tall tales are part of the fun, and our children learned early to stretch their hands as wide as they could to indicate the length of the fish they caught, but had to release!
In truth, for my husband, there is more to fishing than just reeling in a fish and tall tales. He wasn’t even aware of all the reasons he loved fishing until he got to share this sport and love of nature with the kids. Unplugged.
My husband and I both work a lot, so time spent together as a family or one-on-one is precious. My hubby has figured out that by taking the kids fishing, he is able to separate them from the daily frenzy, and focus on the “fun” stuff. My own father was good at this as well.
Don’t think that us moms aren’t in on the fishing fun! In fact, it was my mom who first took our daughter fishing when she was two and half. My mom has always been the best fisher in the family, and the trait has passed down through our girls. I’ll never forget the look on our friend Joe’s face when our youngest daughter produced the biggest catch of the day. She was five!
Children learn by watching and doing. They are watching as their father (and mother) make the preparations to go on a fishing excursion with the right equipment, set up the right environment to catch the fish, and persevere (even when the fish aren’t biting). Sometimes, it’s just as important to enjoy the quiet and let our minds wander, watch a bird swoop in, or the way the water moves when the wind blows.
At an early age, our kids learned how to do all of the tasks to bring in a fish. What an accomplishment and a wonderful confidence booster! My husband remembers being allowed to ride his bike out to a reservoir to fish with his buddies. He just had to get home in time for dinner. Kids need to know we trust them to accomplish a goal and they have the freedom to do so.
Fishing isn’t a fast sport. Spending hours out in a boat or standing on a pier casting and recasting is part of the fun. When fishing as a family, we have plenty of opportunity to talk with our kids. By talking with — and most importantly — listening to our kids, we are helping to develop their sense of self worth. This type of communication builds a mutual respect between the parent and child. Just like at the family dinner table, the more we engage our children, the more likely they will develop into self-confident individuals. Happy and healthy.
Licensing: You need a license. The fees often support area conservation programs, so consider it not only obeying the law, but a good deed. Buy your license online.
Methods: Catch fish with your hands or through a hole cut in the ice on a lake! I learned to use a dowel, a line and a hook. Simple. My husband loves the active-but-serene fly-fishing, and we have taught our kids to spin fish. Check out this tutorial on how to do different kinds of fishing.
Bait: The type of bait you should use depends on the fishing expedition. As a kid, we used worms from the garden!
Rods and reels: Once again, this equipment depends upon the type of fishing. To teach your kids the many pleasures and benefits of fishing, you don’t need anything fancy. If you don’t have rods, borrow from a neighbor or friend. Most folks are thrilled to encourage others to try fishing. If you don’t know how to set up your reel, make sure you get help or watch this video. It pays to practice in the backyard too.
Net and bucket: Probably the most forgotten but very important items of equipment you will need. It’s heartbreaking to realize you can’t bring that big lake trout home for dinner because you forgot the net and/or bucket.
Safety: Fishing is fun, but a hook caught on someone is not. Check out these important safety tips.
Terms: Do you know what leaders and sinkers are? Here’s a source with all your fishing terms, from A to Z. And if you are going out with more-experienced fishers, make sure you speak the angler language.
How to clean a fish: Great, you caught a fish. The job is not done until you clean your fish.
Find more fish recipes in your DinnerTime Recipe Box.