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Thursday, 19 January 2012 01:00

Kids on the Water

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Kids on the Water Photographs by Gregg Crisp

If you were to ask most anglers what their favorite childhood memory was, I bet eight out of ten would tell you about fishing with a parent or grandparent. So how do you create these memories for your kids and give them a lifelong love of the sport? Here are a few tips to help make their time with you on the water experiences they will remember.

Keep it simple

Most of us have enough gear (some of us take it all with us) to outfit a whole fishing village. With kids, you want to limit what you bring along. One rod will do it for them, and cut down what you bring for yourself. With older kids that are in their own kayaks, I will keep a spare rod with me so I can rig it with something different and swap it out when the bite changes or if their first rod becomes tangled.

Ryley at the inaugural YakAngler & Kayak Fishing Radio BoondoggleRyley at the inaugural YakAngler & Kayak Fishing Radio Boondoggle

Be a Guide

Remember you are the kids’ guide, and the best guides are teachers. Explain to them why you are having them do things, and what you see. Have patience and try not to get frustrated. They might not get it right the first time, or the tenth, but when they do it will be well worth your effort. Don’t let younger kids get frustrated by having them do too much. They don’t all bait their own hooks at first. Give them a break - soon enough they won’t want your help.

Braden with a nice crappie caught off my gator hatchBraden with a nice crappie caught off my gator hatch

Keep things interesting

Live or cut bait is usually the best bet to get kids on fish but if the action is slow switch it up - tie on a plug that they can pop across the surface for a few minutes. It might not catch a fish, but it will break up a slow day. Kids like catching big fish as much as we do, but a day full of catching smaller fish can be a lot more fun for them. With older kids, let them explore the area you are fishing, or take a break and let them jump in and swim.

Braden and his first solo yakfishBraden and his first solo yakfish

Choose the Right Kayak

For younger kids, I like kayaks with a rear-facing front seat. This keeps backcasts away from your face and lets you help them a lot easier. There are several kayaks available that have these options, and on the plus side a lot of them work just as well as a solo kayak. When kids start to get into their own kayaks, pay close attention to the width of the kayak. A narrower kayak will keep them from beating up their knuckles, and take less effort to paddle. Stability is less of an issue for them due to their lower weights and, well, just being kids.

Braden and his personal best largemouthBraden and his personal best largemouth

Keep Them Safe

Get the kids comfortable PFDs. They need to wear them the whole time, and if they aren’t comfortable it can ruin the trip. Don’t get in over your head. Remember: It’s not just you that you need to save if your kayak tips and adding extra weight will make your kayak react and handle differently. Kids get tired quickly, so be prepared to tow them when you run into current or wind. A short bungee cord tied into your tow rope will make this easier on you. [What an awesome idea! Ed.]

Ryley and his first redfish at the ChuckTown BoondoggleRyley and his first redfish at the ChuckTown Boondoggle

The Little Things

Pay attention to the small details, like sunscreen and sunglasses. Kids will remember getting a bad sunburn on a fishing trip. Don’t plan on staying out on an epic all-day adventure. Keep it short at first, and steadily increase the durations – soon the kids will outlast you! Bring along some special snacks. I like to pick up a few things that they don’t normally get at home. Start or continue traditions! I remember going to get breakfast after early-morning striper surfcasting trip with my grandfather. Now my son wants to stop at the diner, and sit at the breakfast bar to talk fishing with the old-timers after our striper trips.

Most importantly, make the fishing trip about the kids, and they will remember it. Maybe one day they will pay you back and take you out!

Read 8290 times Last modified on Monday, 12 March 2012 05:47
Gregg Crisp

About the Author:

Gregg Crisp has been an avid fisherman all of his life. In 2007 he rented his first kayak and discovered kayak fishing.  A year later a new one was in his driveway and he has never looked back. He frequents the waters around Boston in search of Striped Bass, and also spends plenty of time chasing Black Bass in the sweet water.  As an environmental contractor he has traveled and lived all over the United States, having fished in over 20 states. He currently resides in New Hampshire with his wife and two sons. Gregg authors the Blog YakFish.net, is part of the Yak Angler, Werner PaddlesRat-L-Trap & YakDaddy.net  ProStaff and is a member of the Jackson Kayak Fishing Team.



+2 # robchoi 2012-01-19 07:30
Excellent, EXCELLENT article. I greatly enjoyed it. Thanks.
+2 # coachjoe 2012-01-19 08:44
Outstanding article... I love taking my kids out as well and it gives me the best memories!
+2 # treehugger 2012-01-19 10:08
Very well done! I love that bungee cord idea; I may not need it, but it will help the clone tow me! :lol:
+2 # reelkayakfishing 2012-01-19 10:45
This is an awesome article! I nodded my head on your every suggestion. :-)
+2 # Blk.FlyGuy 2012-01-27 18:07
GREAT article...."Rem ember you are the kids’ guide, and the best guides are teachers." so true when I would take my boys out I would tell them all the time I'm you guys personal guide today and they loved it. 8)
+2 # twentyocho 2012-03-06 21:09
Great article. I was blessed with all my kids taking to fishing and loving it since very young.. Now just gotta get them to follow me into the yak fishing game. I know they'll love it as well.. Great article...

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