Florida is widely acclaimed as the “Fishing Capital of the World”, a billing that it can live up to when you consider that it has around three million acres of lakes and ponds, and more than 8,000 miles of coastline to explore.
Recreational fishing is definitely an important tradition and a valued skill that is passed down through the generations, which is why a family trip to a destination like the Emerald Coast, to soak up the sun and to learn some fishing skills, is a great starting point for their learning journey.
You remember when your dad first took you out fishing. And, your grandfather took your dad out fishing when he was a boy. Now you want to pass the tradition on to your son. Here’s how to teach your kids how to fish in the sea safely.
Before you go out and do any kind of fishing, safety first. This means loading up your boat with all manner of safety equipment. Make sure your child wears a safety vest. Bring flares, and other safety equipment just in case. A first aid kit is also a must.
And, consider the size of the boat you’re going out in. When you’re starting out, remember that your child isn’t nearly as strong as you are, so you want to stick with smaller fish and something that he or she is likely able to fish. A small pole that your kid can handle, and stick to the basics when it comes to lures and bait.
Fish Near The Bottom
A lot of the fish that are good “first-time” fish live at the bottom. This means you’ll be catching crayfish, halibut, bass, lingcod, rock cod, salmon, steelhead, striped bass, sturgeon, and trout.
You won’t be fishing tuna, which is fine, because tuna tends to be rather large and difficult to manage.
Steam trout will sometimes rise to the top for food, but then flutter away to the bottom. Fish on the bottom. Don’t worry about the bottom feeders who occasionally come up for food. If you think that ocean fishing is still too much for your child to handle, you can always start off with stream fishing or fishing on the flats.
You can catch bonefish and this is a great start for your child.
Getting Your Kids Excited
Fishing brings families together. When you take them out, remember you’re doing it not only for yourself but for them. Kids and fishing seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly. Most kids will jump at the chance to go fishing with dad. A good starting age is between 5 and 8. It’s not easy, and some children get “turned off” if you don’t follow some of these simple guidelines:
Kids like it when things are challenging but not so challenging that they feel they can’t do it. Never scold or put down your child for not being able to catch something. And, don’t pressure your children. That’s about the worst thing you can do.
If your child doesn’t want to fish, don’t force it.
And, don’t make them feel guilty about it, either. Many parents do this and the child ends up resenting it later to the point where they never want to fish or do any outdoor activities at all.
Children should use fishing tackle and fishing accessories that are easy to use, lightweight, and “kid size.” They should also use stuff that’s durable. Use a spincast reel, which are closed-faced reel that cast and retrieve easily.
A good rod length is 3 ½ to 4 feet. Most reels will have a line already on them that’s about 8-10lb test. This might seem too light, but it’s actually perfect for their little muscles.
You will all remember that first family fishing trip and for many of us, that journey often starts and continues in the “Sunshine State”.
Jay French is a travel consultant and father of three. He enjoys exploring new places around the world and is fascinated by the diversity. He enjoys combining his love for travel and fishing through blogging.