10 Tips for Fishing with Kids [Less Frustrations, More Fun]

By Ramon Contreras •  Updated: 05/03/22 •  9 min read

When it comes to taking kids fishing, it can be a lot of fun and it can also be a little challenging. So I’ve got 10 tips for fishing with kids that should make those trips a lot easier!

10 tips for fishing with kids

1.  Leave your fishing rod at home

Now you’re probably thinking, why would I leave my rod at home before going fishing?

Well, the main reason is, one, you’re probably going to want to fish if you bring your rod If you eliminate that option for yourself, you’re going to focus more on on the kids And that’s kind of the whole point. Show them a good time fishing, enjoying public spaces, getting them outdoors, getting them away from screens.

The other reason why you want to leave your right at home is you’re probably not even going to have that much time to actually fish. You’re going to be spending so much time untangling line re-tying knots, re-bating hooks, and making sure someone’s not falling into the water. Depending on the number the kids you have with you, you’re probably gonna be spending more time untangling their mess than actually fishing.

Whenever I take the kids fishing, I don’t even take my rod if I have both of them with me. If I have the oldest with me, I’ll take my rod because she’s a little bit more independent and can do things on her own a lot easier than my little man can. So that’s the only time I take my fishing rod.

Speaking of tying knots. Check out these 3 easy fishing knots for beginners

2. Pick a day with good weather

This might seem obvious, but one thing to keep in mind is the wind. If it’s a cold day, like if it’s like in the sixties, fifties, and the wind is blowing you got 10 mile per hour sustained winds with like 20 mile per hour wind gusts, that’s probably not going to be a good time to take your kids out. The reason is whenever you do take a kid out fishing, know that the clock is ticking.

You have a finite amount of time that they will actually be engaged and enjoying themselves and if the weather is bad, that time shrinks dramatically. If their hands get cold, if their feet wet, if their face is cold, if they’re if it’s too hot and they’re too sweaty. There are so many things that could make them uncomfortable.

So pick a good weather day. Doesn’t really matter if it’s the best weather for fishing, if it’s good weather that you know they’ll be comfortable in, take them out on that day. And the other thing is make sure they’re dressed appropriately. If it’s hot out, make sure that they’re wearing a light comfortable clothing like a sun shirt, something like that’s essentially something they would wear to the beach.

If it’s cold out, make sure they have layers, make sure they have gloves, make sure you keep them dry. Because the last thing you want is a cold and wet kid because that’s going to end the trip right away.

3. Fish a place with easy access

The last thing you want to do is have a kid hike out a mile just to get to your secret fishing hole. You’re going to have to walk or carry those kids back out the same distance you went in. Pick a place that has easy access, good parking. A spot that you can get to very quickly on foot.

Also, pick a spot where they can actually fish. You don’t want to go to a spot that’s covered in brush with a lot of overhangs that they can get snagged in. It’s going to lead to more frustrations for you and they’re not going to enjoy themselves. If you’re not sure if the place you’re taking them has easy access is go on Google Maps, do a little research, look at the park scout beforehand, just drive up and see how can the kids fish there.

Would they be able to cast? How high is the grass? Are they going to be able to see? Is it too steep of a bank that they won’t be able to sit comfortably? Keep those things in mind as you try to find a spot to take your kids to fish. The harder it is for them to fish, the easier it is for them to just want to go home.

4. Fish where kids have other things they would like to do

It’s always good to have a park nearby that you can take them to go to the playground afterwards because eventually your time will run out and their attention will give away, and you will have to stop fishing. So it’s always good to have in your back pocket a nice spot with the playground if not at the park and near the park when their attention does fade away, when they’re done fishing, just take them over there and they can still have a good time.

You’re still spending time with them it’s not like they have an hour drive home and all they did was get to get their lines tangled up and things like that.

5. Use kids fishing rods and tackle

One of the biggest tips is have gear for them. Something easy for them to use and easy for them to handle. One of the things I like to do is use these little push button rods. They’re super easy for them to use. All they do is they hit this button and cast out their lure.

The only downsides to these are if they do break off, kids tend to keep reeling the line will go right into the reel. Bring a screwdriver or something for you to be able to unscrew the reel and open it up to get the line out.

Shakespeare Youth Fishing Rod and Spincast Reel

Shakespeare Youth Fishing Rod and Spincast Reel

Buy Now Disclaimer – I use affiliate links so I can keep buying fishing and hunting gear. I get a small commission at no additional cost to you.

Another piece of gear I recommend is the Shakespeare Hide-a-Hook Bobber. It’s a simple hallow bobber that hides the hook inside of the bobber preventing you or your kid from getting hooked. It’s saved my skin dozens of times. Makes it super easy so the kids don’t hook themselves. They are kind of pricey. You can buy them in two packs so you can buy them in a whole tackle box, but in my opinion, it’s worth every penny to not get hooked in the head.

Shakespeare Youth Hide-A-Hook

Shakespeare Youth Hide-A-Hook

Buy Now Disclaimer – I use affiliate links so I can keep buying fishing and hunting gear. I get a small commission at no additional cost to you.

6. Use live bait!

This will make sure they get some kind of action, whether that’s live worms, wax, worms, even bread.

The last time I took the kids out, we took we were fishing using some old bread that we had because the pond that we normally go to, the fish are used to eating bread. People will come, they’ll take their brand and they’ll throw bread into the water just to see the fish come up and bite it, need it.

So I would add some bait that would increase their chance of getting some action while we were out there. That’s very important because kids tend to lose interest very quickly, especially if they’re out there and they’re not catching fish. So if they’re not getting action within the first 10 minutes, your time with them on the water is starting to decline very quickly.

7. Keep it fun

Check in with them, make sure that they’re having fun and enjoying themselves. Don’t take it too seriously when you’re taking them out. Be super, super patient. They’re probably throwing rocks in the water and scaring off fish. That’s totally fine as long as they are having fun. So just be patient, keep it fun, keep it light.

8. Pack snacks!

It’s always a good thing to pack snacks and drinks. Especially on those hot days when the sun is really hitting hard. If your kids are thirsty they will let you know. Do yourself a favor and pack their favorite snacks or even bring lunch!

9. Bring a towel

You never know when they’re going to get their hands dirty and you need to wipe them off. Fish slime, goose poop, whatever it is you can at least clean them off. I have forgotten to bring one a few times, and every time I’ve forgotten it, I’ve regretted it.

Bait Towel 3 Pack Gray Fishing Towels with Clip

Bait Towel 3 Pack Gray Fishing Towels with Clip

Buy Now Disclaimer – I use affiliate links so I can keep buying fishing and hunting gear. I get a small commission at no additional cost to you.

10. Know when to call it quits

And my last tip is to know when to call it quits. Kids will let you know when they’re not having fun anymore and that’s kind of your cue to start wrapping things up. Now, there are some things you could do, maybe switch off the bait and see if that helps you get the fish stirred up. I’ve seen is that as soon as they start to lose interest, if a fish comes up and starts biting on their lure, they start seeing that bobber dance. They’ll get right back in and they’ll get hooked.

But it’s always a good idea to know when it’s time to end the trip. The longer it goes on after they’re ready to go home, the worse it’s going to be. That’s when the tantrum starts to happen. yYou start to get frustrated. So when they let you know, hey I want to leave, I’m ready to do something else. It’s time to cut it and just pack things up and go on to do the next thing.

10 Tips for Fishing with Kids

So these are the things that I’ve learned along the way to make sure that everyone is having an enjoyable. If you have any tips feel free to send them to me on instagram! Also if you catch any fish with your kids tag me in the photos!

Ramon Contreras

Adult onset hunter and angler trying to learn new skills and making mistakes along the way.

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