My kids, like most children, have short attention spans. They'll be little angels for 15 maybe 20 minutes, if they're watching fireworks. But the second those bombs stop bursting in air, they'll be back to fussing, usually about nothing, which is standard for youngsters their age.
So on a recent fishing trip with my pal, Captain Carlos, when the fish we wanted to catch refused to play along we found a species that would - catfish.
A bad day turned into a great adventure.
So with that in mind, following are my Top Ten Tips for fishing with kids:
#1 - Keep it simple. Use rods and reels that are easy for kids to use. Or even better, short cane poles are perfect because they can do everything themselves.
#2 - Pick a species that will cooperate. Don't try to catch a sailfish. Pinfish might be a better choice the first time out.
#3 - Always use small hooks and tackle; they will catch more fish.
#4 - Make the outing short, two hours tops. Youngsters have a short attention span, and overdoing it will lead to boredom, then frustration on both ends.
#5 - Plan a trip where you know the kids can catch fish. Go to a lake or pond where they can catch bream or catfish or to a shallow grass flat in the bay so they can catch pinfish.
#6 - Fishing should be a pleasure. Don't sweat the little stuff like tangled lines. Stay upbeat no matter what, even if the boat's on fire.
#7 - Pack the cooler. Bring plenty of their drinks and snacks to keep them busy when the fish stop biting.
#8 - Don't be the boss. Let them bait their own hooks and unhook the fish (when appropriate) and only if they want to.
#9 - Keep it visual. Use a bobber or float. That will make it easier for them to see when they hook a fish. .
#10 - Have a back-up plan. If the fish are not biting, come up with another game, such as "Let's play Count the Seagulls."
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