Fishing - Getting Started
Basic information for people who have never fished before from young kids through to teenagers such as researching on the Internet, visiting tackle stores and practicing casting at home.
FISHING / GETTING STARTED
Feeling the first tug of a fish on you line is one of life’s great experiences and if your kids have never been fishing, then here are some easy and fun ways to get started. If angling is your thing, then lovetheoutdoors also has advanced sections just for you.
NEVer fished Before?
Don’t worry, it is really quite simple and it doesn’t matter at all if you don’t know the first thing about tying a knot, setting up a rod, putting on bait or even holding a fish.
Firstly you will need to get a simple rod and reel or even a handline and some equipment (see gear), the good news is you don’t need to spend a fortune. For the cost of a family movie ticket, you can get everything you need and this will provide endless entertainment and outdoor fun (much more than a 90 minute movie).
Depending where you live or perhaps a holiday destination you are visiting, the location will determine the type of fishing you do or species you can catch (see locations). Even though the destination may change, the principles of fishing remain the same and your gear can be used universally.
The easiest place to start fishing is somewhere with calm water such as a lake, slow moving river, protected beach or jetty. This way you can fish with small rods and light gear as opposed to bigger equipment such as surf rods, which may require a little more skill and strength.
Take a look at the ‘how to’ section to learn the basics such as setting up a rod, tying an easy knot, attaching bait or a lure, casting, catching and releasing fish. These are really easy step-by-step instructions for Mums, Dads and kids who would like to give fishing a go.
No age Limit
Toddlers can begin to wind a reel with support from adults and although their coordination is growing, the thrill of catching a fish, touching its skin or watching it swim off again is a highlight for them. Even as babies, my boys would accompany us on fishing expeditions, whether it be sleeping and watching from the pram, or in a child-pack on my back, they loved being part of the action.
Children are great teachers and when I thought our youngest, at three-years-old was too young to cast his own rod, he was quick to show me he could do it all by himself (as they do). He was actually right and at four-years-old, he became a very proficient caster and could catch fish independently, although we would bait his hooks, attach lures and release his fish.
The younger the children are, the more organised you need to be and you may need to take a little extra gear but most of all, be extremely vigilant around water (see safety). Fishing is a great excuse to get out of the house and do something different.
Research & Education
Use the Internet, there is so much information available on weather, tides, where to fish and how to do it. Research and involve your kids in the process as they are learning too. You might watch videos on casting lures, someone catching a particular fish or the types of rigs, bait or lures which work best for the locations you are fishing.
Get them to look in books or help them find pictures of the types of fish found in that area and how to catch them. Books are also great for inspiration as to places to go or different species of fish to catch and knot books are helpful if you are like me and keep forgetting how to tie a particular one.
If you have a fish identification book, take it with you and see if the kids can work out what fish they catch. Even a two-year-old can enjoy looking at pictures of fish and habitats in books.
Always take a fish ruler or sticker with you particularly if you are considering keeping your catch. Fish ruler stickers are free and you can generally collect one from your local tackle store. Different states and locations vary as to the size of species so make sure you adhere to the regulations, as they are there to protect our fish stocks for future generations. Even if you don’t plan on keeping your fish, it is interesting for the children to learn the correct way to measure a fish, see how big their fish is and what the legal size is (if there is one) before you are allowed to keep it.
Visit your local fishing store
Tackle shops have a wealth of knowledge and expertise about gear, bait, lures how to get started and most importantly, they always know what is being caught and the best places to go.
I always make a point of chatting with my local store and when we go on holidays, I always drop by the local fishing tackle store and see what is happening in the area.
Tackle stores can give good advice on what is biting at the time, how to catch it, the best time to fish or provide tips on things to do or what to watch out for. If you are ever stuck on how to tie a knot or to put a fishing rig together, then always ask, as they should be able to help you.
PRACTICE AT HOME
Kids can learn to catch and perfect their technique in the back yard or even the park. I often tie on an old lure or soft plastic with the hooks off but you can use anything like a small plastic toy and tie it onto their line.
I draw a target on the concrete or sometimes put a bucket down on the grass for them to aim at. Just make sure if you have a couple of kids, get them to stand well apart from each other. It is amazing how many times they seem to get their lines tangled with each other or on the roof of the house.
This is a great way for them to perfect their technique and once they start improving, move the target so it encourages them to cast further and be precise.