The following is a guest post by Melissa Cameron.
Spring time brings warm weather and with it the urge to get outdoors and explore. Winter has its place: there’s skiing, sledding, snowball fights, but spring and summer means hiking, fishing, boating and camping for our family. If you are looking for an inexpensive activity that has big impact with your family – go on a fishing trip together!
Cabin fever reaches the breaking point just about the time the robins start arriving in the yard. That means it’s time to start putting away the winter gear and breaking out the warm-weather goodies. Gather up the kids, pack the mini-van and head for the lake.
Family Fishing Fun
One thing spring means to us is fishing season. Around here, it opens at the beginning of April, just as the ice is melting off the lakes and ponds. My husband is an avid fisherman and his enthusiasm for the sport has rubbed off on both of our kids. Though still young, they already have lifetime licenses (courtesy of the State’s Fish and Game youth programs) and their own set of child-sized fishing poles. Fishing isn’t quite the joy for me as it is for Dave and the kids, but I get to enjoy being with them and helping with baiting, reeling in any catch and taking photos with the proud anglers. Best of us, I get a “free” ride in our rigid inflatable boat!
Fishing is not only fun for the kids (and for us), it is a sport that doesn’t have to be expensive. With today’s tough economic times, family fun that can be done on a budget is a win-win for everyone. Gear for kids and beginners can be found in almost any discount retail store and finding a place to fish is as easy as opening a map or checking the web. Almost everyone will live by a lake, pond, pier, beach or river that has fish. Licenses are usually inexpensive (and generally not required if you’re fishing in salt water) and while we do have a boat, boats aren’t necessary at all.
Starting with Simple Steps
We started taking our kids fishing when they were very young; I’ve read that that it’s the first few fishing trips that are crucial to a kid’s enjoyment. Fishing experts cite the need to “hook” a kid when they are young, and I agree. Children are our future custodians of our parks and wild lands; show them a good time in the outdoors, give them a reason to want to preserve it. Kids who only know nature through their Xbox games won’t have the same respect for our wild spaces as those who reap its benefits first hand.
Here are some tips we followed to introduce our kids to fishing:
- It’s best to start out at a time and place where fish are likely to be biting quickly. Check with Fish and Game to see when and where fish have been recently stocked and don’t worry about size. Action is more important.
- Keep equipment easy: rod and reel, a hook, a bobber, a sinker and a night crawler. Bobbers let kids have something to watch instead of just the water and will show them where the bait is.
- Don’t expect too much. Kids might get distracted and want to play instead of fish. The key is for them to remember the trip in a positive way, so keep it light and fun.
By starting off with low expectations and a high sense of adventure and fun, the kids gained confidence in their skills and were happy to learn, instead of getting frustrated and discouraged. Now the kids can’t wait to go fishing and we have a great way to spend a weekend trip or a day here and there, all without going very far away or spending a small fortune. Don’t forget the camera for that first catch!
About the Author
Melissa Cameron is a married homemaker and avid “fishing mom”. When she’s not having adventures with her family, she likes to share her adventures with others. She’s written for several blogs and has contributed to others, including inflatable pontoon boat reviews. Melissa lives in Austin, Texas, with her husband and two kids.