Making lifetime family memories on the water is something that just can’t be beat, and what better way to make some of those memories than fishing with the kiddos out of your Starcraft boat? For some people, this activity can seem daunting. I got together with Team Starcraft Pro Fisherman, Greg Yarbrough and got some awesome tips and tricks for taking tykes fishing!
To start, safety , education, and engagement are key to a successful fishing trip with the kids. I know, I know, it feels like people are constantly harping on boat safety, but it truly is an important aspect that we need to teach the kids so that it just becomes habit. Did you know that on average, a child needs to be told something 200 times before it starts to stick with them? 200 times! That’s a lot of patience, and a lot of “don’t forget your lifejacket!” And the key to making safety and fun a part of the adventure is engagement.
1. Having the little ones wear a lifejacket can be a struggle; trust me, I understand! The complaints are endless: it’s not comfortable, it rubs my neck weird, it’s not cool, etc. But when everyone else on the boat is wearing one, kids become much more likely to feel comfortable with wearing it. Monkey see, monkey do right? In this case the answer will most likely be yes! It’s just like a seatbelt in the car, a kid often thinks “if dad doesn’t wear it why should I?” Once they become more comfortable with wearing them they’ll be more likely to be fine wearing it even when you’re not!
When talking with Greg, he brought up some great points that I don’t always think about because I’m on a smaller lake. But he fishes on the Great Lakes most of the time, and stresses that it’s very important to teach the kids how to navigate! Simple things like how to read a compass or gps, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west, even learning to read the sun! On larger bodies of waters, these kinds of skills are imperative for safety and the earlier the kids learn the more practice they have. Other important navigation skills include things like learning what different buoys mean and how to follow them, boatus.org
is a great resource for this.
3. Okay, now’s when you cast a line and the action starts! There have been many times when both Greg and myself have heard people complain that their kids don’t like fishing and don’t want to go with them. While that could be the case for some of them, I most certainly do not believe it in most instances. Engagement is key in any activity you introduce you child to! If they deem it “boring” they are automatically not going to want to do it again. So what can you do to avoid dooming future fishing trips with the kids? Make it exciting! My friend Pat from Bert’s Custom Tackle gave me some great insight on this one. Waiting all day to catch one big fish is boring for a kid, but catching lots of small ones? Bingo! Greg recommends keeping them in on the action by fishing for things like perch, blue gill, crappie, sunfish, or pan fish just to name a few! Hitting a lull? Fire up the fish finder and show them how to use it. It’s always exciting to learn how to use new gadgets, especially ones that show them what’s going on underwater.
4. Last, just have fun and don’t be afraid to change things up! If it’s hot and the kids are getting antsy, reel-in the lines and take a dip! Not all kids are the same, and most of them have a hard time staying interested in the same thing all day. Changing activities for a bit keeps them excited and more likely to want to do it again in the future!