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Teach a Kid to Fish

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Tip #6: Use live bait. Nothing catches panfish more consistently that live bait such as worms, nightcrawlers, crickets or minnows, and a primary goal of these first fishing trips is to catch fish in order to maintain a child’s interest in the activity. Live bait is also interesting for the child to touch and play with, which he or she should be allowed to do when the fishing gets slow or the youngster simply wants to do something else for a while.

Tip #7: Use a bobber. Nothing is as fascinating to a child as a bobber dancing on the surface, especially when the child knows what’s causing it. The bobber also provides some casting weight, allows the child to see and feel strikes, and keeps the bait up off the bottom in front of the fish and away from underwater snags.

Top #8: Take plenty of snacks and drinks, different kinds of bait for variety, and make sure you’ve got raingear, jackets to match the weather, and insect repellant and sunscreen if needed. You want the child to be as comfortable as possible during the fishing session.

Tip #9: Keep the first sessions short. When the child says it’s time to go home — go! You want these first trips to be remembered as something fun, and when the fun ends for a child, it’s time to end the fishing trip, no matter how well the fish are biting or how early in the trip it might be.

Tip #10: Talk to the child during the fishing trip. Talk about anything, remembering that these are important times for youngsters, who value their time with you (whether they show it or not) providing a perfect opportunity for both of you to share feelings about anything under the sun. You can discuss angling topics like conservation, fishing tactics, what makes a bobber work, or social subjects like what it takes to do well in school or get along with friends or siblings.

No matter when or where your fishing lessons take place, remember how important these times are to the child you’re sharing them with. Be patient, and keep in mind that if all goes well, he or she just might turn out to be your new best fishing buddy!

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