The Fish Nerds Present, Dad's Guide to Fishing With Kids!




About: I'm just a regular guy trying to do extraordinary things. In addition I produce a weekly podcast, write and garden. I love to look at piles of crap and make that crap into something useful, useful crap.

We love to fish and we have families, so that means during our epic quest to catch and eat every kind of freshwater fish in New Hampshire sometimes we have to fish with kids. This article can be used a as your guide to fishing with small kids.

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Step 1: Get Over Your Ego

The first and the hardest thing for a die hard angler to do is leave your ego at home.  Don't plan on catching any fish yourself.  We know this is hard but if you want to have a good time, check your pole at the door. The goal here is to instill a love of fishing on your kids, so make this about them. Get them fun fishing poles, and neat looking gear. Involve them with choosing hooks, bobbers and bait. Even better, have them dig worms in the yard before you go.

Step 2: Choose the Right Spot

Pick a spot where lots of fish live. We usually choose really small ponds or rivers and make sure we pick a spot where we can see the fish. Another thing to look for is other things to do at the spot. Is there a playground near? If you are canoeing is there a really cool sandbar or beach to play at?  We fish a lot with 5 year olds who have the attention span of gnats so there has to be other things to do. We are fans of fishing with kids in weird spots, like neighborhood construction ponds, you'll be surprised how many fish live in tiny waters.

Step 3: Pack Snacks

If you are a dad taking your kids fishing, pack snacks that mom won't approve of! If you're a mom pack what dad would pack. Hungry kids can ruin your trip, so have snack handy at all times. When your kid gets grumpy, shove some junk food in his mouth and you've increased your fishing time by half and hour!

Step 4: Take Lots of Pictures

The little fish you catch might not seem like a big deal, but a few snapshots hanging on the wall will encourage your kids to ask to go with you again. So take a lot of pictures and make a big deal about your kids, show them how proud you are.

Step 5: Make a Big Deal About Small Fish

Give up on catching a salmon or large bass, go for a large volume of small fish. That means small hooks, and bait. It also means your kid will be catching a lot of fish. Kid love this!  Pumpkinseed sunfish, yellow perch, golden shiners and fallfish are beautiful and always make kids smile.  Once in awhile you'll see a large fish hit tiny bait, so that will stoke the fishing fire for you.

Step 6: Teach Them Stewardship

Even though we're on an epic quest to eat every kind of freshwater fish in New Hampshire when we're fishing with kids it's a catch and release experience. Show your kids how to be gentle with the fish, how to properly release it and thank the fish for letting you catch it. Don't leave worm containers or garbage on the shore and if you see garbage pick it up. Be a good example and your kids will follow.

Step 7: Quit While You're Ahead

You have to stop fishing when the fishing is good and the kids are in good moods. This is the hardest part, but ending the trip on a positive note will make your trip memorable and your kids will remember all the fun they've had. So learn to recognize when your trip is over and get while the gettin's good.

Now for the really good news! Now that you’ve taken the kids out for a while, you’ve earned fishing credits. So while you’re reveling in the glory of a successful kids fishing trip, take advantage of the good mood and have your wife take the kids for a while so you can do some serious fishing and get the big one! Happy fishing and if you want to follow our quest visit or share some pictures of your kids fishing on our facebook page.

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    10 Discussions


    6 years ago on Introduction

    My kids love fishing. We have such a great time on the water and dock. The excitement in their eyes when they reel in a fish is priceless.


    6 years ago on Introduction

    I tried fishing with kids once - - they kept getting out of the water so I never did get a bite.

    : -)

    1 reply

    7 years ago on Introduction

    This is such a great instructable! My husband & I love fishing, but we have kids to manage too. All of these tips are very useful & on point! The problem is once the kid trip is done, we BOTH want to go catch the big one! :)


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks for sharing, great photos and advice...wish I had taken more photos but your instructable brought back a lot of fond old memories.

    bobby sissom

    7 years ago on Introduction

    the junk food idea helps me stay out a while longer as well, love the story and the kids pics really rock

    1 reply
    Fish Nerdbobby sissom

    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks Bobby and we're glad you "liked" or facebook page too..

    Junk food is the key to fishing with kids, never underestimate the power of sugar!