“Tips for introducing kids to fishing”?

Each month I field a question from a reader and answer it as best I can, focusing on those inquiries and responses that I believe will be of general benefit or interest. I recently received this email from Frederick, who asks: “Any tips for getting a child interested in fishing?”

Good question. I have fantastic memories of my childhood, sitting for hours on my grandparents’ lake, catching one panfish after another on wiggling earthworms uncovered in their garden. Some kids have that natural passion for angling, and if anything, watering down their zeal is the challenge. But I’ve found that while most little ones are at least somewhat interested in fishing (and bright, lively fish, in particular), their attention spans are very limited. This is especially true of very small children. So, if getting a kid to love fishing is the goal, job one is to set aside any notions about hardcore adult fishing trips. Pack cold drinks and snacks, opt for bait over lures, protect them from too much sun, and set up in a cool spot where action trumps quality – that is, where they’re very likely to fish, even if it’s what you’d normally consider “trash” species. Focus on their experience, and limit the trip to an hour or two. As they get older, they’ll hang in for longer periods, fueled by their own interest. If a child sees you enjoying yourself, they’ll identify angling with fun, and you’ll be well on your way to developing a lifelong fishing buddy.

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