19 June 2008

Family camping hack: Take 'em fishing!

Jon's camping hack: fishing!

Buy a few rods for $20-40 at a local Walmart. If you don't know how to fish, Kids Turn Central is a good place to start. To add to the fun, cook up your catch for a shore lunch!

I've you've got tips for taking kids fishing for the first time, add them in the comments! We're taking my kids fishing for the first time this year, so I would love any advice y'all have to offer. (My son, the vegetarian, is totally fascinated by fishing. Go figure.)

Related:
Family camping tips? Send 'em in! (Good tips in the comments of this post)
More family camping tips at Parent Hacks

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Don't forget to check your provincial/state fish and gaming regulations. In Ontario, everyone over 18 requires a license to fish. Be safe, you don't want to be fined in the middle of your vacation!

A couple of relevant links:

About Ontario Fishing Licenses and The Outdoors Card: http://outdoorscard.mnr.gov.on.ca/english/oc_initial.asp?tid=&s=49

Ontario Family Fishing Weekend: http://www.familyfishingweekend.com/FishInfo.cfm?A=License

It may be a good idea to learn how to remove a fishhook from someone, just in case. Also, keep a pair of pliers, some antiseptic, and bandaids in your fishing kit.

http://www.aafp.org/afp/20010601/2231.html

Never try to remove a fishhook from someone's eye, btw.

I think, when fishing with kids, it's a good idea to just use simple, single barbed fishhooks, and not multiple barbed ones or those evil three barbed ones. I'd rather let a couple get away than risk having to remove something that is engineered to be difficult to remove from my kid!

Amy @ http://prettybabies.blogspot.com

We got my youngest a pole with a "practice" fish on the end (he is three) and he will cast that and reel it in for a long time, and we don't have to deal with a hook, or bait or anything.

I would have to say that a stocked pond which is full of fish and you pay by the pound is a great place for younger kids. It keeps things exciting. I remember as a kid where we would fish for hours and only catch two fish and 3 nibbles: boring!

Don't use barbed hooks when fishing with small kids. Use a file to remove the barb or smash the barb with a pair of pliers.
Buying a package of snelled hooks and removing all the barbs is a great place to start.

Also helpful to have a kid specific tackle box with only barbless equipment.

Don't try to remove hooks from fish if the hook has been swallowed. Cut it off as close to the hook as possible and start over. Kids end up with more than average number of swallowed hooks because they don't always react as fast to the bite.

Use small grubs instead of nightcrawlers. They are less mess and easier for the squeamish kid to get used to.

Aaahhh, yes: dad removing the barbed hook from under my fingernail...fond childhood memories...

And to clarify theclevermom's comment, in some states the adults accompanying children who are fishing must have a license, even if they're just sitting on the shore with a book.

for the truly squeamish kids (like me--I could never bear to hook an innocent worm or cricket) chicken skin is great bait--and it doesn't come off as easily as live bait, either.

Bring a camera!

Remember to explain to your child the purpose of the fishing expedition ie sport (catch and release) or food (catch and eat). My oldest child was very excited to participate in a local fishing competition with her dad...until afterward and reality set in. Yes you can catch fish, put it in a bucket with lots of other fish, name it, hold it and make plans for it...but it will go belly up. Somehow she had missed the part about the fish dying. She was upset for days and refuses to go fishing ever again. A lot of fish were killed and wasted that day in the name of fun....don't want to be the party pooper but I tend to agree with my daughter that there is something wrong with that kind of fishing. It seems to be yet another example of gluttony /wastefulness.

When we took our 1.5 year old fishing for the first time, we gave him a real pole, with a plastic Nemo tied to the end. He really enjoyed casting and reeling in Nemo. (He does this at home in the backyard too.)

We also use a shortened (i.e. broken) pole but a kid's pole would work just as well.

Also, minnow buckets are great fun to play in. We let him try to catch minnows all he wants. (We keep ours in a cooler so it's a pretty stable bucket.)

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