Want to show your kid a good time fishing, and prove it’s better than staying inside? It’s not as hard as you’d think.
We’re all looking for more time to spend doing the things we love, and if you’re reading this, then getting outdoors is likely high on the priority list. In particular, spending time with your kids, and passing on the appreciation of something as great as fishing, is crucial to many parents.
But it’s become a losing battle. When you’re fighting against video games, tablets, YouTube, SnapChat, and those phones that are attached to everyone’s hands, it’s almost impossible to register a win.
Not all is lost, and there are still ways to convince a kid (even a know-it-all teenager) that a day fishing can beat a day in front of a computer. Doubt it? Then keep reading.
1. Nature trumps technology any day
Yes, we’re starting out with a bold statement, and one that might take some convincing. But, when it comes down to it, there is something about the way Mother Nature works that outweighs the amazing technological advancements we’ve made over the last several decades.
Turning over a submerged river rock to find out what kind of creatures are hatching, and therefore being eaten by fish, is a science class in itself. Witnessing wildlife (you know, those animals and plants that you’ll never see in person from your couch?) can be an incredibly awe-inspiring experience.
And above all, seeing a plan come to fruition while fishing is largely a result of joining and understanding the natural world. You can literally become a part of an ecosystem and have a fantastic time doing it.
2. All that computer time can wait
This is obvious to someone who has an inkling of smarts, but that dreaded “FOMO,” or “Fear of missing out” (it’s what all the kids are talking about these days), can hold a strong grip.
There’s no easy way to do this, but if you can squeeze even one hour out of a kid, especially a preteen or teen, and take them fishing, they’ll quickly learn that they didn’t miss anything by being away from their laptop.
Perhaps a mini bribe is in order for the first time or two, but we’re betting that once a kid reels in a big one on his or her own rod, they’ll realize how fun fishing can be.
3. Attach a game or competition to it
This can take two forms: a fun, no-real-winner type game for younger ones, and a legit competition for older kids.
If you’re fishing with little guys and gals, try teaching them the names of the fish or the bait, and quiz them on the different types. Have them aim for certain things when they cast, and then try to get closer to their target on the next. Play “Next person who catches a fish drives the boat,” and let really young kids sit on your lap while you move to the next spot.
If the kids are older, play tournament-style games with time limits. If you have a scale you can go by weight, or just by sheer numbers. Maybe even limit each other to the type of lures and bait used, so that things stay nice and interesting.
If there’s an objective beyond just “catching fish,” there might be a better chance of hooking a lifelong angler. Maybe it’s not Pokemon Go, but it’s something.
4. Use tech to your advantage
A kid who keeps their nose in a computer or phone all day likely has at least a hint of techie to them, and they might even be a flat out junkie. How can someone so gadget-oriented ever enjoy fishing? By learning how far fishing tech has come, that’s how.
Spinning and baitcasting reels are mini computers themselves, with so many intricate moving parts that it’s almost like you need a robotic engineering degree to take one apart.
But if that’s what it takes to get a science and tech kid interested in fishing, then by all means, give them your reels and let them take them apart. You can always resupply when the time arises.
5. Explain the importance
Sometimes the biggest struggle a parent or older person has when it comes to kids is understanding each other’s perspectives. A young, naive preteen can think they have it all figured out, but older, wiser folks with more experience can often see through that.
But it’s important to remember that, especially when they’re your own kids, young people respond to respect, compassion, and gestures of equality. By being honest and straightforward, a dad could explain to his young son how important it is to spend time fishing together. It was important when he did with his father, and it’s important now.
You might be surprised, even at young children, when they shift gears after hearing an explanation and request like that. By speaking to a young person as though you’re speaking to anyone else, you might just find that you’ve had the ability to convince them to go fishing all along, you were just going about it the wrong way.
The biggest thing to remember is that you can’t force kids to enjoy something like fishing. It’s going to come naturally to some, others will need a little push, and still others might just find that it’s not for them. No worries, at least you can stir up some ideas on how to get them to at least try.