The smiles will measure the success of the adventure. (Florida FWC Photo)
Breaking the Boredom During Shelter in Place
Practice COVID-19 guidelines while enjoying the outdoors.
Fishing can be very rewarding and educational for children, especially after they’re been housebound for a long time. Here are some tips for taking them along and introducing them to a sport they might enjoy the rest of their lives.
Just remember that everyone needs to practice social distancing from those outside the immediate household during the epidemic. They must also wash their hands anytime they touch surfaces outside the home that might be exposed, such as restroom doors and flush handles.
Announce the trip as an adventure. Show the kids where you’re going on a map before you leave the house, and ask them to help navigate. As you head out the door, leave behind the tension and take along a smile, an open mind, and a lot of patience. Your single most important goal should be to make it fun and safe. Don’t measure the success of the trip by the number or size of fish caught, but rather by having a fun, safe time outdoors.
Make that first trip with young kids on the bank, a shoreline adventure where you target smaller fish. It is much easier to give those first fishing lessons at a local park, farm pond, or a lake with a safe accessible dock. A gentle shoreline provides them a place to run and play when their attention span runs short with the fishing.
Knowing how to fish from shore will allow them to go on their own or with friends when they are old enough and provide a stepping stone to fishing from a boat. If and when you progress to a boat, be sure to have the proper safety equipment for you and your youngster.
Most kids prefer to catch lots of fish versus big fish. Start new anglers off on species that are plentiful and more easily caught, like sunfish or perch. Once the child has developed basic fishing skills, you can move on to larger pursuits.
Consider ever fish a trophy and take plenty of photos. If the first fishing experience is a good one it just might make an angler for life.
Enjoy the outdoors, stay safe and introduce your family to fishing as a respite from these tough times that require sheltering in place.
Note: These tips came originally from the Maine Division of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. This article was adapted from a story on The Fishing Wire. A full version can be read by clicking here.