1. Practice PFD safety
Job number-one is obviously keeping everyone safe, which includes keeping the kids in life jackets. Invest in well-fitted life jackets that they won’t mind wearing.
2. Stick with single hooks when fishing with kids
It’s just too easy for those treble hooks to snag people as well as fish, and that sort of incident can ruin the day.
3. Focus your angling efforts on quantity over quality
Sure, you and your adult fishing buddies may like to chase after the biggest lunker in the lake, but fishing for trophies usually means going for long stretches between bites. Kids have short attention spans and can lose interest quickly. So instead of hunting for Bubba, target quick biters like sunfish or crappie.
4. Liven up the livewell
If you have a Lowe fishing boat it probably has a built-in kid’s entertainment device: the livewell. Fill it up with minnow or drop in a couple little sunfish you caught, and let the kids use it as a touch tank under careful adult supervision—a great way to also teach young kids to respectfully and gently handle aquatic life.
5. Don't push your luck with the weather
Pick your days according to the weather, and if it’s likely to be marginal, keep your powder dry for another opportunity. It’s too easy for a kid to be turned off to fishing by cold, wind, and rain, so don’t even risk it.
6. A full stomach = a focused mind
Bring along a big bag with plenty of the kid’s favorite snacks. Nothing keeps a kid on a boat happier than yummy snacks!
7. Use the experience as a teaching opportunity
This is your chance to introduce the children to the natural environment and the creatures living in it. Engendering a love of nature will help them develop a close connection with it.
8. Get them decent fishing gear
Too many young anglers start off with a cheap rod and reel that tangles up the line or breaks quickly, which can be extra frustrating for a kid with big fish ambitions. Look for something they can use for a few seasons should their first outing spark a new passion.
9. Have a backup plan if the fish aren’t biting
Take note of nearby beaches where they can go for a swim, bring along a tow-toy, or stash a kite aboard the boat. If the fish don’t cooperate and the kids start showing signs of boredom, switch activities to keep them occupied and try fishing again later.
10. Plan for a short day
Extended fishing trips run the risk of burning the kids out, and children tire quickly. As any parent can attest, a key part of avoiding melt-downs is limiting activities to an appropriate timeframe. Just what that is will vary by age and by child and you probably know better than anyone else how long your kids’ attention span is. So, adjust the schedule accordingly.
Above all else, whenever you take children fishing put the priority on having fun. As long as everyone has a smile on their face at the end of the day, they’ll want to come back for more.