James Murray

James Murray

Little cost to get kids fishing

Fishing season will soon be upon us

James Murray

Columnist

Spring is here at last – well sort of.

Ice will soon be off most Interior lakes and the start of fishing season will be upon us. That also means yard and garage sale season will also soon be in full swing, providing opportunities to pick up some pretty decent used fishing gear – more specifically, opportunities to pick up gear for young anglers who are just getting into fishing. The thing is, whether buying new gear or searching for bargains at yard sales, it doesn’t really cost that much to get kids into fishing – a rod and reel, a tackle box, some lures and a few odds and ends.

When you do go to buy a rod and reel for a child, regardless of where, buy something you would be willing to use. You should be able to buy a good quality new rod and reel for around $50 to $60 that will cast properly and stand up to use. Don’t buy one of those cheap, all in on, package deals with a picture of some cartoon character on the side of the reel. They are junk and a waste of money. You are better off buying used gear.

Every kid should have their own tackle box. A simple plastic, two-tray box does not cost a lot. There is a real sense of ownership that comes with having your own tackle box with all your own lures in it. Again, you can often find tackle boxes, more often than not with lures in them, at yard sales.

Once you have obtained a rod and reel for a child, before you head out fishing, take them to a field somewhere and let them practise casting. You can buy rubber practice weights at most tackle stores.

All they need remember is finger, line, bail, cast and release.

To start them off casting, have them slip their first-finger under the line and lift it up so that the line is pressed between their finger and the cork of the reel seat. With their free hand, they should get used to cocking the bail (that loopy thingamajig that helps wind back the line) back on the reel before arching the rod forward through the air. Finger, line, bail.

Explain that the key to casting is releasing their finger from the line just before the rod tip points to where they want the line and lure to go. Finger, line, bail, cast and release. It takes some practice, but, before long they will have the practice weight sailing through the air smooth as can be. Be patient and tell a child not to worry about how far they can cast at first. It’s more important they get the hang of casting smoothly and accurately. And don’t get too technical with kids. They just want to have fun. As long as they can cast their line out into the water far enough and in the general direction of where there might be fish, they will be content.

As far as any other fishing gear necessary for children is concerned, the only other things required are a lifejacket, a wide-brimmed hat and maybe a pair of polarized sunglasses. Whether fishing from a boat or along the banks of a stream, each child should have, and wear, a weight- and size-appropriate lifejacket. A wide-brimmed hat will provide protection from the sun and, upon occasion, protection from any hooks that might go zinging past an ear.

When kids go fishing, quantity, not quality, is the name of the game. All they’re really interested in is catching fish. They don’t care what kind of fish, they just want lots of fishing action. Quite simply, kids would rather catch a whole mess of small fish than one big one. When kids do catch fish, let them make the decision, in their own time and on their own terms, as to whether or not to keep the fish or release it back into the water. When planning a fishing trip with kids, it is also a good idea to plan your first couple of trips relatively close to home, less traveling time and more fishing time.

No, it doesn’t cost all that much to get kids into fishing, and regardless of how much or how little you end up spending, the price will be well worth it when you get to watch your kids have fun catching their first fish.