PRO TIPS – January 2022

When children are catching fish, they are having fun!
When children are catching fish, they are having fun!

I love family traditions! I still can’t believe that my wife and I just welcomed our second baby boy just a few months ago and, as I reflect on my childhood, I can’t help but remember all of the special memories of time spent on the water with my family. Oh how I loved those Saturday mornings on the water (and still do)! Spending time on the water with those you love, especially the little kiddos, is such a sweet and valuable time! Today, I want to share a few tips to help you be successful on the water with young anglers.

First, let’s discuss safety. It is so crucial and lawful for the child to be provided—and wear—the proper life jacket while underway. One might consider having their child wear a life jacket at all times depending on their age and swimming ability, but nonetheless, wearing the proper personal flotation device (PFD) is key. I remember as a child, my dad and I both wearing our life jackets at all times. He wanted to make sure that he, too, practiced what he preached to me. All PFDs have a label that identifies for whom they are intended (child or adult). Please refer to for the current regulations regarding PFDs.

Next, remember to keep it simple! Children are great learners and as the teacher/adult, we need to remember to set realistic expectations. A Zebco 202 with 10 lb. mono can catch almost anything in our waters and are very easy to use. I have had countless young anglers catch redfish, trout, black drum and even snook and tarpon on a push button style reel spooled with 10 lb. mono! It can be done. Start with the basics and as your child improves, patiently teach them new techniques.

Take a kid fishing!
Take a kid fishing!

Thirdly and perhaps most importantly, CATCH FISH! Whenever I have young anglers on board, I try to always keep them busy catching fish. When kids are busy, they do not get bored! It’s that simple. A bent rod will keep a smile on their face the whole time. The best way to do that is to not worry about what you’re catching—as long as your catching. Stop at a local bait shop and grab some frozen shrimp, a pack of small hooks and a bag of split shot weights. Rig it, bait it and hold on! Everything in our waters eats shrimp. It’s the “Scooby Snack” of the sea! Kids don’t care if they catch catfish, pinfish or pufferfish, they just want to CATCH FISH! As parents, we should remember that when our children are catching fish, they are having fun and making great memories. And again, as they improve, begin to introduce them to other, perhaps more difficult to catch species and begin molding their skills.

Lastly, consider the amount of time you spend on the water. I typically recommend to my clients who are wanting to bring the whole family fishing, that anything longer than a half day (4 hours) can be a stretch for the young anglers. It is so important that the time together on the water is special and when they are ready, pack it up. As they learn and grow as an angler, they’ll want to stay longer. I know staying longer was always something I wanted to do! I still haven’t had enough of the chase and catch!

Until next time, tight lines!

Capt. Jonathan Moss
Go Castaway Fishing Charters
(407) 760-8593