“Catch your children a fish and they’ll eat for a day. Teach them to fish and you’ll feed them for a lifetime.” Cast a rod into one of the many beautiful lakes and rivers across the US and you will teach your children a valuable outdoor skill. It’s also hugely enjoyable too. Fishing is a wonderful, relaxing and fun outdoor activity to share with the whole family. And an exciting adventure for children. But while planning a fishing vacation might be focused on fun, you also need to show them how to enjoy a safe fishing trip.
Your main concern when it comes to young family members and fishing safety should be the hooks. Children may not necessarily understand how sharp and dangerous a hook can be. Therefore, take some time to explain that hooks are very sharp and the importance of handling them with extra care. You must also teach your children about how to handle their tackle properly. Tackle, especially lures and hooks, should never be left lying on the ground. When it’s time to cast, ensure no one is close enough that they could be hit. Show your family how to hold lures carefully, especially if they have multiple hooks.
Hygiene and First Aid
It’s particularly important to demonstrate good fishing hygiene practices to younger family members. For example, after handling a fish, remember to always clean and sanitize your hands. First aid kits should also be considered a crucial part of your fishing kit. Make sure your kit is regularly checked and replace anything that’s been taken out and used. A good first aid kit should contain at least; bandages, antiseptic, disinfectant, pain reliever and anti-inflammatory medicine.
Water and Weather Protection
Never leave children alone or unsupervised near water. Small children should always wear a properly fitting personal flotation device (PFD), such as a life jacket, when around water. If you’re using a boat, be sure that all the family understands basic boating safety too. When it’s sunny, always use a good quality sunscreen and protect your eyes with sunglasses. When it’s wet weather, wear waterproof clothing and bring along an umbrella, rain boots, and a dry change of clothes. On a chilly day, bundle up in your favorite coat and hat.
Barbless hooks are the best option for young anglers. These are much safer and easier to remove if someone, particularly a child, get snagged. While they are normally used for bait fishing, barbed hooks can be bent slightly if a child does want to use them.
Float, Line and Tackle
Whether you and your family are fishing from shore or a boat, it’s probably safer to throw the float and line for your children. But if you are keen for them to do things like that themselves, it’s worth investing in a child friendly tackle. These are specifically designed to be used by children.
By just taking a little extra care and making sure the whole family understands the rules that accompany safe and responsible fishing, you can ensure that you all have a wonderful first fishing trip together.