Take the Kids Kayak Fishing

Taking your kids kayak fishing is an exceptionally rewarding experience. It is one in which you must put aside some of your own big fish motivation and strive to inspire the same passion in your children that you’ve found in fishing. For me that has just as much to do with spending time as wetting a line.

Here are a few tips I’ve come up with during my adventures with my 4 and 2 year old daughters:

  1. Pick a Honey Hole – If you’re taking your kids fishing, take them to a spot you know will produce. They’ll have plenty of time to appreciate the contemplative side of fishing later. Right now it’s about action.
  2. Make it a Quick Hit – Cut the normal fishing time down to a quick mission, like 30 minutes to 1.5hours. Kids don’t have the same motivation to sit around forever just to get that one bite.
  3. Comfort is King -. My 2 year old will just sit between my legs on the deck of my kayak no problem. Her sister did as well when she was younger. But now my 4 yr. old wants a perch. Most fishing kayaks have a big front hatch. Pad it out some and let them sit there, facing you. It’s easy to start the tradition of hanging and talking when you’re facing each other.
  4. Put Away the Swimbaits – It’s time to downsize the presentation. Kids don’t need to catch a monster their first few times out. They just want to catch fish. I take my used up soft plastics and rip them into tiny pieces to use on my girls little jig heads. It works great.
  5. Double S – Bring snacks and sunscreen. Absolutely necessary. Every parent knows the importance of snacks.
  6. PFD, PFD, PFD – Strap a PFD on your child. I started wearing mine all the time so I wouldn’t be a hypocrite when I enforced the PFD rule on my kids. Now we’re all ready to float and I can stuff the pockets of my vest with snacks.
  7. No Pressure -. “I like going fishing with you daddy. I like when it’s just us out here talking about stuff.” Makes my heart smile. I want my kids to know that the fishing trip is only partly about the fish. The biggest gift is our time together.
  8. Give them a Job – My 4 year old loves to have a job to do. I employ her to help net the fish, and then she gets to hold my tournament identifier for me in the CPR photo. She loves it. She’s involved and playing a part. Your kids just want your time. Engage them.
  9. Be Patient – Whether it’s teaching them how to cast, or getting them to touch a fish, don’t force things. Keep everything fun and light-hearted.
  10. Kayak Kevin recently took a friend’s child out fishing. Kevin has spent more time in a kayak seat fishing than most anyone I know. His tip, No sudden movements.”

Appomattox River Company – PaddleVA.com