With distractions of the digital age intruding on childhood play and time spent in nature diminishing, parents are increasingly facing a new challenge: Convincing their kids that there is a world outside of their screens.
Dun, duh, dun, dun.
(We’re only teasing with the doomsday tone, but the evidence that kids are spending less and less time outside is out there.)
Instead of demonizing technology (there are pros and cons) or telling you how to parent (we know better than that), we’ve decided to give some motivational advice in the best way we know how:
Introduce your kid(s) to kayak fishing this summer!
There are so many benefits to getting them excited to be outdoors from an early age, including lasting family memories, physical and mental health benefits, a lifelong appreciation for the natural world, and so on.
Here are 5 tips to prep you for your first excursion kayak fishing with your kid:
1. Gear Prep
Think minimalistic. While you may be an avid kayak angler with plenty of fishing accessories, your kid is going to be satisfied with the basics: a paddle and a fishing rod (and a PFD, of course). Less gear = a much easier and more enjoyable trip for everyone!
You may want to take them out in a tandem kayak for their first time kayak fishing. The age they’re ready to solo kayak varies depending on how comfortable they feel with it, but it’s safe to say 10 is a good average age.
2. Bring Back-Up Entertainment
Let’s be real, the majority of the time you spend on the water you’re not catching fish. As an adult, you probably greatly appreciate the waiting period. It’s valuable time spent away from the fast-paced nature of things on land. To a kid, it may spark boredom or restlessness.
Make sure you bring along some entertainment aside from the fishing rod. Water toys are a good idea for younger kids to play with on the boat. Older kids would probably enjoy taking a dip in the water on a warm day, so consider going somewhere you feel comfortable swimming.
And yes, snacks count as entertainment!
3. Ensure “For Sure” Catch
This tip also addresses the acknowledgement that the majority of fishing is not about the catch, but kids don’t really care to hear that over and over again no matter how true it is. They want action. They want rewards. And you’ll be rewarded when you see the look on their face as they make their first catch! If you want to get them hooked on kayak fishing (pun intended), you’re going to have to set it up so they feel motivated to stay out on the water. And that means you’re going to want to guarantee some catches.
How? Bring small hooks and a can of corn and you’re bound to get some bites. Remember: This trip is about your kid, not you. Your kid’s going to be stoked about catching even the smallest fish their first time.
4. General Safety Basics
Get them comfortable with kayaking in general by going on a few recreational paddles with them before going kayak fishing, or even just paddling around leisurely before taking out of the rods.
Make sure they’re aware of basic safety rules, like not leaning over abruptly to dip their hands in the water and what to do in case the boat flips (grab onto the hull). And please, please, please put their PFD (and your own) on!
Pick a location that’s easy to navigate, with no rapids or wake from other boat traffic. Try to go somewhere with still water and minimal boat traffic, like a calm river or a less popular lake.