How to reel in crappies, sunfish and unruly 5 year olds.

For quality time with your family, there’s nothing quite like spending a day at the lake together. It’s fun, inexpensive and a great way to instill a love for the outdoors with your kids. Here are a few quick pointers to help make sure your fishing outing is a success:

  • Get the right tackle.
    If you’re just starting out, spincast gear provides trouble-free performance so you can focus on fishing, not dealing with line tangles. Also keep in mind that younger, smaller kids can cast better with shorter rods.
  • Practice, practice.
    To help them get ready and build anticipation for the big day, set up a target in the backyard for a little casting practice with a soft plastic practice plug (available at most fishing retailers) or a light sinker.
  • Catch fish!
    This probably goes without saying but what we mean is this is about quantity not quality. Your kids will have a lot more fun reeling in panfish after panfish rather than waiting for a 5-pound bass to bite. So finding a well-stocked pond or lake is essential. Your local baitshop should have some good hotspots to share.
  • Show them the basics but let them learn by doing.
    Once you’ve shown them how to cast (or have done it for them), hand them the rod so they’re in control and can get the feel for detecting a bite and reeling in the fish. That’s the most exciting part!
  • Keep them engaged.
    Don’t plan on a marathon 8-hour day of fishing. Take them for a short outing and allow some breaks for rock skipping, swimming, enjoying some beach time, catching frogs – whatever keeps them happy and lets them enjoy the outdoors.
  • Don’t forget the essentials.
    Bring plenty of snacks, water, sunscreen, etc.
  • Keep the focus on them.
    YOU catching fish should be your last priority.
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