by Patrick Morrow
Fishing is a popular activity in Houston, but too often, young, would-be anglers are left on the sidelines. This is a shame, as most kids love to go fishing, and it serves as a constructive, healthy and fun hobby, which often lasts a lifetime.
But before you load the kids in the car and head down to the water, review the following tips and tricks to ensure your children enjoy the experience and have the best chance of catching a few fish.
1. Start them off with the right equipment.
Don’t just hand your child one of your old rods and expect him or her to enjoy using it. In most cases, your old rod will be too long, which will make it difficult for your youngster to cast and control. Instead, set them up with a 5- to 6-foot-long spinning or spincasting combo.
2. Target easy-to-catch fish and leave the exciting gamefish for some other time.
You may prefer fishing for bass, stripers or crappie, but these fish are often tricky for youngsters to catch. To ensure your youngster has a good chance at catching a bucketful of fish, target bolder species, which aren’t easy to spook. This means you’ll primarily want to try to catch bluegill and catfish.
3. Use real baits instead of artificial lures.
Artificial lures may be the go-to choice for experienced anglers, but kids will often find it difficult to use crankbaits, spinnerbaits and other complicated lures without snagging every tree and rock in the lake. Instead, set them up with a worm-, cricket- or doughball-baited hook. Attach a small float about 12 to 24 inches above the hook if you’re fishing for bluegill. If you’re hoping to catch catfish, swap out the float for a sinker.
4. Fish early or fish late but do other things during the middle of the day.
If you’re fishing in the spring, summer or fall, the temperatures during the middle of the day will likely climb above the comfort level for your kids. It’ll even cause most of the local fish to head for cool water and stop feeding. But you can avoid these problems by simply fishing early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
If you follow these suggestions, you’re sure to have a great day on the water with your child. Just try to keep things fun, and your kids will likely catch fish and remember the day for years. Don’t forget to pick up a fishing license before you go, so you can stay on the right side of the law (children under 17 don’t need a fishing license).