by Guest Blogger: AMFisH guy

Hi, fellow fishing enthusiast’s, anglers and AMFisHers!  This blog post is about how to approach taking your kids out fishing on Island Lake. They are the next future fishing generation and I enjoy seeing pictures all over social media of parents spending time with their kids in the outdoors and enjoying fishing, that is parenting done right if you ask me!  Promoting taking kids fishing has always been one of my key topics through my AMFisH blog and video series, which is why I always promote teaching the practice of catch and release, not polluting our waters with our garbage during a fishing outing and most importantly boat safety.  Fishing was such a great experience for me when I was as a young child and it’s a great activity to get your little ones involved in, as it exposes them to the great outdoors.

So where do you start when introducing your kids to fishing? It’s actually quite simple with the key focus needing to be remembering that we are dealing with little kids who’s attention spans can wander after several boring minutes, so doing things right from the very first fishing outing attempt is a big must.  For that first outing with the kids, I strongly recommend keeping the outing a short one, as you do not want to taint them from the overall experience. Will the kids want to sit on shore or in a boat all day long fishing? Maybe and maybe not, but it is not worth giving them that first bad experience. On your Island Lake fishing day I would suggest making it a fun day that includes more than just fishing, a short nature walk, followed by a short picnic and then ending it with a short fishing experience, all said and done I would keep it to under or around and hour or so. That hour will give you just enough time to have the kids expel some energy on a nature walk, they fill their stomachs with some fun snacks and end their day with possibly catching a fish from shore! If you are heading out in one of Island Lakes many rental boats, I would also suggest keeping the outings short ones as well, so renting a boat for a half day makes the most sense and also be sure to include several breaks throughout the couple of hours of fishing that day, by heading into the main dock area for bathroom breaks and some time for a short stretch walk.

Everything we do as adults should include some sort of aspect of fun and with the kids, the fun part needs to be at the top of the list. Here is an example of a typical first day of fishing with your kids, do not start the outing very early, mid day or later makes the most sense.  Also, try to pick the best weather day possible, a nice warm sunny day will do the trick as avoiding very windy and rainy days should always be a priority with the little ones. When it comes to getting ready for the outing it’s actually quite simple, as there are a few things to consider.  With so many fishing options on the market today, I would suggest getting your kids a fun fishing set combo, as it makes for a fun gift and they are very colorful sets which add to the excitement level by the little ones being able to enjoy their colorful fishing gear and in some cases their favorite television show characters that may be on the gear itself.  Kids fishing combo sets usually range from $19.95 to $29.99 and include a small fishing rod measuring 5ft or less, some baits and a tackle tray.  You can also build a fun set separately with your kids, which is also a good option as you can purchase a rod, and larger colored tackle box, that you can add some fun kid starter baits to as well.  Many of these sets come with a push button spincast reel, which is the simplest of reels to use. It’s basically a push hold cast and let go functioning reel, which kids can learn quite quickly. Building a fishing set can be a lot of fun and makes for a fun outing with the kids as well!

Spincast kids fishing rod sets:

Once you have the fishing gear purchased it’s now all a matter of what else to bring on the outing for them.  Safety needs to be at the top of the list as it always should be, so a good fitting life jacket for the kids is always every parent should prioritize.  With having fun and colors playing such a big role in the experience, I would also include a small fold up chair with their favorite character on it, as well as packing their tackle box up in a fun way!  This would include a small ice pack on the bottom of it, their favorite sandwich, drink box, UV protection sun lotion stick, fun snacks like goldfish crackers and even a few jelly worms, keeping it fishing themed is a great way to go.  A good hat to protect their heads, sunglasses and a long sleeve breathable shirt are must items as well.  I have always also encouraged parents to pack a  waterproof disposable camera for the kids to use on the outing, this makes for some very fun pictures they may take while enjoying themselves, a must in my opinion!

When it comes to the fishing portion of the outing, the best and most fun fishing experience, especially for any first time fishing kids, is to use live bait!  It is the simplest method to having them catch their first fish and by using a float, sinker and hook setup it also gives them a job at keeping their eyes on the bobber when it moves and starts to sink when a fish bites.  Island Lake has a long stretch of shoreline that you can fish from and you do not have to walk far to catch small panfish, like rock bass, sunfish, and crappie, with a really good fishing area being right by the parking lot shoreline at the main entrance.  A dozen worms from the boat rental hut will do just fine for an outing, as it’s a simple bait option that fish will nibble at and eventually get hooked.  Keeping things simple is your best option, no need to get into more complex areas of fishing like using any of lures you and your child picked out from the store, those can be put off for another day.

Below is an image of a good slip bobber setup to use, that is really beneficial for shore fishing as the length of the casting line is kept quite short, as the bobber slides down to the hook before casting and once it hits the water the bobber floats letting the hook and bait slide down to the set depth of the bobber stopper, so snagging tree branches and bushes will be avoided due to the short amount of line let out.

Some fun starter baits for the kids are inline spinners like the Mepps and Rooster Tail series, as well as some scented soft plastic curly tail grubs, make a good choice as they are available in a lot of different colors and can also be tipped with some live bait when they are on the hook.  Just a few of these baits in their tackle trays along with a good pair of smaller pliers for unhooking the fish and a pair of rubberized gloves will make releasing any fish that are caught that much easier for you.

Mepps inline spinners – easy cast and retrieve baits that catch multi-species fish:

Rooster Tail inline spinners:

Fun pan fish soft plastic bait tray set:

By keeping things as fun and simple for the little ones, they will learn to not only enjoy their fishing outings but actually look forward to them! Hope you found this blog post helpful and may you all enjoy many memorable fishing outings with your kids!

The AMFisH guy…tight lines!

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