Fishing is one of the most common pastimes in the country and is a great outdoor activity for families. It’s not just the act of fishing itself that’s fun, but the time you spend with your loved ones, enjoying the outdoors, eating good food, and exchanging stories while waiting for your pole to signal a catch. If you love fishing as a hobby, then you probably can’t wait to take your child on their very first fishing trip.
If your child is finally old enough to tag along on the next fishing trip (to actually fish), here’s what you need to bring to make the day as fun and comfortable as possible:
First things first, get your child fishing gear appropriate for their age, size, and experience. Here’s a checklist of the fishing gear you need, but take note that you can share some of these items with your child if you already have them:
- Fishing rod
- Fishing line
- Floaters or bobbers
- Line clippers
- Snaps and swivels
Always remember to handle hooks, jigs, and other hazardous objects yourself. If your child is old enough, teach them how to use these objects bit by bit, but think twice before allowing them to use them on their own for their first fishing trip.
A life jacket is a must-have for children of all ages, even if they know how to swim. Always keep your child’s life jacket on, and don’t allow them to take it off until you’ve reached land.
To keep your child safe and comfortable while fishing, you’d want to dress them up in:
- Long-sleeved, sun-safe fishing shirt
- An appropriate hat
- Suitable footwear
- Thick, waterproof socks
Fishing can be a physically demanding activity, and all that rowing and casting under the sun will surely make you thirsty. To keep your child hydrated, buy them their own hydration pack and remind them to take a sip every once in a while.
Don’t forget to bring a high SPF sunscreen that is tried and tested on your child’s skin. You’re going to be spending a lot of time under the sun, and your child’s bucket hat will not be enough to shield their skin from UV rays.
Bring plenty of healthy, on-the-go snacks such as fruits, cut up vegetables, trail mix, sandwiches, granola bars, and whole wheat biscuits to keep your child energized throughout the day. Steer clear from calorie-dense foods with little no nutritional value like chips, soda, and candy. The last thing you want is a hyperactive child when you’re trying not to scare away the fishes.
If you’re fishing in a body of water near a wooded area, bring insect repellent to ward off the mosquitoes. Before you arrive, apply a generous amount to the exposed areas of your child’s skin.
Fishing can get pretty dirty, especially with children. Help keep their hands and faces clean by bringing a pack of wet wipes in your pack.
Please bring a small towel for your child’s hands and face, as well as a large towel to dry other parts of their body.
A cooler is essential for any fishing trip. It will keep your drinks cool while you’re fishing, then it can be used to store your catch and preserve its freshness for the trip home. However, if you’re fishing with your child, you might want to bring a separate cooler for your food and drinks.
First aid kit
Bring a first aid kit complete with all basics, such as essential medicines, bandages, antibacterial solution, gauze, tweezers, among others. Don’t forget to pack your child’s medication as well, if they have any. If your child is old enough, teach them basic first aid before going on your trip.
Children have short attention spans, and it can get boring while you’re waiting for the fish to bite. To keep your child entertained, look up some games you can play while you’re waiting. Of course, these games should not make too much noise to avoid scaring away the fish. Great examples include ‘I Spy,’ trivia games, guessing games, and so on.
It’s best to leave the electronics at home, too. Aside from helping you spend more quality time with each other, not bringing your child’s devices will protect them from potentially falling into the water.
A child will never forget the first time they catch a fish. If you want to give your kid the same experience you had (but even better), refer to this list when packing for your next fishing trip.