IT'S REEL FUN! FREE FISHING WEEKEND JUNE 11 & 12
Kids are long on excitement and short on patience, so to keep their attention, if you want to take kids fishing, it's important to get fish on the line fast and often. Fishing can be a highly technical hobby. The choices in rods, reels, bait, lures and lines can be mind-boggling. When you're fishing with kids, though it's important to keep it simple and keep it light. The less time you spend fighting equipment, the more time kids will have for fighting fish on the line.
Need an event to get kids started? Try Free Fishing Weekend! June 11 and 12.
Free Fishing Weekend - Get your kids and family fishing during this free weekend of fishing and events, such as fishing derbies, clinics, fishing cleaning and cooking classes hosted around the state (DNR Division of Fish and Wildlife ADA Coordinator at 317-232-4080).
Indiana adult residents do not need a license to fish this weekend and kids under the age of 17 do not need a license at any time. Although no fishing license is needed to fish public waters on Free Fishing Weekend, all other fishing regulations are still in effect.
Light line, small hooks and small floats can help you put some excitement on the end of the line fast. To kids, the size of the fish is not as important as the frequency of catches. Kids tire quickly - and often give up - while waiting for lunker bass to bite. Most kids would rather pull in 25 minnow-sized bluegills than wait for one trophy catch.
Combining activities can also help get kids hooked on angling. For instance, try making your own fishing rods from willow branches and a length of fishing line. Or find your own bait under rocks or in the weeds around lakes and streams. Make catching fish a learning experience and an adventure.
TIPS FOR FISHING WITH KIDS
Avoid the kid's stuff
A quality ultra-light bait cast or spin cast rod and reel combo is usually easier for kids to use.
Small hooks = big catches
Avoid hooks larger than size 10 (hook sizes run backwards - size 12 is smaller than size 10). Fish won't readily take large hooks unless they are feeding voraciously. Most of the time, a subtle presentation is needed to catch wary fish. Tiny hooks also allow small fish to "inhale" the bait, rather than nibble the bait of the hook. If a fish swallows the hook and you want to return it to the water, simply cut the line as close to the hook as possible and release the fish.
Lighten up your line
Light line will do the job, preferably 6-pound test line or less. Unless you're targeting monster catfish or marauding muskies, light line is your best bet.
Bag the big bobbers
Bobbers (or floats) are used to suspend your bait in the water and to alert you when to set the hooks. The harder the bobber is to pull under, the harder it will be to hook a fish. Small floats will help convince the fish to take your tasty bait and run. "Slip" bobbers work well for kids. Slip bobber rigs cut down on the amount of line needed at the end of the rod and are easier to cast. Small ice fishing bobbers can provide a light touch any time of year.
Sink it with shot
Sinkers help get your line down to the fish. They can also create "zero buoyancy." Ideally, you want your bobber to just barely float on the top of the water. Squeeze small BB-sized split shot sinkers onto your line one at a time until your bobber easily sinks from the weight. Since there is very little resistance when the fish takes the bait, it is more likely to bite the bait and run.
Great big gobs of worms won't do
There's no need to use whole whopping-big, writhing night crawlers on your hook. Keep the bait approximately the size of your hook. Live bait such as worms, beemoths or crickets work best. Cut the bait to fit your hook.