Hi Folks, Sharing the fun of fishing is how I have chosen to make my living during part of the year. It really is a joy to see how happy most individuals can become over the simple act of catching a fish. Seeing the surprised look on their face at having missed the strike and hookset, then comes that determined “set jaw” look to not fail again on the next drift, and finally to the quiet peaceful smile that shows when they finally do hook that fish and bring it alongside the boat, is what I frequently see on the faces that fish with me. Some guys are stoic, others so worried about losing the fish they tense up, and some genuinely gleeful. Women enhance their battle with screaming, talking to the “fishy”, or “OHs” and “OMGs”, or giggle uncontrollably like little girls. Even the “Joe Cool” teenager with his spotless baseball cap, shorts hanging off his butt, designer sunglasses and smartphone, throws all those social oriented image entrapments aside when hooked up, and excitedly screams “ I GOT ONE” ! ! Everyone reacts differently, but it appears that almost everyone acts a little less reserved and a little less ‘grown up’ when they are hooked onto a fish. That little kid in each of us is what I love to see.
Kids don’t need an expensive chartered boat to have fun fishing. They need action and intimacy. That doesn’t necessarily mean many fish frequently biting either, but they do need lots of involvement with them having “hands on” participation. Making a picnic lunch prior to the outing is hands on and adds to the build up. My son remembers us setting the alarm the night before as one of the more memorable parts to “going” fishing. Getting bait, wether it be at the bait store or digging your own, and a last minute stop on the way for a treat, maybe a candy bar, lollypop, soda or other other sustenance, all adds to the build up. My son, Taylor remembers the packaged apple or raspberry Danish pastry we would always bring. Make sure that you will catch something where you go. It doesn’t matter if its a trophy bass or a sunken log, but something will need to be landed to generate interest for the next outing. If you are fishing in the salt water, a trash fish such as a dogfish, a sea robin or a skate will be remembered far longer than the 34 inch bass you caught, because its different or “cooler” than the bass which is “regular”. If your headed to fresh water, go to a little farm pond where its secluded and private, to add to the intimacy of your fishing outing with your child. Remember, its not about the fishing, its about the time you spend with each other fishing and talking about dolls, puppies or the little league game, maybe even the bully at school or whatever that comes up. Here is a link to a touching fishing video my daughter sent me by country star Trace Atkins that shows what I mean. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IheODRwalEw
Ok now dry your eyes and read here, as I show you how to “hook up” and have a great fishing outing with your son or daughter for less than 5 bucks. This is great for the first timers and kids under 12 years old. Almost every town on Cape Cod has a public landing with a dock on it. As a kid I remember looking into the water and watching the minnows for hours. There are little ones, big ones, fat ones, skinny ones, school minnows, solitary swimming minnows, chubs galore. In addition, there are hermit crabs, starfish, jelly fish, horseshoe crabs, and occasionally a snapper blue, or the wicked looking blue crab all laying under that dock waiting to be explored. Go to the local fishing store and buy 12 feet of 6 pound test monofilament line and a few very small #16, or 18 size hooks. If they have a long shank version, get those. These hooks are usually used for tying dry flies for trout fishing, but we are adapting. To be on the safe side, buy a very small amount of bait, in case you cant find a clam or a mussel alongside the dock or pilings where you are going. BUT, getting bait can be an important part of the outing remember, so buying a clam or two is just insurance in case the tide is too high to dig a clam or you cant find a mussel or something. Once you have this stuff, tie a hook onto about 4 feet of this monofilament and a small loop on the other end. (to put on your child’s wrist)
You are only going to put on a 1/8th” to 3/16th“ piece of bait on just the point of that tiny hook. Too big a piece of bait and the minnows wont be able to get the hook in their little mouths. As you and your child sit on the dock just drop the baited hook into the water and watch it sink. It will very slowly sink down and as you watch it sinking, watch for the minnows to come and find it. If it sinks out of sight, lift it up and start over. Soon the minnows will fight over the little shred of bait you put on that hook and one will get hooked. The great thing is that your child will be able to see them coming, see and feel them hitting and fighting over it and feel them when they get on. That child will eventually move onto bigger targets, but the action of those 2-4 inch minnows will be a start of something good.
If there are crabs in the area, perhaps a chicken leg and a long enough piece of string to reach the bottom will be an added source of entertainment.
Have fun and teach a child of the ways of the outdoors.
Bruce & Marilyn S