The 12th August marks International Youth Day, which is a great opportunity to teach your children something new! We, here at Angling Direct support and encourage many youth angling events such as the Fishing 4 Schools, Learn to Fish Carp Academy and Angling Projects to name a few. As part of Get into Fishing Month, Angling Direct also host a Get into Fishing Campaign for young anglers which you can find out more on the AD blog.
Taking a young one fishing with you gives you both not only some bonding time but is highly educational and stress relieving for the child or children. Fishing is surrounded by wildlife to learn about as well as tactics to pick up. Not only does fishing spark an interest in the habitat, water conditions and bait for the fish but the mechanics of using fishing equipment too! From tying knots to reeling in the line, there is plenty to learn!
In the spirit of International Youth Day, we here at Team AD thought we would give parents or guardians that are trying to spark an interest in fishing with their young ones some tips to consider before and when at the bankside or shoreline.
This can be research or verbally communicate either at the bankside of at home before your fishing trip. Getting children aware of the different fishing environments is the first big step to their angling adventures. You should cover locations such as lakes, rivers, ponds, tidal waters, bays, docks and beach to name a few. Not only what the environments are but the characteristics and fish species found at each one will help a junior or beginner angler understand the importance between them. This key information can be taught from an aquarium, books from the local library or in some fun fishing games.
We suggest for your first fishing adventure with a young one, to head to a lake that guarantees success. Lakes can be shallow, deep, warm or cold. There are many aquatic species at lakes that offer plenty of interest, just make sure to always supervise a child near water in case they take a dip!
A young angler is going to find it confusing what the difference is between all the freshwater and sea fish species they are likely to catch with you. Whatever fish you aim to catch with your young one, whether it’s a carp or a mighty wells catfish, make sure to tell them a bit about the fish first! A quick species check either of Canal and River Trust, reading a book or getting your youngster to do some colouring of AD’s species illustrations can help teach as little as the appearance of these fish to your junior and from there you can teach about each species behaviour and favourite baits!
Once teaching about fish species and environments is done, head on down with your young one to your local Angling Direct store which you can find on our store checker. Once instore, show your young anglers all the bits you and they will need for your fishing trip and explain what the tackle is used for. Angling Direct stocks plenty of rod and reel combos and whips kits to get junior and beginner anglers started, failing that, you can request that an AD team member helps you pick the best rod and reel set up for your child.
Remember it is not only the obvious rod, reel and bait that your kid will need to succeed but make sure to pick them up their own tackle box, some sunglasses a fishing cap and a pair of wellies to keep them safe and happy at the bank. If you do not have an AD store nearby remember to shop together using the AD website!
When wondering how to teach children to cast, consider teaching them some basics in an open space before hitting the water. Get your tackle, set it up and practice just casting plugs as long as it's safe to do so. It is all about the mechanics so once they are down, you won’t be wasting time at the water’s edge teaching casting and potentially spooking fish.
Lure, fly or bait, all need to be attached to your chosen fishing line and so why not bring your child in on this routine so they can learn a new skill? A proper knot will guarantee the security of your favourite lure so practice before heading to the bankside with at least one line knot type. You can check out some knot types on the AD blog or check out the video guides from AD’s Quick Bites. Grab a supple 10 or 12lbs mono line as this is ideal for learning.
Hunger can ruin anyone’s mood, especially a young one, so remember to pack a great lunch with plenty of drink to keep them fully energised for your session. Additionally, your child can help pack the tackle you are going to need. Not only is this teaching organisation skills but for most adult anglers the preparing to go fishing is an enjoyable and anticipatory exercise. Whether it is showing the youngster how you organise your terminal tackle box, to prep rigs or get your reels filled with line, involving them in this process can lead to having them take over this role later, giving them responsibility and saving yourself the time too!
When getting your young one into fishing, success does not need to be measured by how big the catch is. Adult anglers usually try to avoid multiple small catches as they aim for a trophy fish but when fishing with a junior, smaller is better. This is not just because they are easier to land in the net but a guaranteed catch and plenty of them are likely to spark far more interest than waiting for the whole session for just 1 big catch that they will struggle to even land.
Whether it is a bit of friendly competition set between yourself and your child or your junior has entered one of the junior angling events mentions above in this article, kids love a chance to win. Make fishing interesting by counting how many fish you are landing. For beginner anglers, you can always help with hooking the fish and count the fish they manage to get on the bankside. If your young angler really takes to the reel, Team AD also sponsor an event hosted by the Angling Trust and Canal & River Trust Angling called the National Junior & Youth Individual Canal Championship every year, with the competition being open to any junior match angler!
Us adult anglers can easily spend a few hours if not a couple of days at the bankside fishing but for kids, small intervals of fishing tend to be better. Once you have a couple of hours of catching some fish it may be time to call it a day as you always want to leave you junior wanting more than wanting to just return home. Leave on a high note, with a fish always on the final cast.
Fishing with your child or children makes great memories so make sure to capture them! Anglers pack a camera anyway but make sure you take picture of your kid with their catch and they can be your fishing photographer too! Bonus! You can even upload your catches and tag Angling Direct’s social media accounts, whether you upload to Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, we would love to see your young one’s progress.
We would also like to remind you that if you are under 16 you are entitled to the Free Whip Kit that is available in our AD stores only as long as you fit the T&Cs. Contact your local AD to find if they have some free whip kits into stock and head on over! Whips are perfect for youngsters and you can find out more in our Get into Fishing Promotion article.
We hope these tips come in handy to new or little experiences youth when fishing but if you are hungry to teach your kids more about angling, head over to our Youtube channel for an abundant amount of video beginner content or check out our beginner and buying guides on the AD blog.
Happy International Youth Day!