It has been a couple of decades and then a bit since I took my own kids fishing as little kids. I always loved to take them. Up to a certain age they loved to go. Then after a certain age they didn't. Now they do again, but now as adults who mostly want to spend quality time with their old man. I'll take that. I'd love to go fishing with my old man just one more time myself, I get it, I really do.
Yesterday I had the pleasure of refreshing those memories of taking my young kids fishing when I was talking to a young father of young children and he was telling me about taking his young kids fishing. It was the same story, told by a different dad, many years later.
The simplest most basic and most important thing to understand about taking young kids fishing is that you aren't going to be fishing yourself. You are going to be untangling line - you'll do a lot of that - you'll be baiting hooks, you'll be removing fish from hooks, you'll be teaching casting, you'll be answering one million questions...well you get the idea. And that's just one kid. Take two of them and you'll be super busy. If you try to fish too you'll just get frustrated. Don't even try. That's not the fun part of taking kids fishing anyway.
The second thing is that kids have short attention spans. If they aren't catching a fish within three seconds of putting their bait into the water, then they are reeling their bait in - sometimes so fast that the bait literally skips across the top of the water. Kids love to reel in fast, they love that a lot. And they get antsy even if they are catching fish at a phenomenal rate. It's best to think about keeping those trips to a short duration, then take them out for ice cream or something. They'll then look forward to the next time. If, on the other hand, you make them sit out there way beyond their attention span they won't want to go again. Don't make it a painful experience for them, make it a pleasant experience they want to repeat.
When I lived in Florida I loved to take my kids fishing on the piers. Here's the thing on that - you can fish about half way down the pier and let your kids go up and down the pier exploring, as long as they stay between you and the end of the pier. This of course means they have to be of a certain age, in my case they were 12 and 6. It's easy to keep an eye on them that way and you actually do get to fish too. They get to stretch their legs going up and down the pier. My kids loved catching Pilchards in the Pilchard rings too - that was fast action for them. And bait for me. I could fish for several hours before they got bored, I could see them all the time, and they had fish they could catch when they felt like fishing. It was good stuff all around. If you have an opportunity, give it a try.
That young father, you should have seen his face light up when he was talking about his kids and fishing, and how he loved to take them out fishing, and how he had learned quickly not to bother trying to fish himself. He was happy and proud and obviously loved his children dearly.
That purely warmed my heart it did. Sure brought back great memories.