Fun to see the excitement young girls and boys show when they first catch a fish. Then they want to catch another. And another. And pretty soon they ask, “Can I hold the rod / throw out the bait / put the worm on the hook / roll the line?”
So the first question about fishing is when should kids start fishing? The answer is as soon as you like, but probably between the ages of 2 and 4 when they have good control of their bodies and movements and can communicate fairly well. That’s probably closer to 4 than 2, and then they’ll have a little more attention, perseverance, interest, and patience. Ask yourself if the child can hold the rod when they catch a medium-sized fish.
And that leads to the question of when you can teach a child to cast. It depends. Maybe 4, probably 5, 6 years old. Most 5-year-olds can throw a ball, swing a baseball bat, and do other things that require motor skills. But skills and attitudes differ among teenagers of the same age. Some are bigger, stronger, more coordinated, or just more determined. Regardless of their age, if they want to go into your extreme patience mode and show them.
Here’s advice for anyone interested in learning how to teach a child to throw a fishing rod:
- Start with an appropriately sized rod. It should be small and light. What is small Thirty-six to 48 inches, maybe 5 feet if the boy is older. Use a children’s fishing rod instead of an adult fishing rod, or at least something that is light and small for adults.
- Just start with spinning or spincasting gear. The latter is an absolute favorite for children due to its ease of use. Basic spincasting equipment, however, won’t withstand a lot of salt water.
- Start with an under spinning reel on a spinning rod. Several companies make spinning reels, which are spincasting reels that have a line release trigger rather than a push button line release, and are mounted under a spinning rod handle rather than a spin casting rod handle. I started my children, nephews, nieces and grandchildren with such an outfit. It’s easy to master.
- Here is the most practical and helpful way to teach a child how to throw a fishing rod: practice on land in an open field first, and do not try to catch fish on the water. Teaching a child to cast on land gives them time, time, and coordination, and you can increase accuracy by giving them distances to reach (short start) and wide target areas to shoot.
- Set equipment for left or right handed use, whichever is appropriate. Let them do what they take for granted.
- Use practice cast plugs, which are aerodynamic rubber or plastic items with no hooks, to start and gain knowledge.
- After developing some skills, have them practice casting with something they will be fishing with but no hooks (like a float rig).
- Make sure the gear a child is using is in good condition, especially the cord, rod guides, and pulley functions. It’s annoying and daunting when the device is junk and / or hampers your efforts.
- Resistant to stress with constant reminders to look behind you when you are about to throw. At some point it becomes second nature.
- Once they throw on the water, work with them to control throwing around people on land or in a boat, around objects, and in closer spaces. You can’t always just sit back and shoot away, so always let her think about the circumstances.
After all, most young anglers don’t need a fishing license, they just check what regulations your state has. If you are an adult to accompany and help them, you may need a license even if you don’t fish. So check.