Can any of us at New Wave imagine where we would be if we had not got into fishing as a kid? Absolutely not. Fishing has been more than a hobby for as long as we can remember. It's a lifestyle; and has shaped us into the people we are today. We know there are a ton of benefits to getting kids into fishing! It teaches them real life skills in the outdoors and important soft skills; how to set and work towards goals, manage expectations, deal with disappointment, be observant to their surroundings, and how to break down complex problems into small manageable parts. On another note as long as kids are addicted to fishing while growing up they won't have any money or time to spend on drugs and alcohol!
While fishing has a number of benefits for kids getting them into it and keeping them interested can be difficult. To help all of you out that are thinking of getting into fishing with your kids we reached out to a local father and angler who's son is already hooked on fishing for some tips, tips, and things to consider when out on the water with your kids!
Tyler Stanley, his wife Michelle, and son Wesley are avid anglers on Georgian Bay. Wesley will be 2 in less then a month and already lives for fishing and going in the boat. He has had a fishing rod (ice fishing) in his hands before he could even walk.They recently competed in the Doc Rob Bass Classic and brought in an impressive 18 lbs 1 oz for 5 fish (Word on the street is Wesley caught all 5)! They are enjoying teaching Wesley this great sport and have kindly shared with us their tips and lessons for having a great day on the water while fishing with kids:
1. Keep it fun!
We have been putting old husky jerks without the hooks and old plastics into “Wesley’s Tackle Box” he loves sitting in the back of the boat when the fishing is slow and “organizing” his tackle.
2. Boat organization is key. Keep lots of open space and all the hooks and lures away to prevent any unwanted accidents.
3. PATIENCE!! This is a big one. Things can’t happen as quickly as you’d like with a little one on board. Don't expect to be even close to what you normally can or try to push the limits.
4. Diaper changes, naps, snack time all have to be remembered. Be ready to work this into your day and have all the necessary supplies to be able to stay on the water rather than head home! If they need a break let them have it. Nobody likes being forced to do anything especially a hungry and tired toddler!
5. Educate. We take the time to slow things down and show and “teach” while we are out. Make them the focus. Explaining lures and what we are fishing for. When catches are made, identifying the catch and getting a quick photo before a release are all necessary to keep them interested. We started slow as he was unsure about being up close to fish to start but not pressuring him and telling him it’s okay he has now but that all in the past! Turning the basic skills like casting into little games (farthest cast, closest to the dock or weeds, etc) are other fun ways to help them develop and stay interested the whole time.
6. Last would be to be aware of weather conditions at all times. Weather can turn nasty in a hurry on the bay and making sure we are avoiding the big roller days, opting to different routes or areas to fish puts everyone at ease and lets us focus on keeping Wesley fishing rather than boat control, getting wet, dropping things overboard, or losing your footing in the boat. On the other end of things is the sun! Having cover, wether it be a nice Bimini top or even just a big umbrella, can keep everyone cool and allows for longer days on the water.
At New Wave our main goal is to make it easy for everyone who wants to get into fish be able to do so. It is absolutely awesome to see the Stanleys out on the water enjoying our favorite sport and being able to compete in tournaments at the same time - talk about playing on the hardest difficulty! We thank them for taking the time to share their lessons with us and all of you and are confident we will see Wesley at the top of tournament standings in the not so distant future!
If you're looking to learn how to fish be sure to check out our Zero To Hero Fishing Masterclass. It has all the information you need to go from never picking up a rod to catching big fish like Wesley in no time!