Do you remember… lazy summer afternoons, hanging out on the bank of a favorite pond, fishing with worms and joking around with your best friend? Those were the days! Can your children have this same kind of laid-back experience? Definitely. In fact, fishing is one of the best ways to spend time together as a family and create lifelong memories. We all long for those simpler days of no commitment other than catching a fish; you can relive those times by simply going fishing.
Fishing with kids is simple. You just need a place to go—there are thousands of fishable lakes, ponds, and streams in New Hampshire, many of them right in the neighborhood—and a little bit of gear. An inexpensive rod-and-reel combo is easy to find at a variety store, or often in your own basement! Colorful, kid-friendly tackle boxes are readily available for toting hooks, sinkers, bobbers, lures, and a pair of pliers. And there’s always the old coffee can filled with fresh-dug worms from the garden.
Plan ahead for comfort, and let the kids help decide when and where to go and what to bring. Dress for the weather. Bring snacks and drinks, a blanket or lawn chairs, a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen. It’s a good idea to keep the first few trips short—say, an hour or two—and let interest and enthusiasm grow. If the fishing is slow, you can use the time to look for signs of wildlife.
Most adults go fishing for the camaraderie (or solitude, depending!) and the outdoors experience; but for a lot of kids, it’s important to make a catch that first time out. You can help by seeking out special “kids’ ponds,” or local places that are packed with panfish like crappies and sunfish. And don’t forget the camera—you’ll definitely want to have a picture of that first-fish smile!
Being outside in the fresh air and sunshine is the first obvious bonus to learning how to fish; most parents would agree that just being away from the computer games and other modern distractions is a step in the right direction! Children relish the chance to have quality time with adults away from home. And of course, there’s the fishing; it’s a lifelong skill that can provide a sense of accomplishment along with a darn good time. Fishing doesn’t have to be difficult or far from home—and it’s free for kids under 16. The important thing is to do it as a family and have fun.