Experience the outdoors, connect with your family, and bring home some dinner!
Even the youngest of anglers can fish with a simple set up. Our kids began fishing at the tender age of three years old and have been reeling them in ever since.
You can start off your child with a cheap character pole like these. (Our daughters both started on a Barbie fishing pole to make it more fun for them.) Generally the poles themselves are pretty generic, but for simple bobber fishing for pan fish they work just fine!
Tying the fishing knots is a challenge for me and my husband and brother-in-law have been debating which knot is best for years. There are many different ways of tying them and many tutorials online. Also, different knots are preferred for various types of fish.
The kids and I generally use a simple over-head cast.
1. Reel in slack line, so the lure or hook is three to six inches from the rod tip.
2. Point the rod tip toward the target.
3. Quickly pull the rod straight back, and stop the rod when it’s above you, at the 1 o’clock position.
4. Immediately start the rod forward.
5. When the rod is at the 10 o’clock position, release the line. When using a spincasting reel, lift your thumb off the button. If you are using spinning gear, lift the finger off the line pinched between the finger and handle.
6. Be sure to keep the rod tip pointed at the target until the lure or bait reaches it. This is called “follow-through.”
When I fish, I keep it really simple and use a round jig (usually in chartreuse or white) and a night crawler. I generally reel in slowly, allowing it to dance along the bottom of the lake. I usually manage to bring in bass, walleye, perch, and an occasional catfish this way. I like being surprised and hate to bug my husband every 10 minutes with a new/different lure or set-up.
He on the other hand usually has two poles in the water and uses lures for catching musky and pike. His bait looks more like this!
We do most of our fishing at local lakes and rivers nearby including Lake Carlton (Record breaking musky have come out of this lake), the Rock River, the Mississippi River, Elkhorn Creek, and occasionally (when in the area), the Fox River, Lake Geneva or Lake Michigan.
This man (angler Tim Pruitt) is holding a world record catfish caught on the Mississippi river near Alton, IL. It weighed 124 pounds!
I am by no means an expert, but my brother-in-law is a pro and is staying with us for a week and has some advice to offer.
He has been teaching kids to fish for years and always thinks safety first! He will always have them wearing a life jacket when fishing deeper shore lines and docks. In winter it is important for the child to have proper gear, including ice cleats. Provide maximum supervision around augered holes. In spring he recommends a jig tipped with a minnow, worm, or plastic curly tail. A slow retrieve on the bottom works well. You can use small feather jigs for panfish. In summer, it’s important to get out there in the early morning hours or after the sun begins to set unless you are able to fish the deeper water. Anything is possible he explains.”I like using leeches with a Lindy-Rig on the bottom or under a bobber.”
In the winter he uses mostly small ice jigs with minnows and wax worms, and recommends trying different depths near weeds.
He generally catches walleye using a short, semi-stiff rod and a ball-head jig tipped with a large fat-head minnow. Fish with slow up and down motions.
When catching pike don’t forget to bring needle-nose pliers and spreaders. (Pike have very sharp teeth!)
On lakes, look for weeds, brush, and rock piles. A lot of the fish tend to hang out where snags are inevitable. On rivers, fish along current edges, backpools, sharp bends, and above and below rapids. “Below dams are also excellent” he explains.
Lets go fishing!