Area schools are set to go back in the middle of August this year, and that does not leave a lot of time to take a kid fishing. As adults, we all know of kids who would love to spend a few hours outdoors pursuing fish. Do them and yourself a favor and make time in the next couple weeks to do so. Taking a child fishing is very rewarding. As a parent of two kids, I have seen the joy and felt the happiness it gives these youngsters. It not only makes their day or week, but often it makes mine as well.
If you do not have kids of your own, I bet you could think of a neighbor kid, or relative who might enjoy a fishing trip. Fishing is fun, but it is important when you are dealing with kids to have a backup plan ready. No matter what, sometimes the fish just don't cooperate, so hopefully these tips will help you have a great time in the outdoors with a youngster in the next few weeks.
Kids if you have them you know how difficult the easiest things can be. If you don't have kids, this is your warning, most everything is difficult when you throw kids into a fishing equation. I say this, not to scare anyone, but to warn or allow you to think about how things might not go as planned. The best thing to keep telling yourself on a kid trip is "It's all about the kids." Keep their perspective in mind and keep your ears tuned into what they say. Their comments may lead to happiness on your trip.
T-R PHOTO BY TODD REED
A recent trip with a few boys turned out great, even though the fishing was a little less than expected. Keeping kids busy, safe and including different outdoor things in the fishing trip made it a great day. The smiles speak for themselves.
Fishing isn't everything when kids are involved. Most fishing trips start off that way, but no matter if you are catching dozens of fish, or not catching fish at all, most of the time the fishing trip turns into an "outdoor adventure." Flowers, weeds, bugs, frogs, worms, birds, geese and even airplanes may take over the trip at any given time. Let it happen. If the kids are enjoying themselves, it really doesn't matter if they are catching fish or not. Nature provides kids with questions, answer them and talk about whatever they may want to talk about. On a recent trip with three young boys, our conversation turned to how jet planes are different than propeller planes. It was quite a conversation, and it lasted several minutes as a few airplanes flew by the pond where we were fishing. Did we catch any fish in those few minutes, no, everyone was looking up into the sky, wondering and thinking about how things work, and in the end the boys hopefully learned a few things about airplanes. Most importantly though, their non-fishing questions were talked about and answered, thus making them happy for the moment. A fishing trip can turn into a science trip at any time. Just go with it "It's for the kids".
On any fishing trip, the fish may not be cooperating. If this is the case, it is time to move. Kids get bored quickly staying in one spot, so it is well worth it to pack things up and move to another location. While moving to another location make it a nature walk. See how many animals the kids can see, or the popular "I spy" game will make the move more fun and enjoyable. Doing simple little things like this keeps the kids' bodies moving and their minds active as well.
When going on a fishing trip with kids, it is important to think about the time being spent. My advice would be to keep the actual fishing part under one hour if the kids are younger than 5 or so. Older kids may be able to handle several hours, depending on the variety of activities. A short trip can turn into a longer one by adding things in. A picnic lunch is a perfect idea. A cold drink, sandwich, fruit and chips will make most kids very happy. Another thing is a nature walk with the kids. Put all the fishing items away and just take in Mother Nature. The area lakes of Marshalltown are perfect places to do all of these things. Sand Lake, Green Castle Park (the lake is mostly drained now though), Rock Creek Lake, Union Grove Lake, Hickory Grove Lake and the Pine Lakes all have paths to walk on, or areas of the lake where things are mowed and kept very well. You may not be fishing, but as stated earlier, you are still in the outdoors enjoying things.
One last reminder when dealing with kids. Remember those little bodies need a lot of water, sun protection and a watchful eye. Wearing a life vest on shore is a smart thing for children, especially if the number of kids outnumber the adults in the group (it's a state law if they are in a boat/canoe). Keep them hydrated, safe and active, and they will have a fun day in the outdoors. Remember, "It's all about the kids!"