As with anything you do with your kids, when you teach them how to fish, you want to practice safety first. Fishing can be a great way to spend quality time with your son or daughter one-on-one and bond over a shared interest. Teaching your kids to fish is a great way to encourage them to spend more time outdoors, relieve stress and practice conservation. To help you get started, we’ve listed five of the best practices for fun and safe fishing:
1. Teach them to be aware of their surroundings. When learning to cast or catch and release, make sure to teach your children to be aware of their surroundings. Flipping and waving a rod and fishing line can cause serious injuries to those nearby.
2. If fishing from a boat, wear a life jacket. Don’t just make the kids wear one, set a good example and always wear a lifejacket on a boat.
3. Bring along safety items. It may seem silly, but make sure you always have water and a flashlight while fishing. Other safety items to consider are a spare cell phone battery, sunscreen and a change of clothes in case you get wet.
4. Weather is always a factor. This is a great life lesson in general. When you’re planning a fishing trip, always check the weather and pack accordingly. It’s okay (and even fun!) to fish in a light rain, but you should never fish if you see lightning.
5. Handle fish and hooks carefully. Teach your kids how to handle fish and hooks appropriately. Start small with just picking a fly and tying it on. Then advance to removing and releasing the fish, make sure to explain that the hook as well as a fish’s teeth, fins, whiskers or barbs can cut, so be careful!