Tip: Make a child’s fishing trip about him or her

To hook a kid on fishing, experts insist that the trips center on the child, which will keep them happy and provide a lot of interaction.

Popular Mississippi/Alabama guide Brad Whitehead provides great tips on why you should take a kid fishing, but also puts things in perspective, courtesy of his young son Nathan, on how to teach a new angler and have him coming back for more.

“I have a 17-year-old stepson who was 5 when I first met his mother, and I started taking him fishing,” said Whitehead. “I made several mistakes back then that I now regret making.

“The first mistake was I made him stay all day. Even when you could tell he was ready to go, I wanted to stay, especially if the fishing was slow and I thought we could do better. I was more focused on fishing than I was on his needs. I would also insist that he go fishing with me even when the weather was bad, when it was cold, and that was just the wrong thing to do.”

Not just about fishing

When his younger son Nathan came of age, Whitehead tried a different approach.

“The first thing I had to change about myself was the idea that we were going to catch fish my way,” he said. “I had to develop the mentality that I was out there with him to do what he wanted to do. When he wants to just go riding in the boat, I ride him around in the boat. When he wants to go to the bank and throw rocks into the river, that’s what you need to do.

“A fishing trip is not just about fishing. It’s about spending time with the child and doing what they want to do.”

Whitehead also learned which accessories a child preferred to have and which were better to leave at home.

“We carry plenty of snacks,” said Whitehead. “I don’t get all hung up on sticking with any kind of routine. One of the things I try to stay away from is letting him carry any kind of electronic gadgets on the boat.

“There’s enough time that kids are doing that at home. I want to make sure there’s direct interaction between him and me when we are on the water.”

About Phillip Gentry 404 Articles
Phillip Gentry is a freelance outdoor writer and photographer who says that if it swims, walks, hops, flies or crawls he’s usually not too far behind.

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