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Frisch: Take A Kid Fishing

Mike Frisch, host of the Fishing the Midwest TV series, gives out tips on teaching young kids fishing.

Lincoln Hoaglund used a slip bobber to catch these walleyes last summer.<br/>
Contributed photo by Mike Frisch

In my job as a fishing educator, I am fortunate to assist lots of kids in their learning about fishing and also get to spend lots of time in the boat every year with youngsters. Here are some things I have learned about fishing with kids that might be beneficial to others who take kids fishing.

The first suggestion that I have for fishing with kids is to use good equipment that is easy to use and to fish with easy-to-use presentations as well. For example, I usually start a beginner with a Zebco 202 spin-cast combination as this rod and reel combination is dependable and easy to use.

Often the bait setup that I use with a youngster is a slip-bobber with a jig tied on. A slip-bobber allows easy adjustment of fishing depths, is easy to cast, and is efficient for landing fish with as well. If panfish are the target, I often bait with a small jig and panfish leech or crappie minnow. If bigger predators are the target, then a bigger leech is often used to tempt, say, walleyes or bass into biting.

Another tip when fishing with kids is to try to get bites. That might sound simple and obvious, but the best way I have found to get kids hooked on fishing – especially on their first trip or two – is to make sure that their bobber slides under the water fairly frequently. The thrill of a fish pulling back is often memorable to a young girl or boy and will usually have them eager to go on subsequent fishing trips.

In addition to being around biting fish, I like to keep initial fishing trips short in duration so the youngster is still having fun and engaged with the activity. A sure way to make kids hesitant about future fishing trips is to let those youngsters get “bored” with the trip. For that reason, I like to leave while the fish are still biting with a promise to come back and “do this again soon.”


Using easy-to-master fishing methods and enjoying lots of fish-biting action are good ways to get kids hooked on fishing. Another thing that I like to do is bring some snacks in the boat. What kid, young or old, doesn’t enjoy a snack break while enjoying time outside? Often, I have found that a stop at the local ice cream shop or convenience store for an extra treat on the way home is a good way to make a positive impression on a young angler as well.

Fishing is a great sport and fun activity regardless of the age of the angler or anglers involved. If you get the chance to include a youngster in your fishing trips this year, I strongly encourage it. It’ll probably bring out the kid in you and might just mean another kid starts to get hooked on a great lifelong activity as well.

Mike Frisch hosts the popular Fishing the Midwest TV series on the Sportsman Channel and several other networks as well.  Visit www.fishingthemidwest.com to see all things Fishing the Midwest.

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