I’m sure we’re all no different in how we learned how to fish. Our father or grandfather took us out to the lake, pond, river, or ocean and taught us how to fish. They were preparing the next generation of anglers. As anglers, it’s also our responsibility to pass on what we were taught by our fathers and grandfathers, and pass it on to our children. It’s our responsibility to teach the next generation of anglers.
While kayak fishing can easily be described as the fastest growing sport in the country, we’re still growing. It’s up to the kayak anglers of today to help continue growing the sport of kayak fishing. We teach the newcomers who meet us at our local tackle shops, bait stores, and at the kayak launch itself. More importantly, we pass on what we’ve learned and our passion to our children. As they pass it on to their children, and so forth, our sport will grow to massive proportions.
If you’re anything like me, then you’re ecstatic about taking your kids out on the kayak and teaching the next generation of kayak anglers. I was a bit anxious myself, but my wife made me wait until my oldest was at least 4 years old. I abided by her decision, and as soon as he turned 4, we were headed to the kayak launch ready to get on the water. Of course, I didn’t care that his birthday was in the middle of the week as I’d held up my end of the agreement. Grudgingly she allowed us to go, but between you and I, Garrett & I were going anyway!
I’ve often been asked about tips from fellow kayak anglers about how to get their little ones out on the water. The answer is a bit extensive, but at the same time it’s pretty simple. I simply relate how I started teaching my son about kayak fishing and pass it along. To me, this is the best way to introducing the next generation of kayak anglers, by a father or mother taking their son or daughter along with them on a kayak fishing trip.
I started off as simple as possible. I picked out the most comfortable PFD I could find for my son on his first trip. I used MTI Adventurewear for their PFD’s as they’re great fitting life jackets, and fit extremely well. Plus there’s a whistle and pockets which helps with keeping them from getting bored. Ultimately, the best PFD I’ve found for my sons is the Bob from MTI. It fits extremely well, and is very comfortable.
Another thing to keep in mind, is to start out slow. Kids don’t have the greatest of attention spans initially. I’d start out slow. Perhaps your first trip is only 30-45 minutes. Yes, I know this is hardly enough time for you to wet a line and hook into a trophy fish, but in the long run, this will pay major dividends. My initial first few trips with my sons were more about being out on the water versus the fishing aspect. I’d paddle at a nice and easy pace, and made sure to point out any wildlife, and “teach” my sons what we were seeing. It’s important for our next generation to grow a love for the outdoors and being out on the water. Of course, the best plan must require snacks and drinks. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with having some cookies or snack cakes with you on the water to entice our next generation initially.
After a few of these nice and easy trips out on the water, we grew to getting to the actual fishing part of things. I took my sons to my local outdoor store and we picked out a fishing rod. My sons each have their own fishing rod, and it’s theirs to use on each fishing trip. There’s nothing wrong with teaching our sons and daughters about ownership, plus we can all attest to how exciting it is to get a new fishing rod. Another idea is to dress the kids up. Get them a new Columbia or Bimini Bay fishing shirt and a face shield to have on the water. Not only does it offer protection on those sunny days, but it looks pretty cool when your little one is all decked out looking like a true angler!
Lastly, when it comes to teaching the next generation, the most important tip I can offer is patience. Take your time and enjoy the moment. These will become some of your most fondest moments and memories. These memories will last the test of time for both you and your new angler. Teaching the next generation of kayak anglers is quite possibly the most important mark we can leave on our beloved sport. The best part of teaching the next generation is you’ll have earned a fishing buddy for life.