For smaller children, drill a hole in the handle of the rod and attach a lanyard. Tie the lanyard to the boat or a belt buckle in case they drop the rod. Often kids will release the whole rod when letting go of the 'push button' on the reel. This simple tip may save you from "fishing for a rod."
Crimp the barb on all hooks. This makes it much easier to release the fish, a kid or a parent.
Protect the children and make certain that they always wear sunglasses when anyone has a rod in hand. A barbless hook can easily be removed from a finger or a foot, but not from an eyeball.
Spread anglers out. Make certain they are at least 10 feet apart and watch for others before casting. Use a bobber if possible, it will provide a visual clue to signal a bite. It also gives kids something to watch to stay attentive.
Leave your rod at home since the trip is all about a kid's fishing adventure. If possible, bring along someone their age to share the adventure with.
Look for water bugs, turtles, frogs, beavers or loons. Let them play with minnows or worms. Let them experience nature. Most of all, fishing should be fun, not a chore.
Take a camera along. After the trip, get prints in the kid's hands as soon as possible, so they can share the adventure with others. Encourage them to write a short story to accompany the photos, it can provide helpful feedback for future trips.
Show respect for the environment and the water. Teach water safety and in a boat, make certain everyone wears a PFD (lead by example).
Make each outing an adventure. Involve children in the planning for the day, look over maps, draw up a list and let them assist in the decision making process.
It should be their special time! A big part of the fun is in the preparation. Let them help with the tackle, digging worms or catching grasshoppers.
Most of all, strive to depart before the fish do, always leave them wanting more.
Joe Hackett is a guide and sportsman residing in Ray Brook. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org