Farm ponds provided livestock water while in the pasture. On our farm, most were muddy, had a distinct odor of cow manure, trampled shorelines and large snapping turtles.
Today, with stocking programs old farm ponds have turned into a great place to introduce fishing to children. Although I no longer live on a farm, I have a fully stocked pond, bluegills the size of dinner plates and plenty of hungry bass.
Grandchildren, nieces and nephews have all learned to catch fish at our pond. Life is competitive for fish in a small pond and they have been caught on worms, crickets, grasshoppers, grubs, and frogs from along the shore. But for these fish, marshmallows, bologna, noodles and pork fat from our refrigerator will also work.
Catching is the most important part for kids when it comes to fishing.
I ran across this list of tips which was on the back of a poster. I’m not sure who the author was but thought I would share it.
•Be relaxed: As you head out the door, leave behind the tension and take along a smile, an open mind, and a lot of patience.
•Make it fun: Above all else, make the fishing trip fun and safe. Don’t measure the success of the trip by the number or size of fish caught, but rather by having a fun, safe time outdoors. Praise children for their patience and cooperation.
•Make it a shore thing: Try giving a child their first few lessons at a local park, farm pond, or a lake with a dock or gentle shoreline where they can run and play when their attention span runs short. Knowing how to fish from shore will allow them to go on their own or with friends when they are old enough. If and when you progress to a boat, be sure to have the proper safety equipment for you and your youngster.
•Fish for little fish: Most kids prefer to catch lots of fish versus big fish. Start new anglers off on species that are plentiful and more easily caught, like sunfish or perch. Once the child has developed basic fishing skills, you can move on to larger pursuits.
•Start with the basics: Begin with simple equipment and bait. Use simple spincasting equipment, a bobber, and a hook with live bait, as it will work well for a variety of fish species. And be sure the equipment your child uses is in good working order to avoid any unnecessary frustration.
•Teach skills: People, regardless of their age, enjoy fishing more when they are in control and can do it themselves. Resist the temptation to do things for your children. If you are using live bait, teach them how to put it on the hook themselves. Teach them how to tie their hook onto their line and how to cast. On future trips, watch their skills, and their confidence, grow.
My grandson recently had another first while catching at our pond. Ryker is 10 years old now and a veteran at catching in our pond. Truth is he may have caught most of the fish in it two or three times by now.
Well, this day he cast a body bait from the dock to the middle of the pond. It was a good cast and a good pace to his retrieve.
And just like that…Bam! An aggressive strike, a splash and down went the lure. His ultra light rod bent in half and his reel struggled to gain line.
“I’m caught in the weeds, Papa,” he sighed, then his reel whined as more line peeled off.
Ryker battled what we thought was a big, feisty bass perfectly.
Lifting it from the water, there were two bass, one on the front treble hooks and another on the back.
A rare two for one cast and catch!
Both bass were as big as Ryker’s smile.
I’m confident both Ryker and his brother Zadyn are hooked on fishing for life. And the youngest brother, Beaudry is up next.
As they say, “Take a kid catchin’ to teach ’em to fish!”