Daddy, I Got One

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Published on: May. 2, 2004

Last revision: Nov. 16, 2010

fishing before going to church or to grandma's for lunch. As a rule, try to quit fishing before the kids get bored.


Prepare the kids for fishing by giving them a little backyard practice with a casting plug. You can make a game of it by putting out hula hoops or garbage cans for targets. Kids will catch on to casting quickly, and you won't have to train them in that basic skill at the fishing hole. Practice also builds anticipation. It makes kids eager to go fishing.

Make sure you pack snacks, drinks, sunscreen, bug spray, personal flotation devices and proper tackle. Most kids would love to have a little tackle box of their own. Stock it with with basic items, including bobbers, split shot and #6 panfish hooks, which are perfect for catching sunfish or catfish. For usually less than $20, you can buy them their own fishing rod and reel. Look for a light- to medium-weight rod with a push-button spinning reel. These are the easiest reels to learn to cast.

Plan on using live bait. It usually results in more success than artificial lures, plus kids love the idea of catching bait. They can dig for worms in leaf piles or chase crickets or grasshoppers. Show them how to dip a fine-mesh net into the water to catch frogs, minnows, crayfish and water bugs, which are plentiful at most fishing holes.

Where to go?

Take kids to a comfortable and scenic fishing spot with lots of eager fish. Private farm ponds and subdivision lakes often have grassy banks and good fish populations. If the landowner feeds the fish, catching them is all but guaranteed. Wading small rivers or large streams is also very enjoyable. The fish tend to be naive, and the scenery is beautiful.

Public waters managed by the Missouri Department of Conservation are available in every county. They are usually well maintained and offer good fishing. In fact, Kids Fishing Clinics, sponsored by the Conservation Department, take place on many Department areas. At these clinics, Department employees and volunteers teach basic fishing skills and provide general assistance to the kids. To improve the fishing, the lakes used for the clinics are stocked with hybrid sunfish and channel catfish.

The Conservation Department also offers conservation and outdoor recreation programs to students in all grade levels. These aquatic education programs combine local ecology and conservation principles with angling and other aquatic outdoor skills

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