Boating Tips: Taking Kids Fishing

Welcome to Boating Tips with MarineMax! Taking kids fishing is a great way to generate memories with your loved ones. Keep these tips from Captains Nick and Keith in mind to make your days on the water with your kids even more memorable. Ask your questions, make comments, and learn a thing or two about family fishing trips.

Keep Them Busy

When taking kids fishing, boredom is the enemy. It is critical that you make sure that the kids have something to keep them occupied. This means targeting fish that bite reliably and don’t require a great deal of patience to catch. 

Other things that you can do to keep your kids entertained include showing them the livewell and letting them play with the bait, giving them a small task or job to do, or giving them something else to keep them focused during downtime. 

Manage Expectations

When it comes to kids fishing, you need to be in the right frame of mind as it pertains to what the day will hold. You should be comfortable with the fact that you may spend most of the day tying knots, untangling lines, baiting hooks and pulling the anchor. 

There is a distinct possibility that you’ll be playing both the captain and mate and may not be able to do a great deal of fishing the way that you are used to. 

Make them Comfortable

The last thing that you want is for your kids to have negative memories and emotions associated with fishing; they should be comfortable and happy. Here are some ways to accomplish this:

  • Watch the weather - Don’t get caught out in a storm or on a rough day, you don’t want your child to be afraid of going out on a boat 
  • Dress for success - If the day is a bit breezy or cold, make sure that you have plenty of layers. Being cold out on the water is no fun for anyone, let alone a child trying fishing for the first or second time 
  • Target the right species - Pick a good fish for kids, that means something common and not too large for them to handle. A 100-pound tarpon may not be the right fish to go after with a 4-year-old

Keep it Short

Kids tend to have short attention spans, as we mentioned previously, so you'll want to manage expectations and not plan on a long day. As much as you may keep kids engaged, and even if you have the greatest day of fishing ever, sometimes kids just lose interest - that’s ok! Don’t plan on leaving the house at 4am to fish for 12 hours and chase a world record fish. If the kids want to stop and go do something else, do that. 

Keeping your kids out for 8 hours when they’ve had their fill of fishing after 3 is a recipe for disaster. Short and sweet is the way to go. As they get more interested after numerous trips, or as they get a little bit older, then feel free to extend the day. 

Other Things to Know

You may wonder if kids need a fishing license or special fishing rods for kids. Stop by your local MarineMax store where our friendly staff will be able to answer questions and point you in the right direction before you hit the water. 

If you want to introduce your kids to boating before fishing so that they are more comfortable out on the water, check out one of our Kids in Boating Classes. In this fun and safe classroom environment, your kids will be introduced into boating and will be ready to hit the water. 






You can see or hear more episodes of Boating Tips and our sister podcast, From the Helm Boating Broadcast, on The MarineMax Blog, accessible on the website or via mobile phone through the MarineMax App. You can also access more episodes on Amazon, Spotify, Google Podcast, Apple Podcast, or wherever you get your podcast news. See you out on the water! 

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