Fishing & Boating News

Take A Kid Fishing - Part 2

The Journey

(Tuesday, August 04,1998 - DISNEY, OK) Taking a youngster fishing can be one of the most rewarding days you will ever spend. The success and the quality of "the journey" will depend on many factors, some over which you have control, and some not. Let's talk about the controllable factors . . . things you can or should buy to make your fishing outing more successful. The people at the Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and Tracker Marine Kids All-American Fishing Derby program have some recommendations, based on years of experience with youngsters.

Tackle- Choose a reel and rod combination that fits your youngster's hands. Try it on for size first. The rod should be the same or close to the same length as your child's height. This may sound fussy but, if there's a choice, let's do it right. Choosing the proper tackle is very important.

Zebco manufactures plenty of youth-size fishing outfits, made specifically for a youngster's hands, and besides that, they carry the names of some of >>the most popular cartoon characters. What kid could ask for more! These outfits come ready to fish with reel, rod, line in the correct pound test and even a casting plug that's great for backyard pre-trip casting lessons.

Terminal tackle - That's what the pros call it. It consists of hooks and sinkers . . . the stuff that's at the end of the line. If you're in doubt as to what you need for where you're going to fish, pay a visit to a nearby bait and tackle shop or sporting goods store. They'll be eager to assist. Remember that the hooks are sharp, however, so it‚s a good idea to have adult supervision.

Personally, we're big on bobbers. Buy a handful of bobbers, the round ones, red and white, of course. Bobbers are great fun for kids, especially in freshwater. Youngsters love to watch them and they make it easy to detect a fish‚s nibble. Bobbers are made to be used in non-moving water situations, like a lake or pond, not particularly a stream or river. Put the bobber approximately two to three feet above the bait and sit back and watch. The colorful action is almost hypnotic.

It would also be really good for you to get the youngster his or her own little tackle box. They love to organize it and study all the items. Tackle boxes, like the reel and rod combos, come in bright colors, are small to fit a youngster's hands and, of course, come complete with cartoon characters on them.

The next item on the journey list will make some of you laugh, but it works. Take along a coffee can or non-breakable container and a small minnow dip-net. All kids love to collect things along the water's edge and maybe bring home a few samples for the home aquarium.

The fishing trip is going to require bait. According to Ron Gentzen, co-founder of Hooked On Fishing International, "Worms are the most popular bait at the over 1,100 annual Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Marine Kids All-American Fishing Derby events." Worms work! What a great slogan . . . sounds like public relations campaign by the national worm advisory coalition. But it's true, they do work. They catch almost all fish in almost all situations. Worms are really not too difficult to put on a hook. Every primer on fishing will show you illustrations of at least three time-tested methods of putting a worm on a hook.

"Another sure-fire bait, number two in the overall bait preference survey," continued Gentzen, "is the minnow." For this you'll need a minnow bucket and a stop at your local bait and tackle shop. That small dip net will come in handy again here.

Other important items to take along on your "journey" are insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen lotion, and the most single important item: snacks! Something about fresh air, the great outdoors and the adventure of fishing makes kids hungry and thirsty.

"I've seen kids at the derbies eating hot dogs and drinking soda pop at 7:30 a.m. Throw in a doughnut and they're really happy," said Gentzen. Pack along a small ice chest with juice, water or soft drinks, along with a sack full of snacks. Or, you can begin a memorable tradition of going out for breakfast on your way, or stopping for a special lunch at the conclusion of your outing! It all adds something to the excitement of the trip.

Our final installment, Part 3 - The Results, will feature information on water safety, casting practice, what to do with the fish, and remembering the most important factor on the fishing trip . . . having fun! For more information on the Bass Pro Shops and Tracker Marine Kids All-

American Fishing Derby program, or to become a host of an event in 1999, contact Hooked On Fishing International, P O Box 249, Disney, OK 74340. The program is offered free throughout the country and is sponsored by some of the nation's finest companies including: American Rod & Gun, Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Berkley Inc., Gator Grip, Roads to Adventure Magazine, Southwest Airlines, TNN Outdoors, Tracker Marine and Zebco.