Fishing presents a back-to-nature platform that teaches kids respect for the environment and everything that lives.  By Christmas time it is easy to tell if the small ones wish to be involved in fishing.

Kids need a tackle box of their own.  It makes them feel a part of the sport and grown.  The box itself can be something as simple as a clear plastic box containing assorted tackle item.  Taking a youngster to a tackle store and allowing him to select some of the gear, makes him a part of the project.  It also shows that you have respect for his ideas.

There is no need for expensive lures and baits for the beginning angler.  Keeping it simple is best.  A few hooks, some small bobbers, an assortment of weights and a bunch of bright plastic worms and jigs will do the trick.  A small measuring tape and some pliers round out the basic box ingredients.

This is the perfect time to discuss with junior why we use certain tackle.  He can learn that certain types of things are for pursuing certain types of fish.  It is good to explain that some sizes of hooks are not appropriate for some species of fish.  It is a chance to explain why crankbaits are not good for bluegills and sunfish.

For the younger child, you can put in some crankbaits with the hooks removed.  It can be something with which he can practice casting.  Later when he old enough, the hooks can be added.

Coupled with a rod and reel or cane pole, the tackle box will get junior started in what could become a life long sport.  It is best if he has his own rod and reel.  Short rods are for short people.  They are easier to handle and the object is to have fun, not work.  On the first fishing trip with new tackle, leave your tackle at home or in the vehicle.  The focus needs to be on the child.

Do not expect him to take fishing as seriously as some adults.  Kids often have a short attention span when it comes to fishing.  If he catches a bluegill or other sunfish, his interest will sharpen.

When taking the youngsters out to fish, remember to take along insect repellent and sun blocker lotion.  A few band-aids for those inevitable scrapes are a good idea.  A personal flotation device (life preserver) is advisable in and out of boats.  Kids have a way of getting too close to the water.

A cooler with water, soft drinks and some snacks is good idea.  Do not forget the wipes to clean hands before and after eating.  Take along a favorite electronic game or a ball for playing catch.  Kids do not stay with one activity as long as adults are likely to do.  Keep fishing trips short and sweet.  That way they remain fun and not a chore.

A tackle box for the kids is not all there is to make an angler out of a youngster.  It is a great beginning.  Take along an inexpensive camera for a picture of the first fish and the biggest fish.  Photos make great family memories.

By spending a few minutes or an hour with a youngster picking out tackle you have a chance to instill in him that fishing is not just hooking a fish and yanking it up on shore.  He can learn background to the sport and when at the lake, he can practice what he learned in the bait shop.  Putting to use what he learned in the stocking of his tackle box makes a youngster proud of his fishing knowledge and the person who taught him.


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