What Age Can Kids Learn to Start Fishing?

What Age Can Kids Learn to Start Fishing?

An old proverb says, “Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime.” This proverb is not only true with men but also accurate with children. But then, the question is raised, what age can kids learn to start fishing? Unfortunately, there is no definite answer only because it depends on the kid and when they begin to show interest. Kids are developmentally ready to learn to fish using necessary skills about three or four years of age. If your kid is two and prepared to start fishing, then allow them to begin! If your kid is six and still not interested, then wait until they are interested. The earlier you start, the better, but be sure to begin soon.

We will examine why kids should learn to fish, essential things to remember while teaching, and how to teach them to fish. Keep in mind, every kid is different and will learn differently. While teaching, be sure to make it fun, have patience, keep it simple, and be encouraging.

Why Should Kids Learn to Fish?

There are so many reasons why kids should learn to fish. As we mentioned before, it will help them learn to put food on the table as they grow up, but there are so many more reasons. Kids should learn to fish because it creates fantastic experiences and memories. Kids will remember fishing with family and friends and share these experiences and memories with others.

In this day and age, technology is everywhere. Fishing will allow you to get your kids away from electronics for the day and spend some time in nature. It will open up opportunities for conversation. These conversations can create life-long bonds. If you teach kids at a young age to fish, it will encourage them to fish with you for years. Make fishing a family event. A family that fishes together stays together. Fishing can keep kids out of trouble. As your child gets older and their friends make inappropriate choices, your child will be out on the water, fishing. They will wake up early to get the best fish, and let’s face it; your older kids won’t have any money to spend on other, less important things. They’ll be buying fishing equipment!

Fishing is a lifetime of learning. As you fish, what works in one lake, may not work in another. What works on one species may not work on another. Fishing encourages anglers to use problem-solving skills. Fishing is a hobby that promotes learning, whether you are 4 or 104. Fishing teaches kids where food comes from and survival skills. It shows conservation and a love of nature. Children are used to being instantly gratified. Fishing teaches the opposite, patience. Finally, children will learn communication skills through conversations. Keep in mind that kids look to adults as role models, they want to mimic you so as you teach them to fish, be sure you are a good example and worthy of a child to look up to you. 

Essentials to Remember While You Are Teaching

There are several things to keep in mind while you are teaching kids to fish. First, remember they are kids and won’t be able to sit for hours while fishing. A way to break up what can be a monotonous time for the kids is to take breaks and eat snacks or swim. Some appropriate snacks to bring are granola bars, crackers, nuts, and cheese sticks. Try to avoid chocolate and super sugary and salty snacks. Suitable drinks to take fishing include water and juice boxes/pouches. Try to avoid soda.

The next thing to remember when you are teaching a kid to fish is patience. There will be mistakes made; lines will get tangled, gear will get lost, and injuries may occur. Use these mistakes as learning opportunities. Being patient and not getting frustrated will be a more enjoyable time for you and the kid. Put your fishing gear aside and just teach. Let the kid reel in the fish or net them. Just focus on the child learning. Celebrate moments such as their first fish or their first fish of each species or them getting the line in without tangling. You can also celebrate casting where they are told or even touching the fish.

As you are teaching your child how to fish, bring in all five senses. The five senses will heighten their awareness. Let them feel and smell the bait and fish. Have them point out things they see in the water or around them. What are some of the noises they hear? Have them focus on bobbers bouncing in the water. Ask your child open-ended questions. Open-ended questions usually start with “How” and “Why.” Take opportunities to teach them about the environment and the things around them. Tell them interesting facts you may know that are relevant to the situation.

Focus on the child while you are teaching them to fish. Not only will this help them learn better, but it will also help them feel important and loved. Once they get the basics down and can do it mostly on their own, you pick up your rod and create memories of fishing together.

How to Teach a Kid to Fish

Think back to when you learned how to fish. How were you taught? Most of the time, you can teach the way you learned. If you taught yourself how to fish, here are a few pointers on how to teach a kid to fish. The first thing you should teach is water safety. Don’t scare the kid into fearing the water or scare them into listening to you. Make sure they are cautious and aware.

how young to start fishing

You want to teach them to listen because you care and for them to take your instructions seriously. Fishing can be dangerous if kids don’t pay attention. After you give directions, have them repeat them back to you before they follow them. Include everyone into conversations about water safety. For example, if you take a four-year-old out fishing and have a teenager who already knows water safety, still have the teenager listen and participate because the kid will look to the teenager as a role model.

Once they are aware of water safety, help them with the first few casts, and then let them do it independently. You can also set up a five-gallon bucket and have them practice casting even before you leave the house. Use basic rigs such as a hook, bobber, and split shot. Kids love worms, so use them for bait. Allow them to make mistakes; these mistakes are learning moments. Take the fish off the hook for them but be sure and let them touch it. You can even teach them how to hold the fish and release them back into the water. You can start with fishing toys and training rods/fish. This will give them practice without the dangers that come with fishing. Be sure to encourage and not discourage. 

Fishing Equipment

The final aspect to take into account when teaching a child to fish is the fishing equipment. When you walk through a fishing aisle, you often see a section just for kids. Kids need kid equipment. Adult rods are going to be too long, and they can handle the weight of adult rods and reels. Be sure to purchase a shorter rod and a lighter reel. This will help to reduce fatigue and frustration. Try to avoid the super short, character rods. These rods don’t offer flexibility, and kids will often outgrow them from year to year.

As we mentioned before, use light tackle when teaching kids to fish. The traditional bobber setup is most comfortable, but you can also use a jig head and a plastic. Try to steer clear of treble hooks until the child has more experience. Same with live fish bait, such as minnows.

Be sure to check fishing regulations in your area. Most states do not require children to have a fishing license, but ages vary. Some states require the adult with the child to have a fishing license, but this changes. Be sure to check your local fishing regulations.

If you are fishing on a pier, dock, or boat, be sure to have a life jacket for the child. This is for safety. Children are often unsteady, and having a life jacket will increase their safety. In most states, life jackets are required for children to wear while on a boat. Be sure to check your local regulations. 


Hopefully, some of your favorite memories as a child involve fishing, and teaching a child to fish will give them lifelong memories. Be sure to be patient and encouraging while teaching them to fish. Enjoy your time with your kid because before you know it, they’ll be grown and you’ll be left with memories.

Continue reading more: Do Kids Need a Fishing License in Texas?

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