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10 Tips For Fishing With Kids

1. Fishing isn't just fishing. Kids will need diversions. Fishing parents recommend that you plan other activities for breaks from fishing. Swimming, playing with G.I. Joe action figures, having a picnic on an island, watching a great blue heron.

2. Don't plan on fishing yourself. Especially if you're outnumbered by kids, don't try to fish along with them. Concentrate on keeping their rods rigged and baited.

3. Take snacks. This is mandatory. Take snacks that are impervious to water, or that are wrapped individually so only one person's snack gets wet at a time. Take a bag for the trash, too.

4. One if by land, two if by sea. You may want to fish from shore rather than a boat, especially if the kids are very young. On shore, they can dig in the dirt, throw rocks – yes, at the bobbers – make roads and explore when the fish aren't biting.

5. The favorite target of adults anglers might not be best for children. Walleye is not king. For grown-ups, maybe. But young kids don't have the patience to wait for walleyes to bite. Choose waters that hold sunfish or crappies or stocked trout, where the action is more consistent.

6. The lure of bait. Don't underestimate the appeal of worms, minnows and leeches to kids. Include kids in the stop at the bait shop, a fascinating place. Let 'em mess with the bait once you're fishing.

7. Take plenty of those pre-moistened wipes. See No. 3, above. Where there are snacks – and worms and minnows – there are hands and faces that require frequent cleaning.

8. Wear life jackets. Kids should wear life jackets, and they'll wear them more willingly if they fit well. Life jackets should be worn by kids fishing from shore, too, where the water is deep or there's a significant drop from the shore or pier to the water.

9. The "possible" bag. Some parents keep this bag or small duffel always packed for fishing, so it's ready to go. Into it goes sunscreen, bug repellent, first-aid supplies – any of the little things it's possible you'll need.

10. Enough is enough. Most parents limit fishing outings to three or four hours for younger children. Sometimes even less. That's usually plenty for kids, and there's no surer way to make kids dislike fishing than to force them to stay longer than they want to. 

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