Taking a child fishing for the very first time is a really wonderful experience. It is an experience that the child and the person taking them that they will always remember, so you want it to be a good one. You want to keep your first fishing excursion exciting, and you want to be prepared.
You will want to have the proper equipment so that you will not be fighting with your rod, reel, or string. There are plenty of cute and cheap fishing rods that are made for kids, but they are just that cheap. They will ensure that your fishing trip has at least one or two frustrating moments and will most likely break. What you want is a good, ultra-light rod and reel. They range in size but a rod at least 5 feet long is a must. Splurge on a good spool of line and aim for a two to four-pound test. You can spool the reel yourself or get it done at the tackle shop.
Once you have your equipment in order, you can get set to have some fun. You will want to find a pond or lake that is not crowded with trees or people. Trees are the enemy when you are trying to cast from shore, and a pond or lake that is stocked with pan fish will be sufficient for kids. They do not really care if they catch a huge fish right off the bat. They are just happy to catch something.
You will want to practice casting until your little fisher gets the hang of it. Once they have mastered this skill they will be ready to do it without help and with confidence. Have your little fisher slowly reel in and tell them to make it seem as if the bait or fly is a real bug. Ask them how a real bug would act and try to mimic that. They will be more likely to catch a fish with an active bug rather than a lifeless one. You will also want to get out there early in the morning when the fish are biting. Be sure to dress appropriately as well.
When teaching a child to fish keep in mind that they are learning a new skill and that some will catch on more quickly than others. They may not catch a fish in the first fishing trip either but remind your little fisher that that is ok it isn’t about catching fish, but it is all about the experience. Bring plenty of patience and a lunch. Be prepared to spend the day, as this is an activity that can’t be rushed. Remember, you want it to be fun.