There are few pleasures like taking your kids out fishing for the first time, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy! Luke has some tried and tested tips to help you get your kids fishing and keep them coming back for more.

Before I start, the fact you’ve taken the time to look at this means you’re thinking of taking your kids fishing, and I applaud you for that.

As an angler, there’s nothing more special than being with a young person and seeing those emotions that come with going for an adventure, rod in hand, with a bucket of bait, and an exciting destination. Not to mention that moment when they first feel a bite, and when they’re lucky enough to land their first fish! Those moments stick with us, as the adults witnessing, for a very long time.

This is all very joyful and exciting, however there are some pivotal ingredients to make taking your kids fishing a successful outing, and some crucial elements to look out for to avoid a disastrous one.

Kids Are Fair-Weather Anglers

It’s fair to say most adult anglers much prefer when the sun is out, the wind is low and there’s no rain around. Well multiply that preference by 100 and that’s where you land with how kids feel about a day out fishing. It’s all about making their initial fishing adventures memorable and something they want to do again and again.

Pick the day carefully, and don’t worry about setting the alarm for 5am, let’s be realistic about this. By the time you have everything ready to set off, it’s going to be mid-morning at best, and you know what, that’s absolutely fine because if you’re not stressed about the time you’re getting away, it’ll result in a relaxed vibe.

Key takeaway: Choose a sunny day, no rain, light or no wind preferable, and civilised hours.


How To Get Your Kids Into Fishing (While Avoiding Disaster), Luke McCreddon

Keep It Simple

If you’re anything like me, I’m keeping the fishing tackle economy alive with the number of rods, reels, lures, tackle and everything in between that I own. But you should refine that back with the kids: one rod, one reel, and a small tackle tray with only absolute essentials for the fishing you’re doing. Oh, and as hard as it is to do, you won’t be needing a rod for yourself. Most of your time will be entrenched in untangling lines, re-baiting hooks, general food prep, and being a lifeguard.


How To Get Your Kids Into Fishing (While Avoiding Disaster), Luke McCreddon


If you’re a first-timer (and so are the kids you’re taking), there’s a good assortment of kids fishing combos available to buy, which are sold as a rod and reel package and are generally ready to go fishing with once you leave the store. There are also ready-made tackle kits that’ll cover your needs and be conveniently in a tackle box – which ticks off the gear you’ll need.

All of this gear is in all good fishing tackle retail outlets – the likes of Compleat Angler stores around Australia will have everything you need.

Key takeaway: Less gear is more, only take essentials, put your own fishing ego away.

Turn it Into a Picnic

One of the most important things to concentrate on when packing and preparing for fishing with kids is food. Yep, not rods or reels or bait, it’s food for the youngsters. It’ll keep them and their tummies satisfied and give them the energy they need to keep at it.

Let’s face it, fishing isn’t action every second of the time you’re out there. I’d say within the first 5-8 minutes is when you’ll be asked for the first snack. Roll with it, it’s how they operate, and if it means they’re happy, then that contributes to keeping them keen to come back again.

Seriously though, pack heaps of food and of course a water bottle each. I’ve found the handiest thing is a good cooler bag, something insulated so if you’re out in the sun it’ll keep the food fresh and drinks cool.

How much food to pack? If you have kids you’ll know, there’s never enough, so go hard. But if you’re taking your niece or nephew or a family friend and aren’t familiar with the bottomless pits that kids are, believe me, you’ll be surprised at what they can consume. So don’t hold back, fill that cooler bag!

Key takeaway: Food, food, water, food. Pack plenty.


This one might seem a little vague or vain, but I think things sink in more than we give credit for. Once you’re set up and the waiting game begins, and while they’re probably halfway through the cooler bag, take the time and opportunity to explain your surroundings. Find some interesting facts about the waterway you’re fishing, the species in the area, and some environmental factors you can share with them.


How To Get Your Kids Into Fishing (While Avoiding Disaster), Luke McCreddon


If it’s a new area for you, spend 10 minutes online the night before to give you some fun facts to share. In my experience, I’ve tried this and thought it’d gone with the wind as I was speaking, but then a day or so later, or the next time we are fishing, the kids brought up some of the things I mentioned and made me feel like the greatest teacher of all time. But more importantly, proved that while the whole experience is new and exciting and there’s a lot to take in, they are in fact listening!

It’s also a great opportunity to talk them through the importance of protecting the environment and the impacts we can have on our waterways and the animals living in them.

Read more: Remember to leave no trace!

Key takeaway: Your hands will be full, but share some fun facts while you’re out there, they’ll take it in.

Make it a Good Time, Not a Long Time

This one is an important one too, don’t think that you’re going to be fishing all day. In fact, the reality is, you’ll be likely only be fishing for an hour, maybe two hours if things are going well. These are kids doing something new and not overly fast paced and we need to remember that.

Even if you’ve picked the perfect day for weather, best location, have more food than your local supermarket and have taught them the ways of the world, they’re still kids, and they’ll get bored eventually. The worst thing you can do, is try and keep them there for longer than their little minds can handle.


How To Get Your Kids Into Fishing (While Avoiding Disaster), Luke McCreddon


It’s hard sometimes because you might be having a great time, and the kids will be too, but when they get unsettled and you hear that, ‘I’m bored, can we go now’, it’s time to bite your lip and pack up for the day.

Ultimately, you want them to have a memorable day and want to come back again and again. As soon as they don’t want to be there anymore, it could turn miserable for them, and that’s the part they won’t forget.

Key takeaway: Keep it short and sweet. Don’t worry if your fishing adventure lasts 30 minutes or an hour, if the kids have had a good time, then it’s a success.

Safety First, Second, & Third

This speaks for itself really. Unfortunately, the water can be a dangerous place at times if you’re complacent. The reality is, as long as you‘re concentrating and have everything in place to be safe, then you and the kids will be absolutely fine.

But it’d be remiss of me not to mention the crucial need to ensure everyone (including the adults), is safe and sound. For this, check your local guides on the area you’re fishing before you go out, just to be aware what some hazards may be.


How To Get Your Kids Into Fishing (While Avoiding Disaster), Luke McCreddon


Taking kids out for a fish is one of the most precious things you can do. Whether they get right into fishing as they grow up, or just like to wet a line every now and then, enjoy the time outdoors with them. Make it exciting for them and have some fun with it.

We live in a really special country with some of the most stunning rivers, lakes, beaches, bays, and oceans in the world. Let’s show the kids how great it is, and if you take a few of these tips with you, it might just make things a bit easier and result in a few more smiles.