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nboucher

Teens and Fishing

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As I said in another topic, I'm taking some city teens camping and fishing next week. I'm looking for tips on introducing teenagers to fishing. Obviously, I'd love them to catch some nice bass and learn something about the natural world, but what I really want is for them to catch enough fish to enjoy the experience, so we may target panfish for part of the time. Any suggestions?

Norman

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If you are taking kids that don't fish, you need to fish live bait on a split shot rig: worms and shiners. If you are fishing from a boat, simply drift over structure, lake points for example. Have them keep the bait near, but off the bottom. If you are bank fishing you need bobbers. The bait should probably be only two or three feet below the float so it is more easily cast. Live bait will catch both panfish and bass.

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Live bait is a must for first time fisherman.  

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Being teens and not "kiddies", if some of them really take to it you can always move them to a t-rigged senko, rubber worm, Fat Ika, or tube and let them take it to the next level.  I think many of us can agree that even a rookie can catch with some of the plastics we have these days.

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You've gotten great advice. I'm far (way far) from being an expert angler, but I have taken kids (mine & their friends) fishing a lot. So, here are some other things to consider:

First off, social interaction will be of primary importance w/teens. Don't worry if they get distracted & end up skipping rocks (not where you're fishing, of course!), catching bugs, etc. The important thing is that they're enjoying the outdoors.

Keep the focus on the process (fishing, enjoying nature) not on the outcome (catching).

Be aware that some of them may be really squeemish about worms, but often the guys are embarrassed to admit it & will just say they don't want to fish. I had one boy try to hold a worm w/pliers & put it on the hook that way! ;D Make a joke of it, & get them to do as much on their own as possible.

Bring lots of food & drinks! Maybe even make time for a snack or lunch break together.

Take the opportunity to emphasize conservation (No littering, catch & release carefully, etc.).

Bring a camera to record both the catches & the funny moments. I had one boy catch everything BUT a fish--plastic bags, a soda can, a man's shirt, a stick... Though frustrated at the time, it has become a very funny memory between us all.

If the kids are new to fishing, bring experienced helpers. You'll be VERY busy helping tie hooks, releasing fish (hopefully), showing them how to cast, reminding them to keep the worms in a cool spot, reminding them not to hook each other, etc.

Safety first! The trip to the lake is the perfect time to state the rules & go over how to avoid getting injured. A good hook-in-the-body-part-of-your-choice horror story is always a cool addition w/teens! You can find many on this site! ;)

Here's another fun thing we do somtimes: Have some sort of competition with or without prizes. A dollar for the 1st fish caught, biggest fish, most fish. It could be a piece of candy for the prize, or just bragging rights. Be sure to have a prize for "most restraint" or some such thing for someone who catches nothing. Keep it light & funny.

HAVE FUN, & good for you for taking kids fishing! They will love it, & it won't even be a video game!

Let us know how it goes.

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Thank you all for your great advice. One more question: if we're using worms and maybe bobbers and looking to catch whatever, what size/type all-purpose hook would you recommend? The few times I've taken kids in the past, I think I used hooks that were too small, which resulted in too much gut-hooking, which never goes over big with new anglers. By the way, we'll be fishing from canoes.

Also, I don't want to mislead everyone into thinking I'm too noble. The teens I'm talking about are my own daughter (whom, I'm embarrassed to say, I've taken fishing far too seldom) and the kids in the other family we're going camping with, who are city kids through and through. Having said that, inspired partly by LBH's work with Cast for Kids and other kids groups, I do want to get into the habit of taking kids fishing more frequently, so I want to get comfortable with this.

Anglerintraining, your tips are terrific. When I've tried this in the past, I've made the mistake of trying to fish myself at the same time, which is stupid because when I fish I tend to ignore everyone else! This time, I fully intend to be steadying the canoe, baiting hooks, taking fish off, taking photos, etc. You're wise to remind me that if the kids get distracted from it, that's fine, too, and I really like the prizes idea, which can help to keep them focused.

Thanks again, all.

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For worms you cant go wrong with a Gammy WORM hook.... shiners use a circle hook of some sort. My younger brother comes along with me every now and then and he actually likes shiners more than worms believe it or not because he says he likes putting them on the hook more than worms. I tend to fish hard when ever he comes along but I think it's ok because he is just my annoying brother, but if I ever took other kids out I would really make sure they have a great time i think that was a very good tip.

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I frequently take all the neighbors kids fishing. I am the only fishing Dad out here, but I love it.

When I take non fishers I use a 1/0 eagle claw snelled hook, usually a bobber, and minnows. You can't miss doing this. Try smaller minnows to catch more fish. We use a seine net and catch our own which they love. They enjoy seeing all of the other life that is in the lake as well.

I have a boat and take some out as well. If you are lucky enough to find bass feeding on the surface, you can make some fishermen(people) right there. Give them a surface bait and let them have at it.

Drinks and snacks are imperative even from the bank. Bug juice too.

A word of warning though. I know 2 kids in the central Texas area that are jinxes. Don't let them on your boat.... you won't even see a fish!! They can tangle someone elses line on a different boat. LOL

nboucher, I have taken my daughter fishing hundreds of times but she rarely fishes. She likes to read on the boat while her brother and I fish. thats cool too.

RULE #1 is PATIENCE

and Have fun.

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as a gen-x'er just out of my teen years, i have a few pieces of advice that might contradict some others.

 I agree make it fun, but don't be a kindergarten teacher either.  Depending on the age of the 'teen'  dont put them below you.  even if they have never fisehd a day in their life, they might find it belittling that you give them a worm and a bobber. (definately no snoopy poles! ha!)  Maybe ask them straight up, "Alright guys, I can pretty much garauntee we'll catch fish with the worms and the bobbers, but if you wana go for something bigger, try this (insert cast out, reel in, or soft plastic bait here), but you may not catch as many, or any this way."  "And if you wanna try the other way, just let me know."  

This way the guys won't feel like girls, and the girls feel just as empowered as the boys by using the same epuipment, or when the guys are skunked and the girls cant keep the fish off their hooks!

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Guest the_muddy_man

Hey Mr n Ive been doin this for years At work I run an Outdoor Club where we introduce Kids from the innercities( DC <Bmore and Phila) to camping and fishing These are some of the things I have learned over the years

  YOU ARE NOT THERE TO FISH dont even think about it You are there to facilitate them to learn how to fish If you try to fish You are gonna get frustrated pretty fast.

 LET THE KIDS RIG THE RODS WITH YOU  BOBBER NIGHT CRAWLERS AND HOOKS Kids come in different sizes so this will help them A)learn their first rig B) customize it for themselves Rig : Spinning or spincaster our club has 15 shakspeare 12.99 graphite rods and zebco 33's all around Spend some time BEFORE YOU GO and have casting practice on the tag end of the line put a barrel swivel then attach a bobber to that on the other side of a palin plastic red/white bobber put another barrel swivel and put the leader( The double barrel swivel will really go a long way in stopping line twist) Use Eagle Claw Snelled hooks they are cheap  catch fish and really are easy for kids to learn a polymar knot with  #1 Baitholders are the best Bass,perch,pickerel and larger gills will all take these ( Gammy's what are you nuts throwin good money out like that!) No split shot a worm  a hook and THEY WILL CATCH FISH  Ive been doin this for 8 years and this works GREAT

BRING SOME BASIC LURES some of the kids will want to try and will need individual time for this but we always bring some 6" worms and rapala s with us and some of the kids take right tpo it again you should spend some time before the trip and show them whats up first

THIS IS VERY IMPOARTANT BRING SOME LARGE TRASH BAGSShow them right off the bat that they have to pick up after themselves and pick up more than they came with PICKIN UP AFTER THE PIGGIES THAT DONT RESPECT NATURE Give a prize to the kid that fills their bag the most make it fun teach them YOU WILL GET MORE OUT OF THIS THEN THEY DO when you get back and watch them tell their folks what a time they had   OH I ALMOT FORGOT MAKE SURE THEY HAVE A PLACE TO PEE IF ITS BOYS AND GIRLS TOGETHER ::)

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You guys are all great. Gene, I know what you mean about being the only fishing dad in the neighborhood. Because I usually fish out of a kayak, it's not easy to take someone else along. But I do have a canoe, and after this trip, I just have to use it to take out some of the  other kids who have been hinting strongly about coming along. :-[ As a longtime bleeding-heart liberalkeep the PMs polite, please 8-)I always feel as if I should be doing something more with fishing and the outdoors, as you do, Dominick, to pass it on to kids who have little more than hundreds of cable stations with, as Bruce Springsteen once put it, nothin' on.

Dane, not to worry. My plan is to get plenty of nightcrawlers from my compost bins out back, get everybody to feel a couple of fish on the line, and then offer plastics and maybe some lures to anyone who wants to try casting. For the guys, sometimes just casting is as almost as much fun as catching fish, it seems. Almost. It's all about getting them to appreciate, love, and above all, enjoy being outdoors. After all, they're going to be ones in charge of protecting it soon enough!

Thanks again, all.

Norman

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hey buddy, it definately seems you are on the right track.  All the suggestions in the world won't prepare you for the 'rookie' mistake and out-takes and all that.  It's gonna be a fly by the seat of your pants situation, roll with it, and never get serious and we will have ourselves a few new bass-nuts.

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Norm-GeneinTx has a great idea, adds to the whole message you are delivering. A MINNOW TRAP!!

Below is a pic of a trap that can be bought at Benny's , wal-mart,etc for about $10-$15

Load it with a rock and some bread and set it out overnight and you'll get some free bait and be able to do some exploring with the kids. Attach a length of clothesline to the clip which holds the 2 halves together.  Crayfish, minnows, small gills,etc, they all love being caught in these evidently, can add another angle of learning.

If you need more "real rods" just let me know and I can maybe meet you at lunch in Providence . I have a bunch of those Spidershafts you guys can use if you'd like.

Have a blast, can't wait to see the pics!

post-1488-130163005125_thumb.jpg

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Thanks, Russ. I just stopped by Benny's at lunchtime and picked up some vacuum packed minnows. But the trap sounds like fun. I'll see if I can find one at Wally World this weekend. Now I've got to figure out where all this stuff is going to fit in the car. :-?

Thanks for the offer of rods. I've got mine and a handful of old Shakespeare spinning setups that'll work fine. See you soon.

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THIS IS VERY IMPOARTANT BRING SOME LARGE TRASH BAGSShow them right off the bat that they have to pick up after themselves and pick up more than they came with PICKIN UP AFTER THE PIGGIES THAT DONT RESPECT NATURE Give a prize to the kid that fills their bag the most make it fun teach them ::)

Amen to that!  I can't believe I forgot to mention that!  We do that very same thing--bring bags to collect trash.  Once, when we were fishing at a conservation area, I had the kids take their bags of trash in to show the office staff.  The staff was so pleased that they asked for the kids' names & addresses.  They sent them each a letter of commendation--the kids were pretty proud.

Also, since you're in canoes, I'm sure the kids will enjoy some races and/or splashing contests!  Hope you all have a great time.  Just remember to keep your sense of humor, no matter what!

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not only does the "minnow" trap catch fish, it catches crawdads, so we call it a "crawdad" trap. we usually use dead fish, or we have found slim jims works great after you chew them up.

aaron

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