Teaching Your Kids to Fish in Alabama

Teaching Your Kids to Fish in Alabama
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Teaching Your Kids to Fish in Alabama Written by our Family Days Out correspondent Jon Sutton from Outdoor Empire

Modern parents often struggle to get their children to put down the phone or back away from the game console and go outside for some fresh air and sunshine. But you’d be amazed how much easier it is to lure your kids into the great outdoors if you tempt them with a fun activity. Fishing is a perfect choice, as it is not only a fun way to spend the day, but it is something that both you and your children can enjoy together.

But, you don’t want to convince them to spend the day at your local lake or river without having a good time. Fishing can be pretty boring if you aren’t catching any fish, so do your best to implement the five tips and tricks listed below, so that you can give your kids a day they’ll never forget.

1. Set your kids up with rods and reels that suit their size

Excessively long rods and complicated reels will typically leave youngsters frustrated. So, instead of handing your 7-year-old an 8-foot-long baitcasting combo, set him or her up with a 5- to 6-foot-long spinning or spincasting combo. This type of rod and reel will suit their size and skill level and give them a much better chance of success.

2. Target easy-to-catch species, rather than the flashy gamefish that advanced anglers chase

Alabama’s world-class fisheries produce a lot of trophy bass, but your kids are more likely to catch bolder species, who aren’t as warry when investigating a bait. This primarily means targeting bluegill (or their panfish relatives) or catfish, when fishing in Alabama.

Bankhead Lake (located about 20 miles west of Birmingham) is full of both species, but you’ll probably want to use a boat to fish there, as bank access is somewhat limited. If you’d prefer to stick to the bank, consider Lake Tuscaloosa instead, as it is not only full of bluegill and catfish, but it provides 177 miles of shoreline from which you can fish.

And although most first-time anglers will have better luck fishing in freshwater ponds and rivers, you can certainly try your luck fishing saltwater. Just head down to the Gulf Shores area and join one of the local charters or head out onto the fishing pier.

3. Use real or live baits, rather than fancy artificial lures

Artificial lures may be the preferred choice for experienced anglers, but your children will have better luck using a worm- or cricket-baited hook. You can also try to use corn kernels or doughballs when targeting bluegill, and catfish will even bite hotdog-baited hooks in some locations.

4. Fish early or fish late but kick back and relax at midday

Fish tend to be most active in the morning and afternoon, and most spend the middle of the day hiding in the depths or dense vegetation. Accordingly, you’ll want to concentrate on fishing during the relatively cool morning or evening, when the fish feed most aggressively.

5. Fish alongside your kids, to increase the odds of getting nibbles

If catching fish is your goal, you’ll want to have as many baits in the water as possible (while still following all applicable rules and regulations). So, keep your own baited hook in the water at all times. If you get a nibble, set the hook securely and pass the rod off to one of your youngsters so that he or she can reel in the fish.

Don’t forget to familiarize yourself with the fishing rules and regulations for the state of Alabama before heading down to the water, and pick up a valid fishing license if you don’t already have one (kids under 16 don’t need a license to fish in the state).

Above all else, try to keep a positive attitude while fishing – even if the fish aren’t biting as well as you’d like. A few laughs and a profound story or two from mom or dad can help offset any difficulties and ensure your kids still have a good time. But, it never hurts to pack your pockets with a bunch of helpful strategies and tactics, so cruise on over to Outdoor Empire and check out their comprehensive guide on the subject.

Check out more fun things to do with kids in Alabama!


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