Swapping Rattle for Reel

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Teaching kids how to fish

People tend to be hesitant to teach their young ones how to fish because they think they aren’t ready yet. But you’d be surprised at what your three-year-old might be capable of! Take a look at this guide on how to get the kids involved for some family fishing fun.

One of my earliest memories – I must have been three or four – is of an early morning fishing trip on the Kei River with my dad and granddad. This was my first time out fishing with the men and I think it sticks out in the memory because of the significance it held for me in that moment. I felt proud and important to be considered old enough for a proper fishing trip. In fact, my father made that trip all about me and about teaching me the basics – basics that I remember to this day.

The truth is you can start teaching your kids how to fish from a very young age. As they say, a child’s mind is like a sponge and will soak up anything and everything, and it’s amazing how they can stay occupied trying to master one or two skills
for hours on end. I remember after that Kei River trip (on which I caught three good sized grunters, with help from my dad of course) I just wanted to get back out on the water. I was so obsessed with the few basics that my dad had taught me on the river, such as rigging a simple setup and how to cast with a coffee grinder reel; that I used to stand in our backyard in Johannesburg and cast a sinker around the lawn until it was too dark to see and my mother started fearing for her windows.

The result was that the next time we went out fishing I could set up my own rod with hooks and sinker, bait it, and cast fairly adequately. My father was still tasked with getting the fish off the hook once caught, though!

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