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Pick the right fishing gear for kids

March 24, 2010 at 04:04 PM

Many kids begin their fishing careers with hand-me-down tackle. Tackle, whether it is a rod and reel or terminal tackle, should be geared to the size and age of the child.  If it is “his” or “hers” then the tackle means more to the child.  Modern tackle is not so expensive that it cannot be purchased just for the child and he/she can be involved in the purchase.

The purchase is not just an expense.  It is an investment in some of the most rewarding moments you will ever experience.

When going shopping for a rod and reel, be sure to take the youngster along.  You would not purchase running shoes without the youngster trying them on.  The rod and reel should also fit the youngster’s hands and the rod should be about the same length as the child’s height.

There are a number of kids size fishing kits on the market.  Many are related to cartoon characters that are familiar to youngsters.  The kits come complete with rod and reel, line and a casting plug for practice and instruction.

Terminal tackle is all the other stuff at the other end of the line.  It includes, but is not limited to, hooks, lures, and sinkers.  Exactly what tackle is used depends upon the age of
the child. Younger children can be given crankbaits with the hooks removed until they are old enough to safely use them.

If the kit does not come with a tackle box, it is a good idea to get one.  Kids love to organize their tackle.  The box can be a small plastic box with compartments.  The
small ones intended to hold small lures or nuts and screws work best.  Tackle manufacturers also make colorful little tackle boxes that are shaped like Dad’s, but smaller.  The box can contain some lures, hooks, sinkers, rubber worms and grubs.

The basic terminal tackle is the hook, sinker and float (bobber).  Kids love floats as they can watch them and see the fish nibble on the bait.  Floats are made for still water conditions such as those encountered in lakes and ponds.  It can be placed about 1 to 2 feet above the bait and thrown out a few feet from shore.

Two sure fire baits are the worm and minnows.  Worms are the most popular bait among the young set.  They will catch almost any kind of fish.  Worms are not difficult to put on a hook.  Most books on fishing show several ways to put the worm on a hook.

Minnows require a minnow bucket to keep them until needed.  A coffee can or other container can be used.  With a inexpensive minnow dip net, kids can catch their minnow before dad puts it on the hook.  Besides kids love to fool with the minnows between
bites and the net comes in handy.

Some final items to take along on that fishing trips with youngsters, include items that are common in all trips to the outdoors with the family.  They should include a small cooler with water, juice or soft drinks.  Some sandwiches come in handy as do small bags of chips or other snacks.  A plastic bag with some veggies can be a welcome cure for the munchies.  There is something about adventure in the outdoors that stimulates the
appetite of youngsters.

Insect repellent, a hat, sunglasses and sunscreen lotion are important.  Kids will not look back so fondly on a trip where they got sunburned and eaten by bugs.  The idea is to have the total experience be a positive one.  That way they will want to go back again and might even be willing to take you along.

For a free color Fishing Guide and information regarding lakes, motel accommodations and points of interest is available in Williamson County, contact The Williamson County Tourism Bureau, 1602 Sioux Drive, Marion, Illinois 62959 or by calling 1-800-GEESE-99.  Information is also available online at:, the Williamson County Tourism Bureau website.  Their e-mail address is: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

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