When you were a kid, what techniques did you use? I distinctly remember soaking “servo” prawns that had been defrosted and frozen over numerous outings. The prawns were rigged on heavy monofilament hand lines, or rods and reels that were suited to catching fish much larger than what we were targeting. Does this sound familiar? Luckily for us, and the next generation of anglers honing their skills, there is a plethora of information available through the world wide web, easily accessible to fast track anyones learning curve. Although our fishing styles are predominantly lure and fly, teaching these types of techniques to young children is quite difficult. Getting them to watch a float bobbing in the water while “feeding the fish” is by far a lot easier. Not only does rolling up little pieces of bread and throwing it into the water keep the kids occupied (and usually well fed), once the fish start biting, they quickly begin to understand the concept of what we are doing to entice and catch the fish. I think this is just as important and it means that they don’t get bored too quickly.
On a few occasions I’ve been asked by friends and work colleagues who have children but little idea of fishing, the “How, what, where and when” questions. The most recent was just last week so I thought I’d take the time to explain just how I go about taking my own kids fishing to keep their attention focussed.
- Light spinning rod and reel. I use a Daiwa Aird combo but a hand line or any light spinning combo rated from 1-4kg with up to a 2500 size spinning reel should be fine.
- Monofilament fishing line. Braid and/or fluorocarbon isn’t necessary and for this type of fishing 4lb is more than adequate.
- Ball floats. The small red and white ball floats are great because they are cheap and easy to attach and remove.
- Split shots: I use a small split shot sinker below the float for two reasons. Firstly it ensures that the float sits properly in the water and secondly if there is a little bit of current it helps to keep the hook and bread under the water.
- Hook: I don’t really have a preference here, I generally just buy small packets of size 6 or 8 hooks.
Tying the rig:
- Tie the hook to the line using which ever knot you are comfortable with. Personally I use the uni-knot in this situation.
- Approximately 30-40cm above the hook I attach a small split shot sinker using a pair of pliers.
- Approximately 10-20cm above the split shot I attach the small ball float.
- Pinch a small piece of the soft part of some fresh sliced bread (not the crust) about the size of a 5 cent piece and squeeze it around the hook so that it becomes compact and like dough and ensure that you try to put on only as much as you need to cover the hook.
Then comes the fishing. I generally try and fish an hour or so either side of high tide. This not only gives you a few hours fishing which is ample for young kids but it also means that there is plenty of water up near the shallow edges and there will be less run in the tide so that all your bread doesn’t get swept away. Start out by throwing out small pieces of bread into the water. My four year old understands that if he gets smaller pieces of bread and rolls them into little balls the size of a ball bearing or a small bead, they will sink down to where the fish might be holding. My daughter on the other hand usually throws much larger pieces in that float on top. This is okay as well because often when the fish do come along they get to watch them feed. After you get a little bit of bread in the water, cast in the line and get the kids to watch the float while they continue to “feed the fish”. Hopefully it won’t be long until that float disappears.
Good luck and enjoy!