Fishing With Kids

Break your kid in right for a lifetime of angling enjoyment.

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Once kids have mastered the basic skills of fishing, they’re ready to tackle big-game species, like this chunky wahoo.Lenny Rudow
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Age: 5-7
Abilities: They may be able to hold the rod and learn to cast, but motor skills and patience still require some development.
Accomplishments: Familiarize children with gear; introduce them to slightly longer cruises and extended trips. Inshore ocean runs are an option. The amount of adult assistance necessary will vary greatly through this time frame.
Species: Inshore species of medium size, like stripers, blues, mackerel, and small sharks, probably with some adult help and guidance. Age: 7-10
Abilities: Motor skills develop quickly, and many children are able to handle lightweight gear on their own. Assistance is still needed for heavy tackle and/or pelagics.
Accomplishments: Introduce them to the offshore world. Long-range runs are now an option. Many kids are able to catch their first pelagics, though many need adult aid.
Species: Lesser pe-lagics, such as some dolphin, bonito and skipjacks, without adult support; rela-tively small pelagics of all species with some assistance. Age: 10-15
Abilities: Patience is developed, and motor skills are good. Most children of this age are able to transition to getting the job done on their own.
Accomplishments: All options are on the table. Long runs, offshore fishing, overnighters, extended periods of trolling and bigger seas are all possibilities with this age group.
Species: Fish of all species, although adult assistance may still be required for large fish. Introduction to larger sharks, small bluefin and yellowfin tunas, bigger striped bass. Age: 15+
Abilities: By this age, they should be fully capable of handling all gear, including heavy trolling tackle, gaffs, outriggers and even (with supervision) the boat.
Accomplishments: These young people should have a good grasp of the basics and be ready to absorb the finer points of fishing tactics and strategies.
Species: Fish of all species and sizes. Marlin, sailfish and mako sharks; groupers and snappers through labor-intensive deepwater bottomfishing; yellowfin tuna through jigging and popping.
Joe Mahler / www.markerjockey.com
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Dolphin are a great target species for kids because they come in all sizes.Lenny Rudow
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Lenny Rudow
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Small kids enjoy steady action, catching large quantities of smaller fish. Then work your way up gradually to larger species, like this tuna. As kids gain proficiency at the sport, they will be more willing to trade quantity for quality.Lenny Rudow