July 23, 2019
Families who love to fish will inevitably run across the question: “When is a good age to introduce your kids to a fishing charter?” We’re not talking about grabbing the rods and going to a local pier or shoreline to cast. We think that if kids are old enough to walk and take an interest in fishing, get a rod into their hands as soon as possible!
We’re talking about booking an excursion with a Professional Fishing Guide or Charter Captain for the whole family to enjoy inshore or offshore fishing. You’re probably asking yourself: When is a good time to bring the kiddos along for those type of adventures? After all, you may be paying big bucks to have them climb aboard with the rest of your crew; it may be beneficial to consider what you’re getting yourself (and them) into…
Let’s be honest: Fishing can be such a thrilling and exciting adventure… or it can be extremely boring waiting for a fish to take the bait. Before taking your child for a half day or full day fishing trip, here are the top five things to consider:
Each child is different; so this is a general rule that we recommend to parents who ask the important question: “How young is too young for a fishing charter?” Our answer: If they show interest, and can be patient for up to an hour while traveling and prepping the bait, then they are ready for a fishing charter. For some kids, that’s at the age of 5; for others, it’s 12. And that’s okay… If your child doesn’t show interest in fishing, don’t force the issue.
If you can, do a trial-run with your child. If you’re not an angler yourself, recruit the help of a friend or family member. You know your child best, and can determine if the thrill of the chase is enough to keep them engaged in the day’s adventures.
Many Professional Charters offer family friendly fishing trips that can run anywhere from 2 hours to 3 hours. If you are unsure about what’s in store, ask the Captain if this is an option for your younger kids. It’s a happy medium that gets kids excited and the adults fishing – it’s a win-win!
Just as each child is different, each fishing charter is also different. It’s important to book your family’s fishing adventure with a Guide that is good with kids and offers family friendly options for your group. You’ll want to let the Charter know of any children coming aboard so they can prepare child-sized PFDs (Personal Floatation Devices) and rods (if available).
We recommend fishing trips that are not too technical. Don’t go booking a fly fishing trip for Tarpon or bow fishing for Stingray with your 5-year-old. Some good fishing excursions to consider:
We prefer inshore trips rather than offshore trips for young kids. The inshore trips are generally shorter and see a lot more action, making for an exciting day. Offshore trips are fun for bringing in a handful of lunkers, but it takes awhile to reel those in and your little ones may not have the strength to keep up the fight, or the patience to wait for the fish to get to the boat.
Most kids have a short attention span (heck, most adults do too, if we’re honest). Consider the time you’ll be on the water when booking your fishing excursion. We recommend a 2-hour or 4-hour fishing trip for kids younger than 10 years old. This gives the group plenty of time to get to the fishing spot, cast lines and reel in the trophies. Then you can pack up and head home talking about the day’s adventures – basically getting out while it’s still fun. That way they’ll be looking forward to the next fishing trip you book for the family!
Another important factor in your fishing adventure is the vessel that will host your family for the day. Simply put: When booking your family’s fishing trip, make sure to check out the boat. Keep in mind that there are a variety of fishing vessels – everything from flats boats, center consoles, pilothouses, and sportfishers. Each provide a unique trip with opportunities for your family. If you book an inshore trip you’re likely to climb aboard a bay boat or flats boat. You probably won’t find a toilet onboard, but you’ll have a great day of fishing in places bigger boats can’t reach. If you book an offshore trip, your boat will accommodate your trip to the deep waters. You’re likely to have a cabin to rest and get relief from the sun. Many offshore boats offer all the comforts of home and you hardly realize you’re on water! When booking your trip, you’ll want to consider the type of trip and the boat – look for boat length, amenities, and cleanliness. Captains put a lot of care into their fishing vessel, and this will help decide which kind of charter to book (it also says a lot about the Captain).
The final thing to consider before booking a charter guide for your family – what you’re looking to catch! Of course the season and location will determine a lot of this for you, but it’s good to know what is best for your little ones. We don’t think any pelagic fishing is best for kiddos: as we said before they won’t have the strength to reel in those fish, and may get bored as you spend 30 minutes fighting to land the fish. Great fishing trips for kids include Flounder, Redfish, Trout, and Sheepshead, to name a few. Bottom fishing for Triggerfish or Mangrove Snapper can also be a hit for kiddos. They’re just big enough to put up a fun fight, and the kids will have no problem reeling in these fish by themselves.
Once you consider these five questions: child’s age, type of fishing charter, trip duration, boat amenities, and fish species you’ll be ready to book your family’s fishing trip. Get started with FishAnywhere: simply search the location you’ll be fishing. You’ll be able to shop and compare to find the best family friendly fishing charters in the area. Then be sure to grab your camera to capture the best moments of the day! A family fishing vacation is a great way to make memories throughout the years – as long as your kids are the right age.
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