Anytime you go on vacation, you’ll need to make sure you enjoy as many activities as possible – you’ll be back at work soon enough, and you’ll want to have made good memories when you had the chance. And while there are certainly plenty of things to do at Tarpon Lodge, we like to encourage our guests to spend at least one morning or evening introducing your children to fishing.

Photo courtesy of Hoke Fishing Charters

Fishing is a positive and fun way to spend a few hours, at it becomes a healthy, lifelong hobby for many. But if you want your child to enjoy fishing, you’ll want to make sure their first trip is a good one and that you catch plenty of fish in the process.

To give your kids the best chance of a great day on the water, embrace the following tips and tricks:

  1. Provide your kids with appropriate equipment.

Parents often hand their child a large rod and reel for their child’s first fishing trip. Many adult-sized rods are simply too large for youngsters to use comfortably, and they’ll end up casting inaccurately and snagging everything within 20 yards with their hooks. Instead, set your child up with a 5- to 6-foot-long spinning or spincasting combo, which is better suited for their size. 

  1. Select a kid-friendly fishing location.

There are plenty of places you can fish near Tarpon Lodge, but you’ll want to select a place well-suited for your youngsters. This means finding a place that isn’t crowded and provides your kids plenty of room to learn the finer points of casting. The Tarpon Lodge dock is a great place to start. 

  1. Consider joining a fishing charter.

There are a number of fishing charters available for guests of Tarpon Lodge, and you’d be wise to investigate their offerings before settling on your fishing plan. Professional fishing guides not only help eliminate many of the responsibilities of a fishing trip, they can help you find the best locations to fish and recommend the best lures, baits and presentations for the local fish. 

  1. Dress your kids for the weather.

If you fail to prepare your children for the weather conditions, they’ll surely become uncomfortable and cranky in short order. This will serve as a significant challenge, which may cause you to cut the outing short. Layers are the best idea if you are visiting in the winter, but it is usually more important to prepare your child for the Florida sunshine. Lightweight, cotton clothing is generally the best bet, and be sure to provide them with a hat to protect their face and eyes and lather them up in sunscreen. 

  1. Fish alongside your kids.

You’ll certainly have your hands full trying to keep your kids safe and smiling, and you’ll surely have to spend plenty of time untangling fishing lines, baiting hooks and teaching your children how to cast. Nevertheless, you should always keep your own line in the water. As soon as you get a nibble, set the hook well and pass the rod to one of your youngsters. This will give them the chance to enjoy the best part of fishing – hauling in the catch.

Don’t forget to obtain a fishing license before heading down to the water – you don’t want to draw the ire of local law enforcement officers. Besides, it is important to set a good example for your youngsters, and this means following all local laws and regulations. If you choose to fish with a local, licensed fishing guide, you will not need to purchase a Florida state fishing license.  Note that the state of Florida also provides a few “free fishing days,” during which you won’t need a license, and you can also fish without a license at many local piers.

If you’d like to learn a few more tips for making your child’s first fishing trip a good one, check out Outdoor Empire’s comprehensive guide on the subject. There, you’ll learn a few additional ways to target kid-friendly species, ensure your kids’ gear is well-suited for their needs and prepare them for the weather.