(BPT) - There may be nothing more sweet in this big, wide world than gazing upon photos and videos of your kids or grandkids — with smiles a mile wide — holding up what they think is a huge “monster” fish (even if it’s just a small sunfish or bluegill), or photos of your family all together enjoying a day of fishing and having fun on the water.
If you love fishing and you want to share it with your family, it’s important to put a little planning in up front to help the experience go as smooth as it can to create those lasting memories and those stories that will be told for years of the monsters that were caught, and the big ones that got away.
To help you introduce the ones you love to a lifetime of fishing fun, the folks at Rapala, the legendary lure maker, offer these tips:
Remember, it’s all about the little wins – If you have smaller kids or beginners in the family, it’s likely they’ll be pulling up smaller catches. Though their sunfish might look measly to you, they might think it’s a monster! Hint, hint: So should you. Snap a picture to remember the beaming look on their faces and use this opportunity to show them how to conserve fish for future generations.
Let them guide you – When and where it’s safe, let the kids “co-pilot” with you by operating your boat’s trolling motor and guiding you to the perfect spot. Kids want to experience what the adults do. Operating a trolling motor will give them experience in positioning the boat and learning how to approach a spot.
Include your partner/spouse or others in your family in the fun – Families come in all shapes and sizes nowadays. Use fishing as an opportunity to gather in the great outdoors and share some precious time together. Involve your partner or spouse, uncles and aunts, grandparents and close friends who feel like family. A day on or near the water can be a great way for a family to get away from our always-on digital world.
Use good quality gear – Don’t skimp on cheap fishing gear. If your low-quality fishing gear breaks or malfunctions, it could ruin the moment. Good gear doesn’t cost a fortune. Choose gear with a lot of positive reviews and fishing lures, like Rapala lures, which are well-known for catching fish. Similarly, be prepared for accidents that happen and practice patience if a rod tip gets broken, a fishing rod falls into the water, or a fishing lure gets stuck high up in a tree. Stuff happens.
Safety first – Being in or around water means safety comes first. Make sure everyone has lifejackets, stays hydrated, and that you brief the kids on hook and water safety before handing over the rod. Remember to check the weather ahead of time so you can bundle up if it's a crisp morning, and bring sunscreen and hats if the sun is blazing.
Bring a scale – Practice catch-weigh-photo-release to get the family in the swing of things. You can even have a competition to see who had the heaviest catch! Weigh the fish caught with a Rapala scale, perfect for taking photos that display just how hefty your catch is.
Don’t forget the snacks! – Make everyone’s day and keep spirits high by bringing special treats along for the ride. Ask each family member their favorite snack beforehand to make sure everyone is included. The only ‘hangry’ ones on your fishing trip should be the fish!
Think beyond fishing to get fishing – Tell stories, take pictures, and bring coloring books for the little ones if they need a break. And remember, it’s okay if not everyone wants to fish. Some members of your family may not be too keen on fishing. Make sure they feel welcome and invite them to read a book or do another activity while others in your family are fishing. They will surely want to be there when the others are showing their catches off.
Fishing is about learning – Fishing can be fun, but it’s also an opportunity to be part of nature and experience other precious moments, such as watching other wildlife (turtles, frogs, ducks, squirrels), identifying plants and trees, learning how a boat works, and trying different types of presentations to see which one is most effective in catching fish. If some members of your family really turn on to fishing, feed that passion with videos about fishing. Rapala has more than 600 informative videos on its YouTube channel alone.
Make a video – Take lots of photos and videos of your fishing trips with the family, then create a short movie with iMovie to help them relive the memories of fishing when it’s cold and wet outside. It’ll be fun to make, and the final product will be a memento your family will cherish forever.