After over three decades of guiding anglers from all walks of life, some of the most enjoyable trips have been with parents and their sons and daughters and teaching them the proper understanding of time on the water, catching fish, and how to use tackle properly. Young people deserve a little bit of extra time to develop a feeling for what's right and wrong. Relationships in guiding are built on patience and understanding with adults and especially the little folks at times even more.
The first time a youngster sets the hook on a fish in my boat and his eyes are as big as saucers, it brings a big smile to my face and an ever increasing atta boy or girl to my attitude. It now becomes a parent that is proud of Joey or Megan for they are part of that fishing adventure that they so want them to be part of. Every fish is as important as the first to kids and always make sure they are aware of how important each fish is. Take a picture especially if it's their first of any species. That memory can be all important for them to share with friends and family members.
There are often down times in the day and make sure you are somewhat of an entertainer. Talk about your surroundings and call their attention to birds, loons, ducks, swans and anything that can create a bond about the day. Fishing of course is the main ingredient of the day and explain every aspect of how they are catching fish. If you have two youngsters in the boat make sure you are not paying too much attention to one over the other. Get the adult involved as much as possible and they too may need to observe the technical part of having guidance for a successful day on the water with their kids. As a guide our responsibility is to get all aboard opportunities to catch fish, but to also teach the proper use of equipment and explain the reasons and how to cast and retrieve. Start youngsters out with the same equipment that you use to make it easier when you go it alone. Most kids want to be like you the parent and at times copy everything you do. My recommendation is to teach kids how to use an open face spinning reels from the start and it will make things easier in the future for their comfort zone when fishing.
Fish for species they can catch and feel proud of every bite they get. When taking them out boredom can be a big part of their day without catching something. The smallest fish can be the biggest one to them because they caught it. As a guide, I always try to get them bit and panfish, perch and small northern pike can be an asset for youngsters. Teach them correctly, have a lot of patience, and you will have a fishing partner forever. Trust me.
Tom Neustrom is one of the best fishing guides in Minnesota and a tireless promoter of the fishing industry, with over 35 years of experience. Tom is well known for providing customers with memorable guides fishing trips for walleye, northern pike, bass, muskies and panfish. Find Tom at mnfishingconnections.com