Conventional fishing wisdom says that the best way to get kids hooked on fishing is to find an area that is saturated with sunfish, then drown some worms. The action will be hot and the kids will stay interested.
It’s not bad advice, but doesn’t take into account the fact that kids like to catch big fish (or what they believe are big fish). Catching dink sunfish is fun for a little while, but when the bobber goes down and you know it’s a 4-inch bluegill, it’s easy to think about doing other stuff. Spice things up with a little variety!
I write this, because I’m living it with my twin 5-year-olds. They want big fish, and they want a lot of them. That, for us, means it’s time to find largemouth. We target bass all season long, and – I might get booted out of hardcore bass circles for writing this – sometimes even with live bait.
I know, I know, but it’s for the kids, I swear. I’ve yet to meet a largemouth that could eyeball a wriggling leach or a frantic fathead minnow and decide either wasn’t worth eating. They’re not wired that way, and it’s pretty exciting to see a Jaws-level “V” cruising toward your bait, then realizing that it’s on.
The spots that largemouth frequent, especially this time of year, can pose somewhat of a challenge considering they might need to be wrestled out of a lilypad bed or maybe a thatch of pencil reeds. That’s part of the allure and a large part of the fun. Your kids will lose some fish, sure, but they’ll also have the chance to really feel like they did something if they coerce a largemouth into the net.
This summer, forget the bluegills if you’ve got kids who’ve taken an interest in fishing. Get them on some largemouth, and watch how they take to it. After one decent day on the water, they’ll be begging for more – trust me.