Teaching Your Kids to Fish in Mississippi
By: Jon Sutton
Fishing is one of the best ways to spend an afternoon bonding with your kids. It will also get them outside, where they can enjoy some much-needed fresh air and sunshine. But if you want them to enjoy the activity and be eager to return, you’ll want to make sure they catch as many fish as possible. And while you can never guarantee a good day on the water (even pros come up empty from time to time), you can employ a few helpful tactics and strategies that will greatly improve your odds of getting nibbles.
Try to work the following five tips into your plans when teaching your kids to fish. But before you run down to the local lake or river, familiarize yourself with the fishing rules and regulations for Mississippi – you don’t want to draw the scorn of law enforcement and end your day with an expensive ticket. And while your kids won’t need a fishing license if they are under 16 years of age, you will need one.
1. Provide your youngsters with equipment that suits their size and experience level.
It can be a bit tricky to learn how to fish, and your kids will have much better luck if you provide them with age- and size-appropriate equipment when they are getting started. The best rods and reels for children are usually 5- to 6-foot-long spinning or spincasting combos. Most sporting goods stores sell beginner kits containing such a rod, and they usually come with a basic tackle kit too.
2. Chase bold and abundant fish, which are typically easy to catch.
Largemouth bass, crappie and other species often get the bulk of the attention, but these fish are often difficult to catch – that’s part of their appeal. Instead, when fishing with your kids, you’ll want to target more abundant species, who typically don’t hesitate to bite a baited hook. Bluegill (and other panfish) and catfish are both great examples of such fish, and they make the best targets for you and your kids.
3. Use real baits rather than complicated artificial lures.
Artificial lures may be the go-to choice for experienced anglers, but your kids will have better luck using natural baits. Earthworms, red wigglers and crickets are a few of the best choices, but corn kernels or doughballs will also work for panfish, and hot dog slices will work for catching cats. Just tie a float about 1- to 2-feet above the hook, if you are fishing for panfish, or swap the float for a sinker if you want to catch catfish.
4. Choose appropriate fishing locations that are well-suited for beginners.
It’s important to keep safety at the forefront of your mind when teaching your kids to fish. To do so, select a good location, such as a wide-open shoreline or an uncrowded fishing dock. Also, try to avoid areas with overhanging trees or underwater hazards, to prevent as many snags as possible. It’s also a good idea to pick a place with a bathroom nearby whenever youngsters are coming along. Obviously, you could try your luck fishing in the greatest river in the world, but you may have better luck fishing in a smaller lake or pond. The Okatibbee Reservoir, located in the southeastern corner of the state, is a fantastic place to catch either bluegill or catfish. Alternatively, you could try Sardis Lake, which is located right outside Oxford. While most famous for its crappie population, Sardis Lake also contains plenty of bluegill and catfish too.
5. Fish alongside your kids to increase the chances of getting bites.
Getting bites is the name of the game, so be sure to keep your own line in the water. This will improve your chances of getting nibbles, and it will give you the chance to set the hook and then pass the rod to one of your kids. They will then have the chance to battle the fish and pose for the ensuing photographs. Just be sure to rotate between your kids, so that they all get a chance to reel in their own catch.
Jon Sutton is the content manager for Outdoor Empire. He loves to spend time in the woods and on the water. His life has revolved around outdoors since his early childhood days when he caught his first bluegill in his local pond. Since then he has grown into a full-fledged angler, targeting salmon and bass during his free time. He also enjoys hiking, camping and traveling.