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Please Help Me Introduce My Daughter to Fishing...


AC Moderators
Staff member
My daughter is about to turn 3 here in a few days, and all of a sudden, cannot stop talking about going fishing with me. This is a little odd, as I haven't been fishing hardly at all since she's been born, and really don't talk about it. But, hey, I'm not going to complain if this gets me back out on the water.

Generally speaking, she loves to be outside, doesn't mind getting dirty, and isn't afraid of bugs or anything like that.

I'm looking for some tips on how to introduce her to fishing and keep it interesting for her so she'll want to keep going with me, especially now that we have a newborn son and she could use some one on one time away from her baby brother to still feel like she's important to daddy. I kind of get the basics -- start with short trips and fish for some easier to catch species. That's really not such a problem, as there's a large pond at a park very close to our house, where I've caught plenty of bluegill in the past to use as catfish bait. That part, at least, shouldn't be too hard. I guess I'm wanting some tips on little things I can do that others have used to make those first few fishing trips interesting enough to keep her wanting to go again and again.

Thanks in advance!


Discus Addict
Staff member
Sounds like you already have the hard part out of the way; a place to catch bluegill. They usually bite consistently once you find them so the action is steady enough to keep her interested. She should have her own rod and reel. I got my granddaughter a little spincast combo with Scooby Doo on it when she was 5. She's 10 and still uses it. I used to use white bread to catch bluegill with her; a little ball squeezed around the tip of the hook with a tiny bobber on the line about 18" above the hook. At first I had to cast it out for her but she quickly got the hang of it and could cast it out like a big girl in no time. We still go fishing whenever she visits. It's awesome that you can pass it along to your daughter. Best of times...



Betta Be Good to Me
Mark's idea of a kid-sized rod/reel set is awesome, but maybe cane-pole fishing would be easier for you both for your first trip or two? I have great memories of going fishing with my dad at an early age ... although I have to confess that "going fishing" and "catching fish" weren't always synonymous. :)


AC Members
Since she's not squeamish about bugs and stuff put her in charge of finding the bait. That will make her feel like an important part of the process.


Smash the owl!
Oh man, I was always SO excited for my Dad to take me fishing. I couldn't WAIT when I was about that age. I would beg him every weekend to take me with him and his friends (who I am sure didn't want a tag along 3 year old) to fish on Lake Murray. When my dad did start taking me he kept my interest by teaching me to bait my own hooks, very carefully of course, with crickets and worms. He got me my own kids fishing rod so I felt like I had my own gear, and taught me how to wait for the tap and or watch for the bobber to get jerked under the water. When i was really small I only really remember catching some tiny bluegill, bream, catfish, and the occassianal baby bass. After he helped me reel in my first fish though I was addicted. I wanted to go fishing all the time. I know you live here in SC with me, so you probably know of all the great fishing spots we have here. I hope she enjoys it and you guys have a good time. Catch a pan worthy catfish for me ;). - Ash

the wizard

Is it really Niko's fault?
My daughter loves going fishing with me. The first couple of times I didn't bring my rod and reel, it was all about her. That way you won't get distracted from her when you get a bite. She has her own rod and reel and I would just talk to her while we wait for something to strike.

That is the key, the conversation, every little girl needs daddy's full attention now and then. Good Luck.


AC Members
Oh, Frank! What a lucky girl your daughter is. My daddy took me fishing when I was little and I loved everything about it, except the worms. Still don't like them unless they're in my garden. I had my own rod and reel. If I got tired of my own fishing, Daddy would let (help) me bait his hook (except worms, which I wanted no part of) and "help" him reel in his catches. Wonderful times. It made me feel like I was such a big girl.


AC Moderators
Staff member
You guys are great! Thanks so much for sharing your tips and stories! By all means, if anyone has anything else to share, please do.

It seems pretty set now... She'll get some sort of fishing gear for her birthday. We have a good size backyard, so if I buy a rod and reel, I think I'll set her up with a practice plug and try to teach her a little bit about casting before we go (thankfully, she LOVES to pretend), and make it into a little game for her while she figures things out. If she doesn't get it, no big deal... I won't mind doing it for her and then letting her do the rest. Or, the cane pole idea is great, too. It'll be less complicated, and there's less coordination needed. I actually have a couple of the telescoping fiberglass cane poles already, but I'm kind of feeling like I need to get one for her that she can really claim as her own. I think it is time to head out to the shed and find one to clean up for her. I'm sure she'll end up putting all kinds of stickers on it. LOL

If I get her a rod and reel, I definitely think I'll go without a rod for myself. But, if I go with the cane pole idea, I think it would be hard to not take one for myself!


No freelancing!
Check out here: http://www.takemefishing.org/

Contact your local G&F/DNR and see what programs they offer, as well. Fishing with others her own age after a couple primers with you might help as well.

Hunting and fishing is losing popularity and it's a tragedy, both in terms of lost culture and wildlife management. Most states fund wildlife management primarily through license sales. No license sales, less money to support the animals and their habitat.


AC Members
Most important thing is to find the action and find it quickly. Next, when the fish aren't biting (and they weren't the last time I went out with my twins) be ready to switch gears. We turned getting skunked into an adventure of finding old crawdad claws and freshwater clam shells, seeing if we could spot the bird that was making different calls, and wondering if blue or green dragonflys could catch more mosquitos.

The important thing is getting them out there, getting the wheels in the brain turning, and making sure they realize that nature just isn't behind the glass at the zoo or on Animal Planet.