At New Lattitude Sportfishing, we love fishing with kids. Kids are the bread and butter of our business. Over half of our fishing trips are trips that are centered around parents bringing their kids out fishing. Many of those kids whose parent’s have brought them fishing over the years with us have grown up and become our regular customers as adults. It’s for this reason that we try to specialize in fishing trips centered around getting kids into the enjoyment of fishing. Read below my 10 recommendations when taking kids out fishing.
Top 10 Recommendations When Fishing With Kids
- Choose a calm day. Look ahead at the weather and see which day looks best for taking the kids out. Don’t choose a rough day. Our charters sail in just about any conditions, so don’t expect the captain to cancel a charter if it’s a rough day. Look ahead at the weather and choose a day where the wind will be 10 knots or less in velocity. This way the waves won’t be over 2-3 ft high, giving you a nice day to take the kids fishing.
- Keep the trip short. Kids don’t have that long of an attention span. A 4 hour trip is perfect for kids. If it’s their first trip, don’t get too ambitious with trying to bring them out for 6 or 8 hour charter. Just in case they get seasick or too hot or the fishing is slow, you don’t want them to get bored and not want to come back out again. Keep it short and keep them wanting you to take them back out fishing again and again.
- Make the trip about the kids. Don’t go after the 1 giant fish that may or may not jump on the line. Fish for small to medium sized fish that are the most likely to bite. Stick with fishing for baitfish with the light tackle rods, or trolling for the small bonitos and tunas we catch around the channel marker buoys, or perhaps try some bottom fishing for snappers (if they have been biting good). Fish for fish that are high percentage to catch and numerous. Go for numbers, not size.
- Get a charismatic crew. I don’t normally say anything negative about my competitors and this is not such a negative statement about them as it is a positive statement about us. But we flat out have the most charismatic crew out of any fishing charter in Fort Lauderdale. It’s a rare day that I don’t get a customer banging on my office window to tell me how outstanding our crew are to fish with. Our crew are all about making the trip a great experience for all ages, but they truly excel when it comes to fishing for kids.
- Don’t bring an iPod. Kids spend half their lives now staring into the little 4 inch screen on their phones and other electronic devices. Kids need to unplug once in a while too. Teach kids that there is more to life than staying connected to social media every second of the day. Take 4 hours off the internet and enjoy some quality time with your family on the ocean.
- Sunglasses and Sunscreen. Sunglasses are the one thing that we don’t supply. The ocean surface is very bright with the sun’s reflection and the glare can be brutal. Sunglasses make it so that you don’t have to squint the entire trip. Also, the polarized sunglasses can help you see down lower into the water to see the fish better. It makes for a more enjoyable experience to wear your shades and for your eyes to be comfortable than the alternative. A hat can be good too. Never forget to put on some sunblock. Kids burn easy and you don’t want to ruin any days of your precious vacation.
- Choose a Morning Trip. Kids tend to have more energy in the mornings. I recommend a morning trip so they aren’t already too worn out from playing that they are too tired to fish. I would love to have half as much energy as kids do in the morning. Use this to your advantage and teach them the ritual of getting up early to go fishing. Also, in Florida especially, it can get hot in the afternoons. It’s usually significantly cooler in the morning hours. Another benefit of getting up early to go fishing.
- Bring snacks. Don’t fail on this one. Most charter fishing boats don’t include food and drinks on the trip. And the few that do, usually have very limited selections. Pack some snacks that everyone will enjoy. Kids get hungry when they are fishing and it’s a great way to keep them entertained in between catching fish. One of my favorite healthy snacks to bring on the trip are those little clementine oranges. They are self contained, easily peeled with your fingers, not too messy and they taste great. Every kid likes to unpeel a clementine. Chips, crackers, cookies, sandwiches with the crust cut off, fruit, juice boxes and plenty of waters are all good selections. Bring some food and drinks with you on the trip because there are no grocery stores out on the ocean.
- Get Rest the Night Before. Don’t let the kids stay up too late the night before. Get a good night’s sleep. They will have more energy for their fishing trip the next day and be more eager and excited to get up and go fishing. Kids that are too tired don’t enjoy the trip as much and are too exhausted to put much effort into the fishing part of the trip. Also, kids that are tired from staying up too late have a much higher chance of getting sea-sick than kids who get a good night’s rest. Same thing for adults as well. But if you want to have a good experience, invest in a little extra sleep the night before so you can get up early more easily and get on the water with some energy to catch whatever bites the lines.
- Keep your camera ready. Make sure you charge your phone the night before so you have lots of battery to get those pictures throughout the day. Be ready with the camera because the best moments happen quick and only those ready to snap the pic will get it. These are the pictures you will ultimately put in the senior yearbook, or the wedding day montage of photographs, so get some good ones! The best pictures are often not the ones you pose for but the ones that are captured in the heat of the moment, such as battling a fish, or swinging a nice one over the covering board. Get pics of them feeding the pelicans or checking out the live baits in the live bait tank. Snap a shot of the kids looking down into the fish box at all the fish they just caught. There will be lots of great, picture-taking moments on the boat. Snap away and go through them after the trip. I bet you find some real ‘keepers’ mixed into your camera roll.
Fishing with kids is great. I find the best thing about kids is that you get to teach them all the cool things about this world we live in and see them experience them for the first times. It’s almost like re-living your youth when you get to share your favorite things you enjoyed growing up with your kids. I can still remember my dad waking me up early to come to work with him (he was a fisherman too). I remember the pick-up ride to work while I was still half asleep, heading out the inlet out to the fishing grounds where just about anything could happen that day. I can still recall so many of the great moments we had together fishing when I was just a kid. Check out our different fishing options and see what charter/trip you think would be a good fit for you and your family to take the kids on a kid’s fishing trip. Sea ya out there!
Capt. Rod Roydhouse