Few memories stick out in our minds as clearly as catching our first fish, and who we were with when we caught it. If you’re needing a special pre-Father’s Day treat, teach kids the ropes this June and remember, it’s the memories that count the most. Don’t have a fishing permit? No worries! Young angling enthusiasts can bait their hooks and cast their lines for free on Saturday, June 11 during the Tennessee Wildlife Resource Agency’s (TWRA) Kids’ Fishing Rodeos. On this day only, kids can fish without licenses or fees. It’s a great opportunity to give it a whirl.
The biggest thing to know about going fishing with kids is that it is about spending quality time together.
Avoid putting pressure on yourself or the kids by expecting to catch lots of fish or especially big fish: Remember they call it fishing — not catching — for a reason. Patience is the key! Fishing provides a great time to learn more about your kids and to just talk.
Kids will remember these moments forever, and it’s the little things that stick with us. It’s not about the big boat; or stopping at nothing to bring home a bucket of fish; or spending time buying all of that high-quality fishing equipment. Favorite memories come from laughter, simple surprises and just being together. So before you head out on your first fishing trip this summer, remember: keep it simple!
It’s not the time to try out new spots or to practice new techniques. Go to a tried-and-true location where you know fish will be. Smaller ponds that are well stocked are a great choice, simply because you don’t have to search hard for fish. Just cast out a worm and you’ll be reeling in fish in no time.
DO’S AND DON’TS
DO plan for a shorter day
Simplicity is key and you don’t want to drag out the day. Set aside enough time for fun, but don’t expect it to go as planned.
DO pay attention to weather
Is it cool and windy? Chance of rain? This will make a huge difference, especially if you plan on casting your line from a boat. If it rains, don’t grab the umbrellas and head out anyway. There will be more sunny days.
DO go to “small” water, especially if your kids are little
Small ponds make it easier to catch a fish. As kids grow older, you can start experimenting with larger lakes and heading out on boats.
DO choose live bait
This is the easiest way to catch a fish if you’re a beginner. If it’s your child’s first time fishing, use live bait such as mealworms or wax worms — everything that swims will eat it.
DON’T carry too much
Keep your equipment light. The last thing you want is to lug along loads of heavy equipment and use your time together getting it all setup. Your fishing rod, your kids new fishing pole, bait, snacks, sunscreen, water, hand sanitizer and towels. Done.
DON’T target a specific fish
This can be way too complicated, especially with younger kids. Whatever they catch, whether it be a giant catfish or little tiny bluegill, make a big deal of it!
DON’T stay in one spot
Move around and let your kids have a say on where they want to go next. If they are young and you’re not getting a bite for the first five or 10 minutes, move on!
DON’T take things for granted
Be mindful of where you choose your fishing spot, watch the kids closely, and never let your kids bait a hook or handle fishing equipment by themselves unless they already know how. Guide them through it and assist them with their first cast.
FREE KIDS’ FISHING RODEOS ON SATURDAY, JUNE 11
Hendersonville Fishing Rodeo
139 East Main Street, Hendersonville
Come out from 7 – 11 a.m. for this fishing rodeo sponsored by the Hendersonville Parks Department. Register when you arrive. Parking will be available at the other end of the park. Bring your own pole and bait. Catch a fish and get a picture and a prize!
Springfield Free Fishing Rodeo
J. Travis Price Park
4155 Wilks Road
Springfield, TN, 37172
Old Hickory Lake Kids Fishing Derby
Old Hickory Lake
1598 Lock 4 Rd
Westmoreland Fishing Rodeo
Westmoreland City Lake
Westmoreland, TN, 37186
Kingston Springs Fishing Rodeo
LL Burns Park
LL Burns Park Kingston Springs
George Gregory Memorial Youth Fishing Rodeo
Williamsport Lakes- Whippoorwill Lake
3880 Williamsport Pike
Williamsport, TN, 38487
Giles County Humane Association Kids Fish Day
181 Old Highway 64
181 Old Highway 64, Frankewing, TN 38459
New Lake Youth Fishing Event
1719 New Lake Rd.
Lewisburg, TN, 37091
Ed Carson Memorial Free Kids Fishing Day
Coy Gaither Bedford Lake
125 Lake Rd, Bedford Lake
Montgomery County Kids Fishing Rodeo
Liberty Park Pond: Clarksville, TN
1188 Cumberland Drive
Gum Spring Fishing Rodeo
Gum Springs Baptist Church Pond
1990 Fall River Road
Leoma, TN, 38468
Free Fishing Day at Bridgestone/Firestone WMA
Carl Cude Lane
Sparta, TN, 38583
City of Dickson Fishing Rodeo
City Lake (Buckner Park)
Dickson, TN, 37055