MidWest Kids Outdoors: Touching Fish and Bait is a Big Deal


In the June issue of MidWest Outdoors, bass columnist Buck Mallory covers an easy progression of teaching kids to fish—and enjoy fishing.

“It might sound a little over-the-top, but teaching kids how to fish is sort of like training a Labrador retriever how to hunt,” says Mallory. “You need to break everything down and not try to do too much right away or cram everything into one session. You want to address a lot of the minutia a little bit at a time to keep the kids’ enthusiasm high!”

One step is getting kids comfortable with the “touchy-feely” parts of fishing. Namely, handling fish and live bait.

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“For most kids, just getting their first lesson about catching fish, it’s a big deal to just touch a fish or a even a waxworm that you’re going to use for bait,” says Mallory. “If a kid is reluctant, don’t force the issue; let him or her get comfortable with the other aspects of the sport, such as casting and just watching the bobber and reeling in when that bobber goes down.”

Mallory suggests a big first step is just getting a young student to touch a fish while the teacher holds it.

“From there, you explain how to hold it so the fish can’t stick you with its dorsal fin, and most kids will be comfortable holding a fish before releasing it in short order,” Mallory says.