Going fishing on the Tennessee River was one of the first dates I had with my husband–I fell in love with him watching him fillet some fish in the backyard. Even still, fishing isn’t my first pick of weekend activities, but it is my husband’s and the boy’s.

I’ll bring the snacks and take the pictures. And share a few of the tips we’ve learned that make the outing a little less stressful for everyone.

  1. Have a fishing pole and tackle box for everyone. Sharing doesn’t work in our house—even the 1.5-year-old gets his own. Otherwise, the outing is over before it starts.
  2. Go to a stocked pond or lake if possible, catching something will make it more exciting for everyone.
  3. If it’s private property, hopefully the grass is mowed.
  4. If fish aren’t caught—stay positive and don’t feel rushed!
  5. Practice casting in the yard before you go. The 3.5-year-old and his dad like to play games seeing who can cast closest to certain objects.
  6. Time the outing for the morning, before it’s hot and before kids get cranky and need naps.
  7. Bring a cooler full of drinks, snacks, and beef jerky for when someone starts to fuss. (Beer for the uncles).
  8. Have the kids wear rainboots. Someone’s always getting in the water and leaving with blistered feet if tennis shoes are worn.
  9. We like to bring a bucket to fill with water and watch the fish. This was especially fun when the boys were smaller.
  10. Live bait vs. artificial bait? Husband says artificial is easier when the kids are small. If you are using live–try not to act grossed out when the hook goes through that slimy little body (I’m talking to me on this one).
  11. Forget the boat—stay on the shore. It makes for easier escapes if needed.
  12. Don’t forget a first aid kit. No one wants a hook through their finger–but if it happens, better have some wire cutters and disinfectant spray.

There are our favorite fishing picture books to read together.

The Berenstain Bears: Gone Fishin’!

We Love Fishing!

The Three Little Bass and the Big Bad Gar (This one is especially sweet because it was written by a little boy and illustrated by his mother).

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