Tips for First-Time Fishing with Little Ones

by Sadie Marcheldon

Fishing with small children is one of life’s great joys. It’s a great way to slow down and spend some quality time with them, and the experience is replete with opportunities to learn important life lessons.

Starting early is your best bet for passing the fishing tradition on to the next generation, but it can be a challenge.

A few tips for fishing with the little ones can help you meet that challenge, avoid disaster, and ensure that you helping to create anglers for life.

Planning Makes Perfect

Your planning for this fishing trip should center entirely around your little angler. It’s not a time to hit your favorite spot just because it’s familiar.


Choose a family-friendly fishing spot in your county that you can access easily. If you’re expecting a young child to be able to hike miles through backwoods, you’re going to be disappointed. Look for parking within a stones-throw of your casting spot.
A first fishing trip is about avoiding unpleasantries as much as anything else. As such flush toilets should be high on your list.

Alternative Activities

Look for a venue that has other features to explore, be it a sandy beach, a grassy area for play, or tide pools if near the ocean. Each of these can offer a welcome break when the time comes.
Be sure to pack whatever makes sense for the venue, be it bubbles, a magnifying glass, jars for collecting bugs, sand toys, or whatever the case may be.


The duration of your outing may be the most important key to the trip’s success. The most seasoned little angler will only manage 60 or 90 minutes of fishing, and new anglers often even less than that. Know your child’s limits. Plan to wrap up your trip well before they really want to leave.
The key is to plan for a duration where the child ends the trip in good spirits, catch or no catch.

Before Your Fishing Trip

Once you’ve set the specifics of you fishing trip, preparing your little ones well ahead of go-time will spark their interest and make the whole process easier. Educational materials about fish and aquatic habitats are everywhere online and will fascinate children.

Plan some time to find videos that depict catching the kind of fish you’ll be going after. Where possible, find a video starring a child around the same age as you little one. A single good video of a relatable child catching a fish can trigger interest.

Be careful to set expectations, however. Not every fishing trip results in a catch. Let your child know that the child in the video was very lucky to catch that fish.
If you already have your fishing equipment in hand, now is a great time to have you child examine and handle your fishing rod, reek and other gear. Explain what each item does. If you’re planning to use a boat in your fishing trip, introduce them to the boat and, especially, the controls. Kids don’t have much control in their daily lives, so they love sitting at the controls.

That said, nothing will excite your child as much as seeing your lures, given that they look like bait fish or other creatures. Children are drawn to lures like magnets, but a lure’s hooks are dangerous and this is a great opportunity to learn about that risk. Under extremely close supervision, let your child touch the hooks. They will understand how sharp they are and touching them will temper their urge to touch the hooks when you’re not looking.

Safety Before All

Speaking of safety, depending on the age of your child, you’ll likely want them to wear a PFD on the trip, even if you’re planning to fish from shore. Let them wear their PFD around the house for a bit. They’ll become invested in it and will take to wearing it better for an extended outing.

Young children require extra precautions, but water safety refreshers are a good idea no matter the age of the child or their swimming proficiency. Invest in the appropriate safety equipment for their size; don’t be tempted to “size up” their safety gear to get more mileage from it.

Take Me Fishing has a wonderful collection of safety tips.

Just remember that water safety doesn’t just mean drowning prevention; many a fishing trip is spoiled on an overcast day when reflecting UV light makes for surprise sunburns. Pack hats and sunscreen accordingly.

Patience and Flexibility

Patience will help your little angler to enjoy his or her first fishing trip. Your patience. Fishing involves doing things that have no resemblance to their day-to-day lives, and the novelty can overwhelm them. Brace yourself for a torrent of questions, quite a bit of touching and physical exploration, and an all-around fountain of excitement.

That said, be just as prepared for the inevitable excitement crash. As an adult, the thought of sitting and enjoying the sunlight and fresh air is appealing, but to children it can be excruciating.

It’s a great time to better explain aspects of fishing, pointing out structure where fish might live and putting a child “in charge” of finding the next structure target.

If a child is old enough, it’s even a good time to turn over responsibility for a fish finder, if you have one. The latest portable transducers sync up with your tablet or phone, turning fish finding into somewhat of a game for them. Just be sure to turn on the fish icons, even if they aren’t the most accurate. Just believing that there are fish down there can extend a fishing trip by a half-hour.

If all that fails, it’s time to execute on one or more of the alternative activities you planned out before your trip. Bubbles or a set of sand toys will keep a child close to the beach, so you can keep fishing (to a degree). You can always bring your child back to fishing later after a stint of bird watching, exploring for insects, or whatever the venue offers.

Keep Perspective

Not all fishing trips go as planned, which is a big part of the fun of fishing trips. A first fishing trip with your little one should be no different.

Be flexible and prepare yourself for a range of outcomes, anything from a temper tantrum to a first catch. If you’re lucky, perhaps you’ll have both!


Sadie Marcheldon operates the Monster Fish Lodge with her family operate in Waldhof, Ontario, Canada. Sadie is a contributor to, a site that helps anglers find the best in high-tech fishing gear.

Would you like to submit a guest post on our blog?

Do you run a fishing related website or are you a SEO expert looking for guests posts?

We are happy to allow guest posts on our blog providing that your article meets our minimum requirements.

Our website currently gets between 40,000-100,000 unique users per month so your article is sure to be seen by thousands of users. Fishadviser has a MOZ DA ranking of 54. The article will drive traffic to your website and it will also boost your SEO by providing fishing backlinks.

– Your article must be a minimum of 500 words.
– We wont allow articles that are written purely for self promotion, they must provide value to our users.

Please email us on to find out more.


Looking for some pike fishing action this winter? having a hard time trying to find river/lake locations? We have compiled a list of 10 great locations for pike fishing in Essex, we have also looked at which locations allow live baiting, dead baiting and lure fishing. Most of the fisheries I have listed below are all available on a day ticket.

1. A12 Cuton Lakes – Chelmsford

Pike fishing Essex

This fishery has produced some extremely large pike in the past, one of which was caught 10 years ago that weighed in at a staggering 33lb. It’s not yet known if that fish is still alive today. However, there are plenty of other target fish to get your teeth stuck into such as a 28lb 10oz pike that was caught from the specimen 2 lake. Both of the specimen lakes contain a very large head of pike with 20lb+ fish regularly being caught.

Fishing close to the margins (depths range between 4 to 8 feet deep) can often result in a good days action. Other winning tactics consist of fishing on the back of the wind and using roach as dead bait.

– Dead bait tactics are allowed to be used on both of the lakes.
– lure fishing and live baiting are not permitted on the complex.
– Night fishing for pike is allowed.

The pike fishing season starts from the 1st of November and finishes the 31st of March.

View Fishery

2. Crowsheath Fishery – Billericay

Pike fishing Essex

The main carp/pike lake within its complex is 8.5-acres in size, it contains over 150 Pike with the largest among them reaching the 25lb mark. A lot of the pike are jacks so its great if you are going for a good days sport and to put a bend in your rod.

There was a small separate dedicated pike lake on the complex which was stocked during 2011. However due to its size, it was often full so the owners decided to move all of the Pike into the main lake.

– Live and dead bait only.
– No lure/spinning allowed.

View Fishery

3. The Warren Fishery – Stanford-le-hope

Pike fishing Essex

This main lake on the complex is roughly 19 acres in size with depths ranging between 2 to 10ft.  The lake is broken up into numerous channels, bays, islands and reed beds which are perfect areas to fish for predators.

The lake certainly has some history with regards to large pike, a 50lb pike was once found in the margins (sadly dieing).  The  Pike record currently stands at 28lb 6oz which was caught in March 2009. Perch are also present in the lake with the largest reaching 4lb 7oz, drop shotting tactics can often come into their own when targeting them.

– No livebaiting.
– Nospinning/lure fishing.
– Wire traces must be used at all times with either semi or barbless hooks.

Fishing for Pike is allowed from 1st November until 28th February.

View Fishery

4. Oak Lake Fishery – Southminster

Pike fishing Essex

Oak lake fishery is a day ticket venue in Southminster which has 4 lakes on the complex, one of them being a predator lake. The predator lake contains some truly massive fish such as catfish to 140lb (good luck bringing that in on a lure) and pike to over 30lb. The lake is roughly 3 acres in size with depths ranging from 5 to 16ft, there are also 5 large swims which catfish fisherman are restricted to using. Pike anglers however are not and can freely fish around the entire lake as much as they like.

I have looked through the rules and it doesn’t say that live baiting and lure/spinning are banned.

Pike fishing is from 1st October to 31st March

View Fishery

5. The River Chelmer – Chelmsford

River Chelmer pike fishing

Looking for more of an adventure? maybe you want to have more water to yourself? the river Chelmer could be the perfect choice with miles of river to choose from. There are countless well-known fishing spots such as the Hoe Mill Lock and Springfield basin. Pike come out over 20lb, however a majority of them being caught are jacks. It’s a great place to go exploring and to get a bend in your rod. Other species such as Perch and Chub are regularly caught. In my opinion this is one of the best places for pike fishing in Essex purely because of the sheer amount of pike that are within the river.

Chelsmford AA and the Maldon angling association both have fishing rights to the 12 miles of river. The stretch starts from the gasworks in Chelmsford and ends at Heybridge.

The Rivers/canals close season is from the 15th of March – 15th June.

View Fishery

6. Blasford Hill Fisheries – Chelmsford

Blasford Hill Fisheries pike fishing

There are 2 lakes on the complex the main lake and the match fishing lake. The main lake is 4 acres in size and has reedy bays, Lilli pads, trees and islands. There is also a private exclusive stretch of the river Chelmer which can be fished when paying 8 pounds for a day ticket from the fishery.

The pike in the main lake go up to a very respectable 26lb.

– Live baiting is strictly forbidden

View fishery

7. Crowgreen Fishery – Brentwood

Crowgreen fishery pike fishing

This fishery is renowned for having one of the best catfish lakes in the UK with the current record standing at 120lb. The main lake is 3 acres in size with a large stamp of Carp, Pike, and catfish. There is also 2 match lakes on the complex that have been joined together.

The Pike go to over 20lb in the main lake, which the catfisherman often catch by accident. Most people who fish the venue seem to target the Carp and Catfish so it could present a good opportunity for anglers to catch Pike.

One of the downsides of the venue is it closes down during winter (from the 23rd of December until the 1st of March). The venue is a day ticket however in order to nightfish you normally have to be a regular fisherman at the complex.

No live baiting (dead baits only for pike) No spinning

View fishery

8. Chigboro Fisheries – Heybridge

Chigboro lakes pike fishing

Chigboro Fisheries has 8 lakes on the complex and is extremely popular for Carp fisherman. The most popular lake for Pike fishing is Scraley Mere that contains pike up to the 27lb mark. The lake itself is crystal clear at times with areas that can be very weedy. These are the areas that seem to be very productive for Pike fishing.

I have read through the rules on the fishery and it doesn’t mention whether live baiting and spinning tactics are allowed so it might be best to ask the bailiff. A day ticket at the venue costs £10 (from dawn to dusk).

View Fishery

9. Wicks Mere – Maldon

Wicks mere pike fishing

Wicks Mere is part of the Chelmsford angling association, in order to gain access to the lake you will need to become a member which costs £78 per adult for a year. There are 12 lakes included in the membership so it’s definitely a steal for that price. The lake is 6 acres in size with depths averaging at 10ft with the deepest parts reaching 20ft.

The pike are going over the 25lb mark, there are also other species such as carp reaching 40lb, tench and large Perch. The average sized pike is normally between 3-12lb.

Dead and live baiting is allowed on the venue. For more information about the rules on the lakes the rulebook can be found here.

View Fishery

10. Northlands park – Basildon

Northlands Park is made up of 2 lakes which combined are roughly 6.5 acres in size. Both lakes contain a large amount of pike, a vast majority of them are Jacks. It’s a great place to go if you are looking for a lot of action of smaller Pike. Tactics such as live baiting and spinning are allowed which most lakes don’t allow.

The pike season opens the 1st of Septemer and closes on March the 31st.

View Fishery

Finally you can have a look at all of the pike fishing lakes in Essex by clicking  here