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06-28-2009, 06:32 AM
Tips for helpings kid to fish

By Bob Gregorski Republican-American Plop! Ryan’s bobber splashed on the quiet surface of the tiny pond.

The leader with baited hook barely submerged when the bobber moved downward. Ryan raised the tip of his spin rod and declared, “Papa, I got one.” He reeled in the hand-size bluegill, removed the hook and released it carefully.

That scenario will be repeated many times this summer with our four grandkids, Ryan, 9; Elizabeth, 12; Rachel, 11, and Brian, 10. Some of the vacation fun is fishing for panfish.

As the weather becomes more summerlike, we hope to do some paddling in kayaks and canoes.

Summer vacation is an excellent time to introduce kids to fishing. Over the years, I have watched many parents struggle teaching kids to fish. Here’s a brief primer: For kids ages 3-8, start with a small, inexpensive spin-casting rod with push button reel. The hooks should be small; sizes 12-18 are good to use for catching sunfish.

Press the barbs down on all hooks using needle-nose pliers. It makes the hook barbless and safer to use. The bait only need cover the very end of the hook. Most people practice catch-and-release and barbless hooks cause less harm to fish. The hook may be tied directly to the end of the monofilament line.

I suggest beginners use a bobber on their line. Tiny bobbers are used for tiny fish and large bobbers for large fish. Attach the bobber about 12 to 14 inches above the hook. More than two feet above the hook is difficult to cast.

I do not recommend using night crawlers when fishing for sunfish. Crawler bodies are too fat, and it’s more difficult to hook sunfish because of the large, firm crawler body. The baits that have resulted in many “bites” are small angle worms (a half-inch piece), small kernel corn and scented imitation worms, grubs and maggots.

A small jar of scented bait costs about $4 and will last a whole season. It is easy to carry and put on a hook. Most kids do not mind baiting a hook with them. Carry a towel or wet wipes of some type to clean hands after baiting the hook. These baits have a strong odor.

Now you have rod, reel, bobber, hooks and bait. Here are some other equipment/supplies that will be useful. Carry needle-nose pliers in your tackle pack to remove hooks and nail clippers to cut leaders and line. An inexpensive pair should last a season.

Insect repellent and sunscreen are good to have, as is a small bucket in which to hold sunfish for a few minutes. Be sure the kids understand that all fish will be released unharmed, and that they will be in the pail for only a short period of time.

Take kids fishing. It’s a sport they can enjoy for a lifetime.

Recent sightings at White Memorial Foundation include luna moth, black bear, cecropia moth, Eastern towhee, common nighthawk, common raven, bank swallow, Acadian flycatcher, Blackburnian warbler, indigo bunting, fireflies, N. dusky salamander, orchard oriole, magnolia warbler, mink, horned grebe, golden-crowned kinglet, bluet damselfly, Canada warbler, barred owlets and worm-eating warbler.