Somehow over the summer I became addicted to fishing. For years I have dramatically stated there was no way I’d ever go fishing. The idea of being silent at the water’s edge held zero interest to me. I’m a talker, I don’t sit still, I still have vivid memories of a failed attempt to put a worm on a hook at age 7. Fishing wasn’t supposed to be in the cards.

I should learn never to speak in absolutes. I have a husband who grew up fishing. I have two boys who wanted to give fishing a go. I didn’t want to be left out. So, towards the end of the summer Canadian Tire had a great sale on fishing rods and we outfitted the family. Seeing as we had no idea as to the true level of interest on the part of our sons (or me, for that matter) there was no way we were breaking the bank on rods.

As I have delved (with a ridiculous amount of enthusiasm) into fishing I have learned a few things to make the outing a bit more family-friendly.

Bring food. Without a doubt, the kids will get hungry within moments of breathing in fresh air. To make sure you get a good chunk of time to enjoy your fishing experience (and to justify all the time you put into prepping for the fishing excursion) pack a ridiculous number of snacks. The other reality is that fishing locations are next-to-never located close to a drive-thru. You are out in the wilderness and grabbing a quick bite isn’t especially convenient.

Digging in the mudBring toys. While our eldest (aged 6) can cast for a good hour without losing interest, the little one (aged 4) tuckers out after 10 or so casts. To keep both of them entertained while mom and dad go for the “big one” we’ve found that shovels are our best friend. Kids can dig for HOURS. We try to visit fishing venues that have sandy beaches which provide endless digging opportunities for those so inclined.

Bring lures…lots. I’ve been out fishing 8 times and I’ve lost 4 lures. Now I may be a complete disaster because I’m new to this, but be prepared to lose a lure or two. Those little hooks get stuck in the mud, on old fishing lines left in the water, snarled in tree debris and goodness knows what else. Canadian Tire had a number of great lures packaged together for relatively an inexpensive amount. I’d recommend starting there.

Bring a multi-tool. When lures get stuck the line needs to be cut. A new lure (with a wickedly sharp hook) needs to be pulled out of the tackle box. Life is infinitely easier if you have a multi-tool of sorts to handle the surprising amount of fiddly work done at the water’s edge. Be sure you know how to tie a good knot. Believe it or not, there are specific knots for tying on fishing lures and whatnot.

Fishing in funBring your fishing license. Having a license at home isn’t good enough, nor is having the image on your phone. The Department of Fisheries is very clear: you must have a paper license that is signed with you when putting your rod in the water. Be sure to check out the current fishing regulations. They change almost daily. The regulations outline restrictions such as the type and number of fish you are allowed to bring home, the type of bait/lures you are allowed to use, and the types of licenses you must have to fish in various locations. I highly recommend the useful website

Bring boots. Fishing can be a muddy and wet experience. I learned the hard way that runners are a ridiculous idea. Sure if you are on a boat that might be a great idea, but when fishing on the side of a river boots are a must. Don’t bring your lovely Hunter boots, I can promise you those boots will never look the same.

My first fishHave fun being out in nature with the kids. Even if you do get skunked (and that is going to happen a whole lot more than anyone ever wants to admit) everyone will have had a memorable experience. You could even try a nature bingo game (e.g. who spots a bald eagle, a heron, a jumping fish, etc). And one final idea, bring a change of clothes for the kids. I am constantly amazed by my children’s ability to cover themselves in dirt.

If you want to ease into fishing check out the inexpensive fishing lessons offered by Go Fish BC.