Fishing With Your Family: Everything You Need to Know


As I watch my son diligently working away at organizing his tackle box preparing for our next fishing adventure, I hear him say, “You always need string, so when your line breaks, you can fix it.”

The wisdom of a six-year-old, who, through fishing, has just learned an important life lesson. When something breaks, you always have to be prepared to fix it.

Fishing goes back many generations in my husband’s family, from his own grandfather teaching him to fish at a young age to my husband handing my son his first pole at the age of one.

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It was even one of the first things my husband and I did together. From the moment I caught my first fish, I was hooked (pun intended). Now, fifteen years later, and with two kids obsessed with fishing every minute of the day, we have learned a few things.

Fishing Essentials

Of course, you will need fishing poles. Dicks and/or Academy Sports are good places to pick up some spinning reels, which are good for most types of fishing. For the kids, you might want to grab a closed-face or spin casting reel to prevent them from tangling up the line.

Trust me; you do not want to spend your entire trip untangling the fishing line (been there, done that – no, thank you! ). 

In our tackle boxes, you can always count on some weights (various sizes and shapes), circle hooks, bobbers, lures (many, many different types), extra fishing line, pliers (you’ll need these to get those hooks out), and a fish lip gripper (this is helpful for pictures because it allows you to hold fish up with ease). My husband also has a good, sharp fishing knife on hand to cut up bait and line.


Other good things to have for kids are gloves (it takes time for them to be comfortable touching the fish), a small net for pulling out the bait if you get live shrimp, and hand sanitizer. 

When you are planning your first fishing trip, make sure to go to one of our local shops for all the tricks of the trade. Especially if you are going offshore, ask about which poles and reels you will need for trolling and reef fishing. Make sure to get at least a 15-20 pound line.

My sons love going to the “fishing store” to pick our new lures and get a bucket of live shrimp.

Other Essentials

Coolers with ice (one with drinks and one with only ice for your fish, if you plan to keep them).

Lots of snacks; apparently, fishing makes everyone hungry and thirsty.

Folding chairs are easy to pack and carry to a location for fishing. If you want to invest, as we did, you can purchase chairs specifically for fishing which come with pole holders, mini coolers to hold your bait, and a cup holder. If you are hiking to a spot, purchase some chairs you can carry on your back.

Sunscreen! Any time of year, you will need to protect your skin from the sun with some sunscreen and a hat (no one will have a good time if you all get sunburned!), but especially when it’s hot outside, you might want to add an umbrella and some fans to your kit.

First aid kit: just in case! Pro tip: never pull the hook out if you get stuck in the skin; the barbs on the hook will rip the wound open. We always start by teaching the boys hook safety. Rule #1: Never leave your hook on the dock! Rule #2: Also, watch your hook. 

If you really want to invest in fishing different locations, I recommend getting a fishing cart to carry all the things. This cart has hole holders, a large base for a cooler, and a tray to cut bait. 

Freshwater Fishing

If you are going freshwater fishing for catfish or bass, here are some specific things to make sure you bring:

  • For catfish, you will want some weights and bobbers, along with a heavy dose of patience. 
  • For bass, you will need lures and a strong arm for frequently casting and reeling. 
  • Also, remember the bread. You can ball it up on the hook to catch a smaller bream to put on your line to catch the “big ones.”

Saltwater Fishing

If you are going saltwater fishing, here are some specific things to bring: 

  • Live shrimp from a local bait shop (I recommend calling first to ensure they are in stock). You can also pick up some frozen squid as well.
  • Stronger line! You never know what you will catch, so better to be prepared.
  • Bread – again, my son is our small bait catcher. He catches pinfish easily with a bread ball anywhere.

And don’t forget to ask the locals! Fishermen love sharing!

Coming Soon: A Guide to Local Fishing Spots



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