Father Son Fishing Small Jetty

TEACHING CHILDREN TO FISH WITH SOFT PLASTICS

A lot of angler parents have written extensively about using live bait and teaching kids to fish with basic setups and easy applications. I would like to put the case forward to starting kids off on soft plastics. Over the last few years, my seven-year-old has started to express an interest in fishing. He has dipped his foot in the water (both literally and figuratively after one particularly wet accident) and likes what he found.

So we got online and picked him up a nice kids combo, a 5-foot rod with a split butt and a 1000 reel. We picked out some 4lb line, perfect for throwing out soft plastics.

LITTLE KIDS HAVE LITTLE ATTENTION SPANS

My reasoning for diving straight in with the soft plastics, is that small kids have small attention spans. I wanted to start him with an application which would give him some excitement and get him hooked. Long days on the water with minimal action would put him off for life. I needed something exhilarating. For that, I thought of no better place to start than chasing Australian Snapper on soft plastics.

Fishing near Port Phillip is perfect for soft plastic lures. The place is an absolute gem for finding pinkies that like to smash a soft plastic lure. It would be an ideal place for him to learn the skills needed to become a successful fisho like his old man. In the beginning, I would cast for him, then give the rod to him to “jiggle it”, as he likes to call it.

CHOOSING SOFT PLASTICS IS FUN

I have often heard it touted that starting kids on live worms means getting the bait adds to the fun. But at seven-years-old, being confronted by a sea of colours online makes picking out soft plastics fun too. He ponders over the colours with a fascination only a child has for bright objects, finding the right shade that he likes (his favourite colour is green and he always comes away with green plastics). Best of all, they are cheap and I have no worries about him losing anything expensive like a hardbody.

SOFT PLASTICS MAKE FOR SAFER FISHING

Soft plastics are also safe for kids. They are great to fish on single hooks and the fewer hooks around, the fewer chances there are of a trip to A and E.

SOFT PLASTICS ARE EASY TO BAIT

Teaching a child how to bait with a slimy wriggling worm isn’t easy. Their dexterity is not yet optimal and the added factor that a lot of kids find slimy bait disgusting. Using a what is essentially a brightly-coloured plastic toy to teach kids how to bait a hook is less off-putting and much easier.

Next time you are teaching a little one to fish, consider soft plastics for an afternoon of action on the water that both child and adult can enjoy.


 

What do you think? Have you taught your children to fish with soft plastics? Let us know in the comments section below.

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John Steele
johnsteele@dinga.com.au

John loves cooking at home and outdoors, travelling, fishing and discovering a new life. He's got loads of experience he wants to share while he adventures through retirement.