Bring Kids Fishing: 8 Useful Tips if you’re bringing them offshore fishing
|A happy bunch enjoying their day|
This June School Holiday I brought some kids out for fishing with Prince of Peace fishing charters in Singapore (Jeff Tsen) which departs from SAF Yacht Club at Sembawang and although it was massively tiring, the trip went really well and everyone had some fun but also picked up some basic light offshore fishing around Pulau Ubin, Seletar and Changi waters. The kids did well!
Contact for the Prince of Peace fishing charters:
+65 9742 8579, Facebook
I won’t be sharing on the narrative of the trip but rather here are some tips that can guide you if you’re planning such trips (if not you can sign them up for some basic fishing courses in Singapore).
The most important thing to take into consideration for offshore fishing is seasick. Seasick can really take the joy out of a good day’s fishing. Prepare some pills and practical advice (e.g. I brought novomin for the kids and we had “light” breakfast like bread). Remember to also take the monsoon and terrain into consideration. Bringing kids out into a “hardcore” southern island trip isn’t really going to do them favours. Rather, start out with a light offshore fishing trip in sheltered waters like Pulau Ubin, Sembawang, Seletar, Changi etc.
2. Start off with baits and a simple first spot
Kids aren’t going to start off with state of the art fishing techniques and they certainly won’t be “on the ball” when fishing difficult terrain. Whether a spot looks promising won’t matter to them and you want the most effective no brainer methods to get fish on the boat. To do this would be to do some good old baiting. Baiting will enable a larger variety of fish to get hooked and also get them acquainted with fishing in a fun way since bait handling often produces much excitement. Also, work with the captain to establish a few “tester” or check out spots so that the kids get a hang of it before you bring them to the more promising spots.
3. Simple rigs, simple gear, simple instructions
Go simple! Use simple single hooked apollo/paternoster rigs, running sinkers and even sabiki rigs. There is no need to use fancy madai jigs, tenyas and all sorts of complicated rigs. This applies to gears as well – a spinning tackle setup often is the norm here and avoid overhead setups. Instructions should also be very simple and easy language will help kids remember. Use terms like “do you feel the bottom?”, “Is there still bait on the hook?”, “lower down the line”, “strike the rod”… instead of terms like “open the bail arm.”
4. Establish basic safety and ground rules
Basic safety rules are very important when bringing kids out because they will base safety gauges from their first trip. Start them off well! Simple things like sitting down when the boat is moving, bracing for a wave when anchoring and so on must be repeated. Teach them to also identify venomous fish if you catch any and how to remove the hook from fishes. Things like etiquette also apply.
5. Have patience, low expectations and much praises
Kids will be kids so be patient! Keep low expectations too. They may squirm when hooking a bait, they may lose good fish during the fight and maybe even break your gear. As the adult, keep calm, keep the mood up. They won’t instantly fish on the same level as you. Instead, praise them regularly for small things (like hooking a bait, catching a small fish etc.) that may seem very mundane to you.
6. Take many pictures
Memories are priceless. In the past we didn’t have phone cameras but it is different now and you can snap many pictures easily. A kid posing with their first fish is always one that brings back sweet memories. You get the idea.
7. Have a buddy onboard and a good adult to kid ratio
Don’t think you can do it alone and always bring a buddy with you if you’re bringing a large group of kids. 2 to 3 kids per adult is a good ratio to work with. Also communicate well with your buddy and be good examples to the kids. How fellow fishermen treat each other is something that kids pick up. You should also check if the boatman or charter has experience with bringing kids out. Most should be fine but there are some that only bring experienced fishermen out and may be less suitable.
8. Be adequately equipped
You’ll be surprised at what kids may need (that you don’t). Bring some basic necessities. Plastic bags for keeping fish, rain coats in case of rainy weather, caps for sunny weather and so on. Ensure there is enough water, food on board as well. Kids usually don’t have these things on their minds as the excitement is more on the fishing trip so take note!
Sharing some pictures of our catches below:
Nigel started a Bring Kids Fishing initiative years ago. At Bring Kids Fishing, we believe that parents should be equipped with basic fishing knowledge (so that they can bring their kids fishing!). Currently, the initiatives are being kept to small groups for friends and family as Nigel is busy with family and married life. He hopes that the community as a whole invests more time into bringing kids fishing. That, in his opinion, will be much more powerful than a single person trying.