Seven pieces of essential gear for fishing with kids

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I've been trying to come up with a list of great gear for fishing with kids. I've got a handful of items, but I'd love to hear what gear you find essential.

Front carrier for real little ones

We've used a variety of these, and I think it's best to have a few to choose from. We've had luck with a Baby Bjorn, Ergo Carrier and a MobyWrap.

Backpack carrier for bigger little ones

I absolutely love the Kelty carrier that we use, but I've tried on the Osprey carriers and they seem like they take com for to the next level. Look for one with a sunscreen that can double as protection from a stray tailing loop.

A few different vests, chest or waist packs depending on how you're wearing your little one

When wearing your little on on the front a waist pack works great, but gets unwieldy when you're got a big waist-strap for the backpack carrier. I try to travel light when fishing with the little ones, but I have a few packs with extra leaders, spools of tippet and other essentials &emdash; so all I need to do is swap a few fly boxes and we're ready to go.

A pack with enough room for snacks, family bug spray and sunscreen

My wife and I have tons of shoulder bags, backpacks, duffels &emdash you name it. We're always stuffing one or another full of baggies of snacks, light-duty bug spray, heavy-duty sunscreen, a blanket for lying on and a few bottles of water.

Big hats for you and the little ones

Sun protection winds up being more important when you're dealing with newish complexions. We have big floppy brimmed hats to give our kids shade from the sun. We also each wear big hats to help block even more sun when the kids are at our heals or we're carrying them.

A clear container for holding the various bugs and critters you may find

I found a great plastic bug container with a magnifying lid for my little entomologist, but any clear container would probably work as well. We also carry a magnifying glass for studying plants and bugs up close.

Big, easy to see flies

I fish with my kids quite a bit, but when I'm delicately dropping #22 baetis on top of picky brown trout I tend to go solo. I try to take the kids out to water where we can fish big bugs or terrestrials &emdash this helps them see the bigger flies and also makes it so they can pick anything from my terrestrial box and I can feel like we at least have a chance to catch a few fish.

What's on your list of essentials?

I'm sure I forgot a few necessary items here &emdash I often forget to bring them with me when fishing. Let me know what you couldn't do without when fishing with the little ones.


said on Thursday, July 11th, 2013

What a cutie-pie!

said on Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

I'm taking my kids fishing tomorrow. They are now 7 and 9 years old. Which is a pretty good age, but they have trouble wading so we stay in the small native trout tributaries. The problem there is they can't focus on the fly very well in small tributary streams due to the gradient and teaching them line management in quick little streams where stripping and quick hook set is critical, but very challenging.

I think the best tools sometimes are:

  1. a good night's sleep for dad for patience
  2. a good meal in everyone's stomachs
  3. bathroom breaks at available opportunities...inevitably they'll want to go #2 when you get in position on the best looking pool of the day
  4. deep breathing exercises to remind yourself they are unfocused, can't understand 27 different instructions, and have child-like motor skills because, well, they are children
  5. there's lots of rocks around. let the kids throw them. lots of them.
  6. fish slow
  7. dawn to dusk is out of the question
  8. swimming is an option. anytime.
  9. resist explaining taxonomy of insects. instead, challenge the kids to catch one and see how it tastes ha ha
  10. that thing you don't normally ever let them have...for mine it is soda...let them have it. When my kids want a drink, I pull out a big 20 oz bottle of Coke and their eyes light up.

Thanks for the bug spray reminder. I need to stop on the way home tonight and grab a fresh bottle!


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