How to Catch Really Big Fish With Kids

Kids love to fish and if you can up their odds for catching bigger fish and different species, so much the better. Here’s how.

Tony J. Peterson

How to Catch Really Big Fish With Kids

Photograph by Tony J. Peterson

When it comes to fishing with kids, conventional wisdom says to find a place where they can catch any fish with a high level of frequency and you’ll make a fisherman for life. That’s true. Fast-action is always a positive, but if that action means catching small panfish over and over with no variety, kids can lose interest.

However, if that action includes taking a variety of fish with the possibility of maybe catching a whopper, then they will enjoy fishing all the more. Getting kids into bigger fish takes a little effort, however, as a recent outing with my girls taught me.

Our choice was either to fish off of the dock or take my twin three-year olds into the boat with my wife and try to find a more interesting spot to fish. It would have been easier to stay on the dock, but I had a hunch we could find a place that would provide better action than the small panfish that congregate near shore. 

Photograph by Tony J. Peterson

Kids thrive when the fishing action is hot, especially if there is the chance to catch multiple species—and possibly—a big fish, like this northern pike.

With the whole crew in the boat, we idled to a point of pencil reeds that mark the inside of an old river channel. A slight current moved through the reeds, and a nearby drop-off provided some depth. In addition to finding sunfish, I thought we might catch a few other species. We did.

Not only did we find bluegills tucked into the pockets between the reeds, but we managed to catch perch, rock bass, crappies, small northern pike, and a bonus 21-inch walleye. Since that experience, I’ve looked at fishing with kids in a whole new way.

The scenario above sounds simple enough, but it took some careful consideration. Here are three key factors to consider that will put your kids onto fish and maybe, onto a monster to boot.

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