Now that kids are back to school and you are trying to get in some last minute summer fun, maybe it is time to take your son, daughter, grandchild, niece, or nephew fishing? Living in South Florida many of us take all our natural resources for granted, like our fabulous beaches, or world class waterways. When you take a child fishing you create a memory that will last a lifetime, it's a bonding time with them and nature. One of the greatest facets of fishing is its non-discriminatory nature. Quite simply, the fish don't care if you're tall or short, big or small, old or young, rich or just getting by. If a bait is presented properly, a fish will bite no matter who is holding the other end of the line. This activity is a great way to get the kids out of the house, off the iPhone and bond with you and nature. Toddlers as young as two can begin fishing with the assistance and guidance of their parents or grandparents.
While many adults are eager to teach their youngsters, there is a right way, and a wrong way, to introduce a child to fishing. One of the biggest mistakes you can make is to rush a child into fishing with overexposure, especially with the South Florida heat. When it's time to actually fish, plan a short trip of an hour or less. Go when the weather is ideal and you have a place in mind where the child is certain to catch fish, like a fishing pier. Sunny Isles Beach and Dania Beach have some great pier fishing that is an easy introduction for kids and certainly makes for a fun day for the family.
After a few outings, slowly increase the length of future trips. Try fishing in periods. Fish for 30 minutes and then take a break. Fish for 30 minutes and then take another break. Snacks and snack breaks can do wonders for young anglers. Granola bars, crackers, nuts, and cheese sticks all fit the bill. Keep these snacks out of the sun, ideally in a cooler, and avoid chocolate as it causes melty messes. In addition to food, water and juice boxes help revive a child's energy level and can elongate a trip.
With young children, it's inevitable that things will go awry. Snags and tangles are all part of the process. Instead of showing frustration, teach your child that mistakes are OK and are a part of learning. Children, just like adults, need equipment that is built for their needs. A 5-year-old, or even an 8-year-old, cannot handle adult-sized rods and reels comfortably. Shorter rods and smaller, lighter reels will reduce fatigue and overall frustration. Mitchell manufactures a number of 5 1/2-foot combos that are perfect for kids ages 7 and up, in particular, the Mitchell Avocet R Combo. Some fishing piers even allow you to rent a rod, so you don't have to make a big upfront purchase of equipment.
So get outside and teach your children a great hobby, and some valuable life lessons, like patience and the love for nature. Here are two great local spots that are easy to get to and have many amenities for the family to enjoy.
Newport Fishing Pier
Address: 16501 Collins Avenue, Sunny lsles Beach
Located on the ocean at Sunny Isles Beach Boulevard and Collins Avenue, this park is the access point to the beach. The Newport Fishing Pier is open for fishing and walking for a small fee. A lifeguard station is located at this park for swimmer’s safety during operational hours. Hours of Operation, Open Every Day, All Day 24/7.
Fees: $5.00 per person to fish, $2.00 per person to fish with valid Sunny Isles Beach Resident ID Card, $2.00 per person admission to pier without fishing (FREE for Sunny Isles Beach Resident ID Cardholders!) Amenities Metered Public Parking – 4 Handicap spaces, 2 official-use spaces, and 23 unrestricted spaces, Restrooms, Showers, Beach Access with, Lifeguard Station, Restaurant, Bike Racks, and a Community Shuttle Service. Metered parking is available and enforced at Pier Park, 24 hours a day / 365 days a year.
Dania Ocean Park Beach, Fishing Pier, Marina
Address: 300 N Beach Rd, Dania Beach
The Dania Beach pier is open from 6 a.m. to midnight 7 days a week. You can either fish or just watch. They have snacks, drinks, tackle and bait are available for sale. The Fishing Pier is operated by the City of Dania Beach. Cash and credit cards accepted for the pier and parking (daniabeachfl.gov/parking). Call 954-924-3613 for information.