Fishing with Kids – Ian’s Top Tips!!

We fish we care

Fishing with Kids – Ian’s Top Tips!!

Ian Whiteside our Melbourne Facilitator has been working hard to provide great tips for for both beginner and advanced anglers. Mor content can be found on our Website, YouTube Channel, App and Facebook.


  • Select a safe spot to fish.
  • Keep sessions relatively short; 1-2hrs initially; allow for breaks/toilet stops!
  • Consider bait fishing for an easy initial experience, if possible.
  • Kids (& adults) who struggle with patience & concentration may be more suited to learning to cast lures & jigs (see below).

Rods & Rigs:

  • Combos for kids (& beginners generally) should be light enough to be handled easily in one hand.
  • Use bright fluoro-coloured main line for visibility, with an invisible leader and/or rig.
  • Use coloured beads – as a rod-tip protector, and next to the hook for visibility & safety.
  • Use small ‘circle’ hooks wherever possible – these don’t require a ‘strike’ & generally ensure a mouth hook-up for easy release (especially important to try & avoid damaging or killing undersize or unwanted fish).
  • Tiny hooks can still catch big fish! ????


For beginners: Allow them to hold & wind the reel with whichever hand best suits, changing hands when/if they need to. So-called ‘better’ technique can come later, and becoming ambidextrous can also be an advantage!

Grip the rod with 2 fingers in front of the reel leg (or 3 fingers for very small hands) to allow easy ‘pickup’ of the line with the index finger (for casting or dropping).

On a pier, jetty or boat, an easy start is a simple ‘drop’ over the side. Turn the bail-arm guide to its highest point, place just the tip of the index finger under the line, then fold back (open) the bail-arm.

To start fishing, release the line from the fingertip and let the line run out; push the bail-arm back to position when enough line is out (sinker on the bottom, or required depth).

A simple ‘pendulum’ cast can also be easily learned to allow a drop-style cast with just a little more distance. At the point when the finger holds the line with the bail-arm open, swing the line out gently and release the line at the furthest point and allow to drop.

Try to keep the line tight whilst waiting for a bite – when a fish is caught on the hook the rod will bend, and can be steadily reeled in!

The ‘drag’. The drag knob, usually at the top of a spinning reel, allows for line to run off the reel at a controlled rate, and is what allows catching large fish on light tackle, where a fish can ‘run’ and take line without breaking the rig. Learning to set the drag to an appropriate ‘weight’ can be relatively simple.

Note: Right = Tight; Left = Loose

Kids can learn how to set an appropriate drag by comparing to things they know! Think of the drag ‘weight’ as something familiar: a 1 litre bottle of milk weighs 1 kilogram; a standard Juicebox weighs around 200-300 grams. Try setting the drag to simulate the weight of a Juicebox, and encourage kids (and other beginners) to check this regularly. (See video)

Bait. Lots of options are available at Fishing shops, some Service Stations, etc. When in doubt, ask a local!! Try to keep baits small whilst learning, and pin through one end to avoid the bait spinning in the current.


Learning to cast rigs, jigs & lures should only be attempted where there is clear space, and it is safe to do so.

Always check behind and around before attempting a cast. Turn the bail-arm guide to its highest point, place just the tip of the index finger under the line, then fold back (open) :the bail-arm.

Re-check that it is safe to cast, then hold the rod behind the head at a ‘2 o’clock’ position, and cast the line out in one steady action, releasing the line at the ’10 o’clock’ position. (see our Fishcare Victoria video here:

For lure or soft plastics Fishing, when the line has been cast out & the lure or jig has hit the water, allow a couple of seconds for a little more line to run, then close the bail-arm & begin to retrieve. A ’slow roll’ is a steady slow retrieve that can be very effective with lures, but changing the rate of retrieve can also sometimes be effective. Some lures work best near the bottom of the water column; some at the top. Experiment!

For lure/jig fishing: Consider using a clip on the leader line to be able to change easily! (See photo)

Lastly …

Remember to take plenty of snacks & drinks, and ice for your catch!

Safety is paramount – Water safety is crucial, and awareness of sharp items like hooks, knives etc. Wearing sunglasses/safety glasses is recommended.

Practice!! Go to the beach or park and practice casting in a safe area; tie a pencil rubber onto the line (instead of lure/hook, sinker) and practice casting to a marked spot!! Rubber casting ‘plugs’ can be purchased from some fishing stores.