Taking your kid fishing is an awesome way to grow closer and have fun together. What no one ever tells you, however, is that it isn't as easy as it sounds. What I learned with my little girl this past summer could help give your bonding sessions a boost.
BE CAREFUL WITH BAIT: I let two-year-old Mollie play with the minnow - she had fun holding them by the tail, watching them flip-flop in her hands, and chasing them around the livewell. Big mistake. Suddenly, she was crying, because I had put one of her "little friends" on a hook. It took hours to explain the purpose of minnow; it took longer to explain it to Mommy when she found a half-dozen lint-covered minnow - little friends Mollie rescued - in her jacket pocket.
MATCH TACKLE SIZE TO CHILD SIZE: After Mollie dropped a rod overboard, I realized that she couldn't get her little hands around a regular rod grip. The solution? I gave her an ice-fishing rod about 2' in length with half the grip size. Worked like a charm, until, of course. she threw it overboard, too.
WHAT GOES IN THE COOLER, STAYS IN THE COOLER: Until we made this rule, Mollie would drag fish out and play with them on the deck. That was fine for a few minutes, but she couldn't grasp the idea that they had to go back into the ice again or they would go bad.
If you need to distract your child from any of the above situations, there's a sure-fire solution: Hand them the washdown hose. The little ankle-biter will forget what was so upsetting in about a millisecond.