Fall is fun because there are so many different species to target from the kayak on the beaches and in the backwaters. My best action inshore was hitting the residential docks and canals for snook, reds, trout, sheepies and drum with live shrimp.
The wind kept me off the beach most days, but had some mixed success with pompano, mackerel, reds, flounder, mangrove snapper, grunts, and small sharks.
I have been fishing a lot with my 4 year old son now after school. He is all about being on the water and while he is interested in fishing, he spend hours just sitting in my lap playing with the bait, splashing around with the paddle, rocking the kayak, or working on walking from the front to the back of the kayak without falling off – or falling off.
When I take my kids or any of my 23 nieces and nephews I have to readjust my mindset as to why I am out. It is not about the fishing, but making the experience for the kids exciting and fun so they want to keep coming back.
Here is my gotta do list if you want to make your kids love being on the water:
- Bring LOTS of snacks. Keeping their bellies full with their favorite goodies goes a long way to lengthen the trip and keeping everyone happy.
- Have NO expectation for the length of the trip. On most days, if you put a 4 plus hour trip together for kids no one will come home happy. I try to keep the trip around 2-3 hours. One of my best days fishing with my daughter was her catching a 25 in red on the first cast and then smiling at me with that toothy grin and saying lets go swimming not dad. Be willing to leave the fish biting and put your kid’s needs first.
- Watch wind and weather. This is not the trip to test your manhood. Pick a spot that is not going to put anyone in harms way like fast moving current or rough conditions. Weather is a huge factor, too hot, cold or windy conditions can make life miserable for a little one. You want them to feel comfortable and safe otherwise you may scar them for life.
- Keep mom happy and worry free. I will say it again. Keep mom HAPPY and WORRY free. That means before she even has to ask, let her know you have sunscreen, life jacket, first aid kit, and those much needed snacks and drinks ready to roll. Oh yeah, and stick to your schedule. If you tell mom you will be home by 4, be home by four and if not, call and save her unnecessary worries… i have yet to master that one:(
- Take lots of pictures. Capture those moments. People always tell me it goes by so fast. That is not true… it goes even faster. Make memories and keep them with lots of photos and videos.