Team Evinrude Angler David Walker stopped by to share some insights on fishing with his kids.
Q: Who taught you how to fish?
A: My dad liked to fish, so he would take me when I was really young. He was the one who first introduced me to it, but he had no idea that I would carry it to this extreme. A lot of it is self-taught, so thatâ€™s why I think itâ€™s good to get kids involved at a young age. The younger the better because you never know how interested or uninterested they may be in it. Just like anything else, some will love it and some wonâ€™t care about it. For me, it was something Iâ€™d rather do than anything else.
Q: How old are your daughters? When did you first take them fishing?
A: I have a 5-year-old and a 9-year-old and theyâ€™ve both been fishing many times. Even when they were unable to fish, we would still take them and introduce them to being outdoors. I donâ€™t think you can introduce kids too early to fishing, but you have to be careful about when you do it. Their attention spans are short, so itâ€™s probably not a good idea to take a 4-year-old on an all-day outing. Instead, you need to take baby steps, go for an hour or two. When teaching a kid anything, you start with the basics and build on it.
Q: What do you recommend starting kids out on â€“ live baits or lures?
A: Definitely live baits. To be honest, the live bait is such an interesting part of fishing for my two girls because theyâ€™ll go catch worms whenever they can. For them, digging up worms is part of the adventure. But the number one bait to use is crickets. If a few crickets happen to get loose on the boat, they have as much fun chasing them around as they do fishing.
Q: Whatâ€™s the next step for kidsÂ who want to take their fishing beyond crickets and panfishing?
A: Bass are probably one of the best because theyâ€™re found in nearly any type of water. Wherever you live, whether itâ€™s by a river, stream, lake or pond, thereâ€™s most likely some type of bass around there. And theyâ€™re fairly easy to catch. Obviously the bigger ones are harder to catch, but a smaller bass, which is quite a bit bigger than panfish, will be a great target for a kid wanting to learn a little bit more.
Q: Is there a particular type of lure youâ€™d recommend for a kid looking to make that next step?
A: One of the best lures I would recommend starting kids out with is a topwater lure. Itâ€™s such a visual thing and you can see what your lure is doing as opposed to lures under the water like plastic worms. When youâ€™re working a topwater bait and the fish comes up and strikes it, thereâ€™s that moment of anticipation that keeps you interested and motivates you to make it happen again.
Q: What other activities do you and your kids like to do when you go out and fish?
A: If weâ€™re going out on the boat, they are going to bring snacks galore. I donâ€™t know why, but fishing means snack time to them. Itâ€™s really something else for them to do too. If one of them is getting a little bored and there is something else they want to bring with, like a doll or game, by all means let them bring it. Sometimes itâ€™s fun for my family to just to fire up the Evinrude and go for a ride. Honestly, thereâ€™s nothing better than being outdoors with your kids because it disconnects you from the electronics and helps you learn a lot about each other.
Q: Do you have a funny fishing or boating story about your kids?
A: Itâ€™s fun to see my kidsâ€™ imaginations run wild out there. Iâ€™ve seen my youngest one entertain herself endlessly by putting a bluegill in a live well and just experimenting with what it will eat. My favorite one was when she said, â€śLetâ€™s see if it will eat doughnuts!â€ť That fish swallowed it right up and she was squealing with excitement. Thereâ€™s nothing better than seeing your kids have so much fun.
Q: What impact has fishing had on you and your family?
A: Thereâ€™s a lot to be said for doing what you like in this world because thereâ€™s a lot of stuff you have to do that you despise. But if you can find a way to make a living doing what you love, then thatâ€™s the best route you can take. The beauty of this country is that you can make a living doing things you canâ€™t do anywhere else, and thatâ€™s an important lesson I always tell my kids. If you want something bad enough and you work hard enough, you can make it happen.
Q: Where else can fisherman go to get tips or tricks from professional anglers?
A: I always tell people to go on the E-NATION website because you can get tons of helpful feedback from it. If you have a question about anything boating or fishing related, you can find your answer right there in real time. Youâ€™ll be amazed at how many answers you can get.
David WalkerÂ is a professional bass angler on Team Evinrude, creators of E-NATION. Check out E-NATION to find great tips and great ideas of things to do,Â whether itâ€™s fishing, catching more bass, or improving performance on your new boat or motor.