A Dad’s Checklist for Kayak Fishing with Kids

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As a father of two amazing little fisher girls, I feel inclined to share some tips and tricks on kayak fishing with kids that I have picked up over the years. I always tend to be overly cautious, especially with my kids — and I believe that everyone should be that way. For instance, I usually take them to lakes where there are no motors allowed, or lakes with speed limits. Now I’m no rocket scientist, but I think it is a known fact that any time you go anywhere with kids, the first thing you hear once you get set up is, “I’m hungry.”

So, obviously before you go, ask them to help you pick out snacks. Then, when they are not looking, grab more. (This is just to protect yourself from a possible meltdown.) Don’t forget to grab some water, and then grab extra. I also like to take a little spray bottle with me so when they get hot you can cool them down before they turn into monsters. Have a nice comfy seat for them, and they will enjoy the trip for much longer. (The Cooler Seat and Sand Dollar Seat Cushion, both from YakGear, are great options.)

Next would be dressing appropriately. I would recommend a long-sleeves, brightly colored SPF shirt and some SPF pants. Although I still put sunscreen on my kids before we go out, I just don’t want to have to hear about their sunburns for the next week from them or Mom. I like to make them wear hats and, if possible, sunglasses to protect them from flying hooks and the glare of the water. Life vests are possibly the most important items to consider. Take your kids with you to the store to pick out their own life vests, and make sure they fit properly. Yes, they will grow out of them, but then you can pass those vests on to other parents.

Now you’re almost ready to hit the road. Before you leave, however, it’s important to fill your significant other in on where you will be and how long you plan to be there. (This is your float plan.) I always like to give myself a buffer because we all know “last cast” really just means “I know it’s time to go, but if they start biting again, I’m staying.” Now it’s time to hit the road. Better make one more check to make sure you didn’t forget the “Frozen”-themed fishing rod.

Let’s make a checklist:
1.) Water, lots of water (Have some in a spray bottle to cool them off.)
2.) Snacks in a zip-top bag (Soggy snacks will ruin your day.)
3.) The right clothing and sunscreen, and possibly an extra change for the ride home
4.) Don’t forget the mini fishing pole
5.) A comfy seat for the kids, so they’ll enjoy the outing and you can fish longer
6.) A camera or your phone, along with a RAILBLAZA mount to keep it safe (You’ll want to capture these memories.)

OK. Now that you’re ready to get on the water, you better make sure they don’t need to use the restroom. Because again, I’m no rocket scientist, but I could just about bet they’ll need to go the second you get set up. Now, of course you could hang them over the side, but my kids seem to believe I would use them as bait for a giant sea monster. Unfortunately, heading in to use the restroom is just something that is going to happen.

Enjoy your time with your kids and let your love for the sport grow on them. Teach them the right ways of enjoying the water, by picking up after yourself and others so everyone can enjoy.


About the Author
YakGear Brand Ambassador Mike Kaczkowski, or “Katch” as his friends call him, was born and raised in Michigan. In his early 20s he bought his first boat with his dad and brother and began to fish the Great Lakes. He soon learned the art of “Katching” salmon, lake trout and steelhead, and soon he was stocking the freezer with fresh fish. His family came to realize he was obsessed with fishing, spending most of his free time out on the water during the summer and on the ice in the winter. (His family calls it an obsession, but to Mike it is his passion.)

The reason he prefers kayak fishing now is because the adventures are limitless. No shallow water or culvert can stop him from traveling places powerboats cannot go, along with the ease of transporting and launching. The sense of adventure that comes from kayak fishing is like none other — a quiet, peaceful exploration and then a great heart-pumping battle once you set the hook! Although he still loves to explore small bodies of water for bass, pike and pan fish, you can now find Mike in the Great Lakes fishing for salmon and trout, and getting lots of looks from all the power boaters. If you ever see Mike on the water (you can recognize him by his yellow outfitted Hobie and green “Katch” emblem) he will gladly fish with you and share any tips he may have. Today his passion has shifted to “passing it forward” to his daughters.