Stories from Taking Kids Fishing – by BowTiedHalibut


My little dude is still very young so only has a couple of outings. He gets to go bluegill and trout fishing from the shore at the farm ponds more this upcoming season.  However, I have been taking kids out fishing for years and here are a few memorable moments.

These stories I will never forget, a fish barfed a bird, the trout truck came to save the day, and a kid ended up releasing all my striped bass bait cause they were his little green friend.

Work Associate’s Kid Saving the Bluegills

“Hey Halibut, you always are going fishing, could you take my son and I out for a trip on the boat?  He wants to try and catch a fish.”

I’ve had that same conversation many times over the years.  Bringing people I worked with or clients and their kids is great way to develop better relationships with those you interact with in the workplace.

The morning of the trip we hop into my shiny glittery bass boat and I fetch the kid a lifejacket that fits from out of the locker  He is around 10 years old and they had fished a few times, but never caught anything.

He could cast a spinning rod so I rigged him up with a senko and off we went to a sunken island in the delta about 15 minutes away from where I launched my boat.

Always nice to have a little vrooom vroom of the bass boat to start the morning off with wind in our face

It ended up being a tough morning bite, I caught a couple of little ones and he had 3 or 4 bites in prime locations, but never set the hook hard enough to actually get them to stick.  If the fish runs at the boat you really do have to reel down and swing hard and it just wasn’t happening.

Snack time.  Always have snacks on the boat.

While we are drinking some Gatorade and eating snacks I asked if they wanted to switch up and catch some bluegill to see if we could just land some fish.  They were up for it.  I rigged up the smallest dropshot hook I had and we didnt have any bait in the boat so I cut a few pieces of ham from a sandwich.

Game On!

We pulled into a patch of tules in the shallows and the area was just loaded with fish.  He probably caught 15 bluegills and we loaded them into the livewell.  We pulled a few out and took some choice pictures of him with his fish, smiles from ear to ear.  It’s why we do it.

I figured I would use them later for some nighttime striped bass fishing so I had him put the fish back in the livewell.  “Stay safe friends,” he said as he dropped them in the well, I should have listened to the comment at the time.

We got back to the ramp and I grabbed an open slip as I was going to keep fishing and crash in the campground after a late night of killing it on stripers with a friend that was joining me later in the afternoon.

We got all their stuff off the boat and back down to their cars.  Right before they were to head out, little dude said, oh we still have all those fish in the livewell, we need to let them go and here’s where I screwed up big time.

I said, “oh no it’s all good my bro is coming out this afternoon and we are going to go striped bass fishing tonight and use those for bait.”  His face changed to massive worry.  Then blood curdling screaming.  NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! 

And I kid you not, little guy jumped out of the car and ran down to the boat screaming the whole way.  As we caught up he was pleading “no, halibut you can’t kill them, you can’t kill them, they are my fish, we are letting them go.”

Of course, my immediate response in an attempt to calm the situation down and reduce being the spectacle at the ramp for the day was to agree.  We popped all 15 of those bluegill out and tossed them into the river to swim away.

Halibut down bad.

Every kid is different, some want to keep every fish they catch to eat and some want to let them all go.  What matters is getting out on the water and having fun and when something goes haywire rescue the day and bring it back to what matters, the kids having a good time.

The Day the Fish Truck Arrived

My mom worked in Christian summer camping for years.  One summer I got volunteered to help with a camp that was going to be doing a bunch of fishing trips.

On one day we were scheduled to fish at a premier fly fishing river that also got infrequent stockings.  The park grounds where we were setting up to fish is rightt below a major bridge on the river.  Everything above the bridge was fly fishing only and below the bridge it was anything goes.

It had been a tough day fishing.  Out of a group of 20 kids and staff only 3 fish were caught.  We had fished for like 3 or 4 hours, just brutally slow.

We were all packed up and turning out of the parking lot for the state park and here comes the Department of Fish and Wildlife trout planting truck.  Before we pulled out onto the highway Jesse the adult leading the trip put on the parking brake and made a short announcement.

“Alright guys, that right there is the trout stocking truck.  They are going to dump a ton of fish right into the river where we were just fishing.  I know it’s been a tough day, but if you guys want we can circle this bus around and go fish for an hour or so more if you want.  We will be late for dinner and may end up needing to eat cold food or sandwiches, but I have a feeling we are going to catch a lot of fish.”

“Let’s go for it, everyone agreed!”

We went straight back to the river and watched the truck shoot hundreds of trout into the large pool sitting below the river.

It was nearly instant, these fish are dumb, they have been living in a hatchery being fed pellets.  They started eating the powerbait and salmon eggs immediately.

Every kid easily caught 2 fish, and some caught several.

We even made it back in time for the end of dinner and ate some camp hotdogs and tater tots.

Sometimes you just have to have good timing, a little luck and the will to push on a little further or a little longer to get into the fish.

Pro-Teen Frog Fish

There is a special tournament on the California Delta.  The Conroy Oakley / Andy Cuccia Annual Memorial Pro Teen Classic.

This is a bass fishing tournament that is all about the kids.  The day before all the kids get paired up with a boater that will take them out fishing for the day and together they weigh in their best 5 fish.

I always had fun fishing at this event, it’s about getting the kids on fish and joking and bragging rights amongst the boaters hanging out eating BBQ when the fishing is done.

I had been on a hot frog bite and was able to convince the kid I drew that we should go for it even though we may or may not catch a lot, the ones that were biting had been good ones.

And it was a good decision, within the first 30 minutes we had 3 nice fish and one over 5lbs.  I had put the biggest fish on one side of the well and the two 3lbs+ fish on the other side.

My kid said he was going to grab a quick drink from his bag in the back and I tasked him to pop the live wells real quick and make sure everything was fine with our fish.

“Ummm Mister Halibut?” I hear from the back.  Yeah, what’s up dude?  “Ummm something happened to our big fish, it looks gross.”

I turned around and the kid had a strange look on his face, I had no clue what could have happened, thinking oh no it’s belly up and dying on us.  But when I got back to the livewell, it was clear as day what happened.

There were large chunks of flesh and feathers floating on the top of the water.  I scoop out the nasty bird chunks and toss them into the river and sitting below the feathers was a healthy 5lbs largemouth bass.

This fish had been on a bird-eating spree.  Largemouth bass will chew on birds that sit low on the water in the tules on the delta.  That is actually what the frog is imitating a lot of times, a bird that’s fallen in the water.

My kid for the day had never seen or heard about that happening.  We laughed all day long about our bird-killer fish.

We ended the day catching several more bird eaters as he would claim when they hit the deck of the boat and we finished the tournament in 5th place out of 80.  He won a ton of cool fishing gear and we had a good chuckle with the crowd sharing the story of the fish that barfed a bird first thing in the morning.

Tweet Tweet. Boom!

Friends Daughters First Tuna

The first fish is always memorable.  You never know which kids are going to be down to fish hard.

My good friend that runs a large tuna fishing boat has 5 kids, but it is his oldest daughter, not his son that loves to fish in the ocean.   The oldest boy gets seasick in an hour, but she is down to fish all day.  I guess she had been begging for a long time to go tuna fishing.

I showed up in the morning to get the gear ready for a trip, we knew where the fish were being caught and we were planning on going and making some money.

Change of plans he tells me as he pulls into the parking lot, little “miss adventure” is coming today. Sweet lets do it, I tell him.

We rolled out to sea and had an epic day.

The fish were right where our friends had been catching them the day before and as soon as we set gear in the water, a rod was popping off.  My bro was driving and I ran the deck, so I quickly handed off the rod to “miss adventure” and it wasn’t too much longer that the fish was on the gaff and in the boat.

The blood didn’t phase her one bit and she was ready for more.  We wore her arms out over the next hour until she was ready for some chill time on the bean bags.

We still ended up stacking like 25 fish that day.

As soon as they are old enough to go on big adventures, bring them with you.

That’s a trip I know all of us will never forget, smiles from ear to ear with her tuna!  She did still want me to hold the bleeding fish for her picture, although she has gotten over that part now and I’ve put in an order for a leg of lamb from her 4H project this year.

More to come

Taking kids into the outdoors is super rewarding and I encourage you to do it.  Even if you do not have a ton of outdoors experience yourself, getting them to the lake or river or up into the woods is a place for kids to really enjoy the beauty nature provides.

I look forward to sharing a how-to post with exactly what you need to get your kids on the water and having fun catching fish. The sport of fishing is low-cost and accessible to everyone, get outside and enjoy nature.

Let’s go fishing!

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our list to receive the updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!