Jason Paez (@finsandtwins) is the father of two twin boys Kingston and Mason who are turning four years old this year. Being an avid angler based in the Rockies of Colorado, Jason has found a way to take his boys out on the water with him. Read more to learn about what Jason suggests to have a successful day on the water with your kids.
My son bursts out “Feeeeeessshhhh over there daddy!” I spun my head around and while I did not see an actual fish, I was proud and stoked my son Kingston was into the activity of the day! Here are 10 tips that I believe will lead to a successful day on the water for you and your kids.1. SNACKS: The most important gear to bring is lots of snacks. Bring their favorites, pack lots, including lunch and drinks. If there is one thing that seemed to keep my boys occupied while fishing it was eating the snacks they like.2. BREAKS: If you have ever been in a cramped up middle airplane seat with the bonus of the seatbelt light on for multiple hours then you’d know what it might be like to sit in a backpack for a long duration. So, yeah don’t be that mom or dad who forgot about the time as they tried to catch a fish for that photo, they really wanted to post ha-ha! Give your kids breaks so the blood flow gets to their feet and they enjoy the day.3. IT’S NOT ALL ABOUT THE FISH: Both my kids love to talk and chatter away about stuff. While I fish or hiked with them in the carriers, I would point out everything. Planes, birds, animals, and yes fish (Even imaginary ones). I’d tell stories, explain things in nature, whatever seems to capture their attention and imagination on the river. Make it fun and then when the fish action happens get super amped. They will love it!4. FAMILY AND FRIENDS: Invite others along for the adventure because new people to little ones are exciting and allows a different bonding experience for them. Plus, extra hands are key when fishing with all that extra stuff and of course the weight of little humans can be shared and give you a break. Other people also increase your odds of letting the kids see fish get caught especially if you’re in a slump. The obvious reason is you can get some photos but, more I think the longer lasting reward is the bonding. Nowadays when I go fishing with Mason or Kingston and I strike out they will say things like “Dad, next time maybe my Uncle will come, he catches big fish!”
5. LOCATIONS: Earlier in the article I mentioned fishing the Blue River, well that isn’t exactly my go to spot however, there is a key element a place like the Blue near Silverthorne provides; amenities. Early on I recommend not always going the distance as kids’ moods can swing, they usually will need to go to the bathroom a lot, they might need something you forgot and if they just aren’t feeling it you could keep it fun by quickly switching up activities. While we all truly love escaping into the wild sometimes the local spots close to home are best for introducing the kids.6. PACKS: I used the Osprey Paco carrier however, there are several options. I especially liked the sun shade the Osprey Pack has. It protects the kids from the elements and the odd bad cast. The pack also had great adjustability, pockets (for all those snacks), and support. I have seen some guys remove the Paco from its frame and attach it to their hunting packs like a Kifaru for even better support. My boys were small so, that would’ve been overkill for me. We also used the stand for giving us the shorter breaks and it was safe for them.
7. FLY FISHING GEAR: Since you have a heavy kid, a large pack, and all those pockets full of snacks, water, wipes, and whatever else your wife told you not to leave without what do you do with all your fishing stuff. Keep it simple. If you have family or friends, there you can probably skip the net. If not, I would put a longer handled net like a mid-length nomad net from Fishpond into one of the side straps. A good chest pack and it can be small or medium size leaving room for quick access to those snacks. I’m telling you snacks are more important than any fly on these missions. Have everything right in front if you. I preferred the cerveza sidekick from Fishpond it meshed well with the pack straps and carried just enough. It kept my water or snacks close at hand with its beer holder…. Dad life!8. FISHING: Fish your go to rigs and flies you know move fish in most conditions because nothing will bore a kid more than watching his dad match the hatch. Save that for when they’re a little older. Ponds are a great place to start with these excursions. I first started fishing with my boys at little bass ponds where I could stand on the banks and avoid wading too much. As they got more into it, I transitioned to the rivers. I usually don’t wade too far for safety. Casting a two-handed rod can be a good way to cover water and fish streamers. I tried just about everything to expose them to different fishing.
9. BEING PREPARED: I recommend bringing everything you’d need for your kids when fishing from carrier packs. At this stage you’ll want their wipes, diapers, first-aid kit, water, snacks, change of clothes, warm layers, and so on! One might laugh but, I created my own diaper bag but to keep it cool I used an older hunting camo pack. I also then divided up the supplies between that pack in my truck and the carrier pack. I always kept it ready, packed, and handy with the rest of my fishing gear. This way I didn’t have to think about what to bring every time I went out.
10. FUN! It’s the best part! Have fun and enjoy their smiles. If they are having fun keep going and if they are done be done. Keeping it fun is what will make them amped to go again!
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