Go Fish: Tackling a Family Fishing Trip
“Fishing is a fantastic activity that gets your kids outside and interacting with the environment,” says Spencer Griffith of the Arkansas Game and Fish Commision (AGFC).
I don’t know about you, but I can’t pass up a chance to get my kids outside, so I went fishing ... for tips. And Griffith — dad of two himself — did not disappoint. From packing lists to resources, he shared how parents can help young anglers catch a lifelong love of the sport right here in Little Rock.
What to Expect
Griffith helps parents adjust expectations from first cast to first catch.
~ Fish for success — “Do not go for trophy-sized game fish when you take kids fishing. Instead, go for smaller catfish and trout in community ponds and fishing pier locations.”
~ Be flexible — If your kid needs a break, take it. You’ll be surrounded by fun. “They can look for critters, collect rocks and get dirty. Playing with worms, launching leaf boats into the water or even just going for a walk” are great options when kids get restless.
~ Pace yourself — “An hour or two of casting, depending on the child’s age, will likely be just enough to keep them wanting more!”
~ Practice selfless patience — “When their pole gets tangled, give them yours to keep them fishing while you fix it. Fishing can be frustrating and feel slow going if the fish aren’t biting. It is your job to make it easier and exciting.”
~ Stay close to comfort — Find a fishing spot close to home … and a bathroom. Your spot also needs plenty of room for beginners to practice casting.
What to Bring
Must-Have Water Safety Devices
• Life jacket (boat fishing)
• Float and rope (land and boat fishing)
Weather-Worthy Clothing and Accessories
• Polarized sunglasses
• Comfy layers: Rain or wind gear, fleece or wool
• Sneakers or boat shoes
Kid-Friendly Fishing Gear
• Barbless hooks
• Lightweight kids’ fishing gear
And Don’t Forget...
• Pocket-sized first aid kit in waterproof container
• Water and snacks
• Resident Fisheries Conservation License for anglers 16 and up — find out more at AGFC.com
Where to Go
Thanks to AGFC’s Family and Community Program, you probably live close to a well-stocked pond. Started in 2000, this program was designed to offer quality fishing opportunities for beginner anglers and families near where they live. The program has now expanded to over 40 locations across the state, just visit FishNatural.com to find locations near you.
Little Rock Family and Community Program Ponds
• Boyle Park Pond
• Conner Park Pond
• Hindman Park
• MacArthur Park Pond
• Pinnacle Mountain State Park Pond
• Western Hills
AGFC Resources for Little Rock Anglers
~ AGFCNatureCenter.com, AGFC’s new virtual nature center, features fishing 101 tips and tricks.
~ The Beginner Fishing Guide breaks down common catches and how to catch them.
~ Little Rock Nature Center hosts in-person beginner fishing classes.