Monday, May 25, 2009

Family Fishing Fun + How to Make a Cane Pole

Happy Memorial Day everyone! I hope yours is turning out to be sunnier than ours. It seems mother nature is determined to alter our holiday plans to take the kids fishing. In the meantime here's a few tips for anyone looking to take even tiniest tots to the fishing banks as well as a very inexpensive make-it-yourself fishing pole that's suitable for the smallest AND largest of hands!

  1. Check with your local DNR to make sure everyone has a fishing license! Some states don't require children to hold a license while others do. It's important to know this or you might find yourself holding a ticket with a large fine!
  2. Make sure you have individually packed snacks and drinks in a cooler. I make half sandwiches, divide up chips, cookies, etc in small ziploc bags to make it easier to give out to the kids. Happy kids = well fed kids!
  3. Don't forget a small trash bag, sunscreen with bug repellent, diapers, and TONS of wipes. It's good to bring baby wipes even if you don't take the kids with you to make the clean up easier!
  4. Most importantly, bring the playpen and a few small toys to entertain your smallest fisherman. Set up your playpen on level ground a safe distance from the water yet close enough to your fishing spot, so you can check on the kiddos.
  5. If possible park your car and set up the play area under a large shade tree. This will help keep the food cooler as well as the kids.
  6. If you enjoy fishing as much as I do then you & your fishing buddy should to take turns checking on the kids. This allows everyone to share the responsibility and enjoyment of fishing with the kiddos.
I love to fish as much, if not more than, my husband but fishing gear can get quite expensive so I prefer to fish with a homemade cane pole. I've had better luck with a cane pole than my husband has with his store bought pole. I've caught catfish, blue gill, crappie, and many other fish off a cane pole. Plus they're easy to make taking only a few minutes and a couple supplies you're likely to have in your tackle box.

Directions to make a cane fishing pole.
  1. Find a long straight stick (NOT a thin switch) at least five feet long that bends slightly when pulled at one end. A dry stick will break when you try to bring a fish in while a stick too long or short provides difficult handling when pulling your fish to the bank. Some folks prefer longer poles but I prefer the handling of one a little shorter than my height. Experience will tell you which length works best for you but starting with something around your overall height is a good starting point.
  2. Cut some fishing line at least one plus a half the length of your pole. If in doubt cut it double the length or longer. Length of the needed fishing line depends on where you're fishing (dock, bank, around logs, etc) but I air on the side of caution by cutting my line longer.
  3. Wrap your fishing line a few inches from end of the stick several times and tie it off pulling hard to make sure the knot is secure.
  4. Tie a hook to the other end of your line, add any weights, bobbers, lures, etc.
  5. Add your bait then toss in your line.
If your line is to long then simply wrap the line around the end of the stick a few times till you acquire the length that's manageable for you. My kids prefer fishing with a cane pole. I use smaller sticks and shorter line for their poles. They don't have to figure out how to time the casting and the line always goes where they want it! When you get a bite, all you do is snatch the pole up and your fish is caught.

When you are done fishing, either wrap the line around the pole securing the hook to the pole or remove the fishing line, toss the stick in the woods or the water, and place the line back in your tackle box for next trip. NEVER toss used fishing line in the water-other fish can get tangled, snag on boater's engine propellers, or further endanger other wildlife.

Here are some great fishing resources to get your fishing trip started!
Tying a Clinch Knot -the knot I use to attach my hook to my line plus they have other great knots you can use too.
Here's a more professional method to creating a cane pole.
Learn about your states fishing license regulations, marina locations, family hot spots, fishing reports, and MUCH more information here.

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