Introducing Your Grandchildren to Fishing

By Carol Band


The Lure of Fishing… It’s More Than How Many Fish You Catch


Late fall is a great time to introduce grandchildren to the fun of fishing in South Texas. Just sitting by a pond, river or coastal area, with pole in hand, presents the chance to daydream, share stories and maybe even catch a fish or two.


In fact, with the overscheduled, fast-paced world today’s children live in, perhaps one of the best things a grandparent can teach them is to slow down and relax. And, there’s no doubt, fishing can be a great way to do that.


ldquo;The main thing to remember is you don’t have to be an expert to teach a child how to fish,” says National Freshwater Fishing Hall of Famer Ron Weber.


Parents and grandparents need to focus on the fun of fishing, rather than the techniques, if they want to hook a fishing companion for a lifetime, Weber explains. He bases his advice on a lifetime of fishing pleasure, which has included teaching his three daughters, his son and his 4-year-old grandson how to fish.


Here are more tips on introducing your child to the fascinating world of fishing:

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ormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Don’t get hung up on technique. Try to make your trips to your local lake or stream as fun as possible. If you get too technical too fast, you’ll turn the child off.

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ormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Don’t worry about catching a zillion fish or catching a trophy fish. To a young child, catching a two-inch “sunny” can be a major achievement. Sometimes, catching a larger fish can be quite scary to a child.

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ormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Keep the equipment simple. Tom Sawyer caught fish with a stick and string, and your grandchildren can, too. There are inexpensive poles and reels for children. (Fisher-Price makes a fairly sturdy model that works well for young kids.) Practice casting without a hook, then work closely with your grandchild until you are confident that he or she can handle the pole properly. You can buy bait or lures at any fishing supply or sporting goods store, but it’s really hard to beat good ol’ earthworms on a hook. Fish just can’t resist them and you will attain elevated status in the eyes of your child when you deftly bait the hook.

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ormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Make an adventure out of going fishing. Explore the lake or stream and the areas near it. Or, when you’re out in the boat, pretend that you and your first mate are on a marvelous adventure, perhaps in search of a giant fish or a whale.

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ormal" style="MARGIN: 0in 0in 0pt">Scout out a lake or stream in advance of taking grandchildren fishing there. Look for spots and holes that have an abundance of fish. Kids like to catch fish, even if they’re little ones.


pt">Don’t worry about catch and release; make it your child’s decision. Give your child the opportunity to show off his or her catch to Mom or Grandma. And make sure to praise your child for his or her efforts and success.


pt">Schedule your fishing trips around you child’s attention span. Don’t plan on taking your child fishing for an entire day. Sometimes a child will be happy with 15 minutes of fishing and an hour of running around and playing with Grandpa and Grandma.


pt">Make sure your grandchild is well-rested. A tired, cranky child can quickly ruin the most well-conceived plans.


pt">It’s never too early to show young ones how to respect the environment, to appreciate nature, and to act as a responsible sportsperson.


pt">Show your grandchild how to act safely around the water, whether you’re fishing from a boat, from shore or from a dock or pier.


pt">Families Fish for Free at Texas State Parks, New Choices Offered for Fishing Licenses


Children under age 17 do not need fishing licenses in Texas, but adults helping kids fish should have a license – unless they are in a Texas state park.


Through the state’s Family Fishing Celebration program, kids and adults can fish for free within the boundaries of any state park through Aug. 31, 2005. Park entry fees are in effect, and catch and size limits still apply. Among the locations closest to San Antonio are the Blanco, Garner, Guadalupe River, Lost Maples, Landmark Inn and Pedernales Falls state parks. 


Outside of the state parks, however, adult anglers are required to have a fishing license. New provisions, which began earlier this fall, require Texas anglers to purchase a fishing license package for either freshwater, saltwater or both. The change includes a new fee to help fund fish hatchery construction and repair.


A freshwater fishing license is $28 for residents, $11 for seniors (age 65 and up) and $55 for non-residents. A saltwater fishing license is $33 for residents, $16 for seniors and $60 for non-residents. An all-water fishing license, good for freshwater and saltwater, is $38 for residents, $21 for seniors and $65 for non-residents. All packages come with the appropriate required stamps. Licenses are valid for the 2004-05 season, which ends Aug. 31, 2005.


New types of temporary fishing licenses for residents and non-residents include one-day licenses with an option to buy additional daily privileges. Another option for Texas residents is a “year-from-purchase” all-water fishing license, valid for 365 days from the date of purchase, for $45.  Combination license packages that include hunting as well as fishing also are available.


Licenses are sold at more than 100 state parks, through 28 TPWD field offices and at thousands of retailers, including sporting goods stores, department and discount stores, bait and tackle shops, grocery stores and other outlets. The San Antonio TPWD field office is located at 858 W. Rhapsody; phone 348-7375.


Licenses also are available online through the department’s Web site,, and by calling 800-895-4248 between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday. A $5 fee is charged for online and phone orders.


For additional information, call 800-792-1112.




Area Lakes

Braunig – 210-227-1373 – About 17 miles south of San Antonio, in the San Antonio River watershed on Calaveras and Chupaderas creeks; red drum, hybrid striped bass, channel catfish, blue catfish and largemouth bass.


Calaveras – 210-227-1373 – About 20 miles south of San Antonio; channel catfish, blue catfish, hybrid striped bass, red drum, largemouth bass.


Canyon –,; 830-964-2223 – About 35 miles north of San Antonio, on the upper Guadalupe River; largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, Guadalupe bass, catfish, white bass, striped bass.


Medina –,; 830-665-2132 – About 40 miles northwest of San Antonio; largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, hybrid striped bass, white bass, channel catfish, blue catfish, flathead catfish, carp and gar.


McQueeney – 830-557-9900 – Seven miles east of New Braunfels, on the Guadalupe River watershed; largemouth bass, spotted bass, white crappie, blue catfish, channel catfish, sunfish.


Gulf Coast

South Padre Island Convention and Visitors Bureau –; 800-SOPADRE (767-2373) – Information on bay and deep-sea fishing, guide services and more in the Port Isabel-South Padre area.


Texas Coastal Bend Regional Tourism Council –; 361-749-5919 – Covers communities from Palacios to North Padre Island, including Aransas Pass, Corpus Christi, Port Aransas, Port Lavaca, Rockport-Fulton, Victoria and others.


General Info

Texas Fishing – –Weekly fishing reports by region; information and links for Texas lakes and rivers; local fishing clubs; calendar of events; message boards.


Texas Parks and Wildlife Department –; 800-792-1112 -- Fishing and hunting licenses; angler education program; boating laws and safety; state parks reservations; outdoor programs; weekly inland and coastal fishing reports. Kids will love the freshwater fish and coastal aquatic animals identification sections of the Web site, with photos and descriptions.