With that in between state from sweet and innocent kid to hormone raging teen, finding things to do with a crabby teen can cause any parent to go bonkers and running for the hills! However, summer is here! While many camps are out of commission this year, fresh air and Florida’s amazing water ways are not! With access to the Atlantic, The Gulf and many rivers and lakes in between, this is the perfect time to bond with your tween on the water!
Fishing is not only a great bonding experience but can teach them so many great life lessons at the perfect age. Not only will it get them away from their devices, it will show them where food comes from, teach them patience, appreciation for nature and give them a skill that will last them a lifetime that they can also pass down to their kids. If you are able to catch and keep your fish, it will also teach them how to filet, clean and even cook their meal. Life skills at its finest.
To get out with your tween on the water, you need to invest in the right tools. And, there are a TON of fishing options out there. The investment in fishing gear can be as little or as much as you want to dive into. Basic rods and equipment can be found locally as retail stores like Walmart, Dick’s Sporting Goods and Bass Pro Shops. The basic gear you will need are rods, hook, bait, line, bobbers, lures and swivels. If you are going on a boat, you must have all the proper boating equipment and of course life jackets. Safety First! Depending on the type of fishing you want to find, you will want to choose salt water over fresh water. However, don’t let that stop you from going out and enjoying the experience. Start with what you have!
So, you’re ready to get out with your tween on the water and start fishing! Not so fast! There are a few more things you need to know. This is the perfect time to instill all the right ways to fish in the state of Florida with your tween so they can be prepared and learn the right way.
What to know before you go:
1. Fishing Licenses:
Make sure that you and your kiddos have the necessary fishing licenses for where and when you are going to fish.
Visit myfwc.com to find up- to-date information on what the requirements are. Children under 16 are exempt from needing a fishing license in the state of Florida; however, there is an option to purchase your kids a lifetime fishing license for a small fee before their 17th birthday. Check out myfwc.com for regulations and licenses.
2. Fishing Seasons:
The oceans and lakes are FULL of fish at all times. However, if you and your kiddos are planning on catching dinner, you must pay attention to the strict fishing seasons and season openings of specific locations for when you are allowed to catch and KEEP your findings. This includes scalloping in Steinhatchee and finding lobsters in the Keys, they all have a season where you can catch and keep your fish and shellfish. Make sure to know the rules before you go!
3. What to keep:
Not only do you need to be aware of the season to fish for keepers, but the size of the keepers. Certain fishing species has a size limit, meaning that they have to be the right size to keep. Anything outside that size limit MUST be returned back to the water, no exceptions.
In addition to the season to fish and the size to keep, there are also limits to the amount of some species of fish that you can keep, per boat and per fisherman. So, it is important to pay attention to the limits, even for youth fisherman.
Take this given opportunity to spend time with your tween and bond over fresh air, the water, a new skill and a hobby that will last a lifetime!