On our last 50 Campfires Field Trip, we had the good fortune of celebrating a birthday with friends at the lake. It was hot and sunny, and a perfect day for fun in the sun. Our mission has always been to introduce people to new activities in the outdoors, and we knew that most of the people we’d be spending the day with had never been fishing! We grew up with fishing poles in our hands, but we also realize that many others didn’t have that opportunity. One thing we’ve learned over the years is that the best way to introduce fishing is to mix it into an action-packed day so there’s no pressure to try it.
We started the day out with paddleboards, canoes, and kayaks and wow – did we have fun. A friendly game of “paddleboard jousting” broke out, and it was as fun to watch as it was to participate. If paddleboard jousting wasn’t a thing before, it is now! We paddled around the lake and even snuck into a bay for some snapshots of geese. It was a perfect day – and we were just getting started.
When we returned to shore, it was time to fire up the yard games! Spikeball, paddleball, frisbees (and a little friendly trash-talking) filled the air. We knew the bobbers would be in the water sooner or later, but there was no rush. The key is to just make fishing another option for fun. We set the rods up on the dock and by the shore, and before we knew it, everyone wanted to fish. As we said earlier, there were many first time anglers, so we showed them how to bait the hook, cast like a pro, and then of course – set the hook!
The most enjoyable part of the day was watching people catch a fish for the first time. It doesn’t matter how old they are. Watching their eyes light up when the bobber goes down never gets old. Sometimes they’re so excited they forget to start reeling!
With first time anglers, it’s important to make fishing as accessible and approachable as possible. The Zebco Roam is our go-to choice in this situation. It’s a push-button spincast reel that can be mastered in about 10 minutes. We make sure that there is plenty of space for safe casting and then just let them practice until they’re confident. It doesn’t take long.
Our favorite thing about this day? Everyone caught a fish! But also – everyone had fun. The first-timers went from never casting a rod to baiting the hook themselves and catching fish – in one afternoon. That always puts a smile on our faces. The next time someone wants you to take them fishing our advice is to fill the day up with much more than just rods and reels. Mixing it into an action-packed day is a surefire recipe for success.