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How to Plan a Family Fishing Trip

Planning a fishing trip can get complicated, especially when accounting for kids. Picking a trip that’s fun for kids is tricky because age and capability vary, but largely determine what caliber of fishing they can handle. Also, it's hard to know if your kid will get sea sick if they haven't spent much time on the water, but it will quickly ruin the experience if they do. To help you give your family a fun fishing experience that creates lifelong memories, here’s what you need to know to plan the perfect trip.

Family Fishing Trip

What Type of Trip

Fishing with the family limits trip options to fishing styles that have a lower barrier to entry. Freshwater trips to lakes and rivers are similar to inshore trips, which use light tackle and fairly simple techniques that can be learned fast enough for kids to be successful. Nearshore trips may not be ideal for young kids because of the more powerful fish and medium weight tackle. Offshore trips tend to be a bad idea, unless your family goes offshore fairly often and is comfortable with longer trips with potentially rough conditions.

Your kids may be interested in a certain type of fishing, which is good to take into account to make sure they have the best experience possible. To pick the right trip, consider how much wind, waves, or type of weather your family is comfortable with. In general, conditions are smooth and calm inland on lakes and rivers, with inshore only being slightly more windy. Once you leave the protection of the backwaters, the potential for choppy conditions increases rapidly the further you get from shore.

Freshwater Trips

Lake conditions are smooth because they are protected from weather on all sides. The most common lake trips are perfect for families looking for a day on the water with simple fishing techniques and light tackle. Catching an eight pound bass is a difficult task, but more freshwater fish are manageable for any angler. Some fish like muskie are exceptionally hard to catch and should probably be avoided. Choose a trip that uses conventional tackle and targets bass, crappie, or catfish, and it’s sure to be a hit.

Inshore Trips

The best inshore trips that maximize comfort and bites are jetty and bay fishing trips. These trips stay in protected waters where conditions remain calm, but target huge fish that pile up near structures to feed. Drifting the bays is exciting and can be the most action packed day you’ve had, while bottom fishing the jetties can be just as productive but doesn’t require casting. These trips target popular species like redfish, black drum, sheepshead, and speckled trout which are typically easy to catch, but the giants are tough to handle. Inshore fishing is the perfect balance of entry level fishing with a chance at hooking into a monster.

Nearshore Trips

Heading further out to nearshore waters is a good choice for kids that have been fishing a few times and can handle catching larger fish. The best nearshore trips are bottom fishing deep structure for reef fish like snapper, grouper, and amberjack. Bottom fishing is simple and only requires anglers to drop the bait down to the bottom and wait for a bite. While the approach is simple, the fish are big and put up a fierce fight. Nearshore trip still have short travel times but offer a much more exhilarating experience.

What to Bring

The most important things to bring along for any fishing trip is a cooler packed with snacks and drinks. This makes sure that you stay hydrated and fueled up for a full day on the water. Also, if you plan to keep fish and take home some meat, the cooler will be helpful. For a complete packing list of essentials and what to wear, check out our blogs Fishing Trip Essentials and What to Wear On a Fishing Charter. With the right clothes, food, drinks, and protection from the sun, the last thing is to tip your guide at the end of the trip.