Fishing With Kids

Cold weather and wind have kept fishing trips to a minimum lately. Finally, however, we had a day with overnight lows only in the 50’s instead of the 40’s. I was fortunate to have a family from my hometown, Wichita, Kansas, visiting Disney and they took a day off to come over for some inshore fishing. The Stewart family included Scott and Becky and their two sons Luke, age 6 and Landon, age 12. All were avid freshwater anglers in their home waters back in Kansas.

Armed with live shrimp and popping corks we started our saltwater adventure. Departing the dock about 8:00 we encountered water temps in the high 50’s, cooler than we wanted, but you take what you get. The early fishing produced only a few pinfish so we decided to move on and try another spot. When we arrived on the west bank of the Banana River the water temps had risen to just above 60 as the warm Florida sun did its job. It wasn’t long until six year old Luke hooked up his first redfish, a nice slot sized red. He diligently fought the feisty red to the boat and then posed for a quick photo.


Luke soon caught another red, Landon caught a trout, and Becky caught another red. Landon was still looking for his first red, but his accurate casting soon paid dividends as he pulled a nice 21 inch red from under some mangroves. He showed fishing skills beyond his 12 year age, as he pulled the redfish from under the mangrove limbs and into open water. I found out later he had pulled some hefty bass from heavy cover and he new exactly what to do.


The reds were all caught on live shrimp suspended from popping corks. Success seemed to come when the shrimp were fished patiently giving the smell time to permeate the surrounding water and allow the reds time to find the tasty crustaceans. Everything you do in cold water fishing needs to be slower than normal, so patience is a virtue that will put more fish in the boat during the winter months.

We lost track of exactly how many reds we caught, because Luke was counting by twos, because he said they were bigger and deserved a better count. By the end of the day, Scott, Becky, Luke and Landon had listed redfish, trout, jacks, pinfish and a couple of really nice sheepshead to their catch-and-release list. We wouldn’t let Scott count his puffer. A couple of dolphin, manatees, osprey, and the annual migration of the white pelicans added to the day’s enjoyment.

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Other families could certainly take note of the way the Stewart family includes enjoyment of our great outdoors as a normal part of growing up for their two sons. When back in Kansas they include duck hunting, deer hunting as well as fishing in their family activities. We can never start too early in teaching our youth the importance of conservation and wise use of our great outdoor resources.

That's what it's all about. Good fishin'.

Capt. Ron Presley