That trip was only to the creek in the park across the street
and we had an awesome time. Using the below information, my daughter pulled out a ton of bluegill.
They are a lot of fun to catch because they hang out under bridges or by the bank just below the surface of the water in groups. That means you can see them fight over the bait. They bite within seconds and put up a pretty good fight considering their size. We can usually continue pulling those out and putting them back as long as we have bait.
As far as equipment goes, I bought my daughter a “sponge bob” rod and reel that floats WHEN (not if) dropped in the water, the smallest hook you can find and a cork if you want (we never use one since you can see your bait with these fish. The rod and reel are fun but honestly, when you are only dropping your hook in the water for 10 seconds right below you, a cane pole ($1.50) will work too.
Here is my super secret bluegill bait – hotdog. They can’t leave it alone and it is about as cheap as you can get! I hear corn or bread works too but I never have luck with those. Plus hotdog has worked so good that I just can’t justify looking for anything else.
After the very first trip, she was hooked (sorry for the pun). The only bad part of this experience is that now she can use the fishing rod, perch hook and bait listed above to pull out 8 inch bass on days I can’t even get a bite :-)
I have a neighbor who asked me to take his daughter fishing because he was as uncomfortable with fishing as I would be with hunting. After he went with us one time, he saw how simple it was and now has a date for fishing once a month between him and his daughter.
Here is that list of equipment again:
Kids rod and reel or cane pole
Smallest hook you can find
A floating cork if you want – though we never use one
A pack of Hotdogs
A glove to hold the fish while you take the hook out of its mouth
Small needle nose pliers or hemostats to help grab the hook.
Use the linked fishing knot on your hook because it is the best and only one you need to know. A regular knot works ok but when your daughter gets caught on brush, the knot will until and you will lose your hook.
Put a small piece of hotdog skin on the hook and try to leave the point of the hook covered.
Place the hook in the water and wait. Bluegill will hit it a couple of times but when you see the pink from the hotdog disappear - that means a fish has it in its mouth – and pull up quickly on the pole.
Use your gloved hand to hold the fish being careful to lay down the fins against his body before you grab him. Sometimes it helps to grab the line and bring your hand down over his mount onto his body since the fins point backwards. Grasp the hook with your other hand or the pliers and work it back out the way it went in. Note that sometimes you have to press down so the barb on the hook will stop grabbing and will come out.
This is a very informative video which shows most of the technique but don’t let the jargon scare you. This stuff is easy and fun and you don’t need all the stuff this guys shows. Jump ahead to about 6 minutes: