Had some family in town recently, and of course , we had to do a little fishing! My young nieces, Bea (4) and Eloise (2), had never been on a boat. This was gonna be a big day. With the very young kiddos, I’m a big fan of strategy. My biggest fear is to scar a kid into not wanting to fish ever again. Short boat rides, snacks and steady action (anything that bites) always helps.

It all started with the pick up. I had brother-in-law Russell bring the little ones to Sunset Landing, in Back Bay, Bay St Louis. Sunset Landing has an immaculate facility, and clean restrooms. Owner Kennon McWilliams, and his staff, are about the nicest people you’ll ever meet.

We had a cool North East wind, so this location kept us out of any chop, to fish the back bay. Luckily the rat reds kept us very busy, so Bea and Eloise got to reel in plenty of fish. We didn’t keep any fish, it was just photo and release. My daughter/their cousin Margot(9) helped keep the little ones interested. They all took turns reeling in fish. The savior of the day was the live well, with minnows in it. The little ones took turns scooping minnows, for literally hours. After about 3 hours, they lost interest in boats, fishing and minnow terrorizing. We eased back to Sunset Landing, and sent the crew to meet the moms for lunch, at The Blind Tiger Restaurant.

These trips are NOT about the adults. At this young age, you are laying the framework for what could be possibly be a life long fishing buddy. Bad weather, miles of rough seas, and chasing fish for your own enjoyment can ruin a trip for little kids. Work your way up to those long runs. Trust me, once they get bit by the “fishing bug” you’ll have them for life. Play it safe, take it slow, and just have fun with our future fishermen and fisherwomen.

Remember, they’re going to be taking our old butts one day....

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