KindFishing is the easiest and safest way to introduce kids (and yourself) to the art of fishing. You do not need lots of equipment to get started. If you already have a fishing pole and reel you can get started right away. Remove any hook on any lures or fly-fishing flies you plan to use. For lures like spinner baits and jigs, a pair of needle nose pliers makes it a bit easier to remove the hooks. Use a pair of small wire cutters can to clip off the hook end of fly fishing flies . Be careful not to clip the dressing and thread that make up the body of the fly. If there is a sharp edge after your cut you can use a small file to round that off.
If you do not have any fishing gear yet there are several easy ways to get started. The low cost way is to find something to use as a short pole. A piece of bamboo cane such as the thin cane plant stakes from your garden and some light string work fine. If you do not already have these types of canes, you can get a bag of them for a few bucks at most garden centers. This way you will have extras to share if you want to invite some friends along.
If you do not have a fishing lure tie a knot or small loop at the end of the line to press balls of compressed bread into. The bread will not last long in the water. It is best used when you can see small fish like sunnies in a local pond and can then place the bread on the water. If you guide your child to dip the line in the water, 'park pond' sunnies will come to eat the bread. As bits of bread separate, other fish may come to eat them. This is a great no-frills way to introduce toddlers to fishing and let them observe fish behavior.
If you want to buy a fishing rig there are many choices at your local sporting goods store or online. You can KindFish with a spinning reel rig or fly fishing rig.I started with a pretty inexpensive one of each to see which style of fishing I would like best. I found fly fishing to be more to my liking. I have since loaded up on fly fishing gear from a variety of sources.
If you and your family take to any style of fishing there is no end to the amount and types of gear you can buy. I once read a quote that has stuck with me. I hope the author forgives that I do not remember their name. It went something like this: "teach a man to fish and you will feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to fly fish and you will get rich selling him stuff for a lifetime". My wife will tell you that there is truth to that.
Another type of fishing that suits KindFishiing is Tenkara. Tenkara is popular in Japan for fishing in their small mountain streams. It is 'string & pole" fishing taken to a sublime art form and I think everyone should have at least one Tenkara setup (I have currently have three --gear junkie!). In the US, the growing popularity of Tenkara is due in part to Daniel Gallardo, the founder of Tenkara USA. Daniel wrote the first book that I read about Tenkara. I also recommend Chris Stuart's blog and shop, Tenkara Bum. These two guys pretty much cover everything you need to know about Tenkara. You will also find mentions about Tenkara in some of the books listed in the KindFishing reading list.
Like any sport or hobby, with KindFishing you can skim the surface or dive deep. I am somewhere in the middle. There are fly fishing skills I am focusing on now, such as becoming better at casting. Others I will develop later. For example, I have not at all gotten involved with learning to tie my own flies. I am also sure that I am not always using the "right" fly at the "right" time. This is where ignorance is bliss. If I have used the 'wrong' fly it has not spoiled a KindFishing outing. I always get takes. For example, once I was casting a saltwater streamer fly from the shore of a salt-water estuary. I was hoping to attract young striped bass or snapper. After a few casts, I had not felt a "take" but could see that there were fish feeding nearby. My lure was not getting their attention, so I thought I would try a different lure. As I streamed my lure in towards the shore to change it a crab grabbed it. The crab had been hiding in the sand. We played a gentle game of tug-of-war for a minute or so before the crab realized the lure was not real food and let it go. That was not expected but it was a lot of fun!
Fish more. Do no Harm.