Youth Fishing: Don’t Forget Tackle Shop Kids

Young kids who wander into your tackle shop don’t have much to spend, but treating them well paves the way for a lifetime of fishing enjoyment and maybe a long relationship with your store.

Youth Fishing: Don’t Forget Tackle Shop Kids

Any talk about youth fishing today seems to quickly move toward high school or college bass fishing teams. Make no mistake: I’m not going to throw shade on any of these wonderful opportunities. Anything the fishing industry can do to expand its reach to young people is a positive move. Period.

The theme of this short article, however, is the kids who ride their bikes to visit your tackle shop. They are likely 8 to 14 years old.

These kids might someday join a high school bass fishing team (if their school has one), but chances are much greater they’ll fish from shore for whatever is biting on their local waters, which probably means panfish, catfish, carp, suckers and maybe northern pike and bass. They were most likely introduced to fishing by a parent or other mentor, and now they like it enough to fish alone or with their classmates. (Note: The photos shown in this article were taken by Luke Maas and his older brother, Elliott. These two tackle box kids of mine often fish from shore with their buddies.) 

Be sure to stock the basic hooks, sinkers and bobbers that kids need to catch fish on your local waters. Display them in one area of your store, and don’t be afraid to break up large packs of terminal tackle into smaller quantities kids want and can afford.
Be sure to stock the basic hooks, sinkers and bobbers that kids need to catch fish on your local waters. Display them in one area of your store, and don’t be afraid to break up large packs of terminal tackle into smaller quantities kids want and can afford.

In my opinion, you should do everything you can to encourage these kids to keep fishing. If they need a bobber for today’s adventure to the local sunfish pond, and the cheapest one you sell is $1 and they can find only 70 cents in their pocket, give them the bobber. In fact, as you accumulate outdated or poorly selling lures, or partial spools of line, or whatever is still useable, toss it in a box and pull it out when one of these youngsters comes through the door. Discount the tackle to such a large degree that they can afford something.

No boat? No problem. Fishing from shore or public docks is alive and well with many young anglers from coast to coast.
No boat? No problem. Fishing from shore or public docks is alive and well with many young anglers from coast to coast.
Explain to young anglers that spring is prime time to catch shallow-water bass. Make sure they have a handful of soft plastics and worm hooks before they leave your store and ride their bikes to a nearby lake or pond.
Explain to young anglers that spring is prime time to catch shallow-water bass. Make sure they have a handful of soft plastics and worm hooks before they leave your store and ride their bikes to a nearby lake or pond.

Welcome young kids with enthusiasm every time they walk through the front door, and wish them good luck as they leave — even if they didn’t buy anything. Kids grow up, and if they stay around your town after high school and college, you will have made a customer for life. They won’t forget the kindness you showed them when they were just getting started. And positive word of mouth still means something, within a household and throughout the neighborhood.



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