Before Misty Wells became the host of “Let’s Take It Outside” on Fox Sports, she was just a kid growing up in Clearwater Beach, fishing with her father and uncle and developing a lifelong passion in the process. With summer upon us, she urges parents to “go fish” with their children.
MR: Why is fishing a great activity to do with kids?
MW: First of all, it gets them outdoors and unplugged. It also teaches them self-confidence—they are so proud of the fish they caught! They learn about teamwork. Kids usually work together and help each other. Plus, it creates a passion for conservation: water quality, no trash on the water, stay away from plastic.
MR: Are there any fishing don’ts?
MW: Don’t take it too seriously. Make sure the kids have fun. And no yelling!
MR: What are the best spots for fishing with kids in Tampa Bay?
MW: The best locations are the Sunshine Skyway Pier, Fort Desoto Park, Pier 60 Clearwater, Belleair Causeway Fishing Pier and Sand Key Fishing Pier. For bait, I suggest shrimp, threadfins and fiddler crabs. Also, party boats are a great start to taking kids fishing because they’re not expensive and they’re big, so kids have room to run around. Plus, fishing offshore usually has a lot of action!
MR: Congratulations on becoming the first woman to host an outdoor show on Fox Sports! How can we watch “Let’s Take It Outside?”
MW: People can subscribe to my YouTube [channel], “Misty Wells,” and watch Season 1. Also, starting in July, they can watch the show on Fox Sports every week (3 episodes a week) and starting in October, on World Fishing Network.
Misty Wells 9 Tips for Fishing With Kids
- Don’t wait until they’re a certain age. If they can hold a small rod and reel, take them out for a bit and get them started early.
- Teach the kids how to cast the rod in the yard first so they can do it themselves.
- Kids have a short attention span so be sure not to stay too long, unless the kids don’t want to leave.
- Try and make their fishing experiences easy. Don’t target hard to catch species—go for a species that offers a lot of action.
- Remember that size does not matter! Kids’ measure of success is different than ours. Let them have fun, no matter what they catch.
- Don’t be impatient. So what if they tangle the line? So what if they lose their bait a million times?
- Teach them about safety and conservation. Give them a sense of accomplishment and ownership and explain why they are releasing that fish and why we leave our fishing spot better than we found it.
- Teach them to tie a hook, bait a hook, net a fish and release a fish. Don’t do everything for them; nobody likes that.
- Take pictures of their catch and make a big deal of it!
Originally Published in June 2021 | Photos by Misty Wells