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Go Fish! Why Fishing is the Perfect Family Summer Activity

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

  1. 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.
  2. Teach the kids how to cast the rod in the yard first so they can do it themselves.
  3. Kids have a short attention span so be sure not to stay too long, unless the kids don’t want to leave.
  4. Try and make their fishing experiences easy. Don’t target hard to catch species—go for a species that offers a lot of action.
  5. Remember that size does not matter! Kids’ measure of success is different than ours. Let them have fun, no matter what they catch.
  6. Don’t be impatient. So what if they tangle the line? So what if they lose their bait a million times?
  7. 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.
  8. 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.
  9. Take pictures of their catch and make a big deal of it!

Originally Published in June 2021 | Photos by Misty Wells

Maggie Rodriguez
Maggie Rodriguez
Maggie Rodriguez co-hosts the nationally-syndicated lifestyle show, Daytime on WFLA, Channel 8. She recently returned to tv after taking a 10-year break to raise her two children. During her career, Maggie reported and anchored the news in Miami, Los Angeles, and at the network level in New York as the host of The Early Show on CBS. She now lives in South Tampa, which she calls the perfect place to raise a family.

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