Bucket Fishing: Teach Your Child to Fish

Teach your child to fish with bucket fishingFishing is a fun outdoor activity for kids.  Today, we are going to discuss how to teach your child to fish with a rod and reel.   We will focus on teaching your child to cast using a game I call bucket fishing. 

Bucket fishing is a great way to assess your child’s readiness for fishing with a rod and reel.  It is also a fun way to teach your child to cast and perfect their cast.

Although most kids learn to fish by cane pole fishing with a bobber, it’s not long before kids are begging to fish with a rod and reel.  Kids want to be like their parents.  And who can blame them. 

Fishing with a rod and reel offers so much more sportsmanship and interaction.


Oh, yeah!  Kids can’t wait to get their hands on a rod and reel.


When Is a Child Ready to Fish With a Rod and Reel?


Of course, all kids are different.  So fishing with a rod and reel is very subjective.

Fishing with a rod and reel means a child has to be mature enough to follow directions and also have the coordination and motor skills to cast.

The child must be able to follow directions.  There are dangers associated with fishing.  Your child could get hooked or someone near your child could get hooked.

And of course, having children near water can always be dangerous.  Always supervise children near water and have them wear life jackets when fishing.

Bucket fishing is a great way to determine whether your child has the maturity and coordination to fish with a rod and reel before you get to the lake or put a fully loaded rod and reel in your child’s hand (including a hook).


Items Needed for Bucket Fishing


  • 5 gallon bucket, empty
  • Rod and reel, rigged up with fishing line
  • Small plastic toy or casting plug, tied to end of the fishing line (instead of a hook)

When choosing a rod and reel for your child, I believe it’s best to go for quality, rather than cutesy characters.  A quality rod and reel combo in a small size is usually easier to use and will last longer.

I grew up fishing with Zebco rod and reels.  They have a Zebco 101SLSC® that would be a great rod and reel for kids just learning to fish.  It comes with a 4 foot medium action rod, is pre-strung with a 6 pound line and includes a casting plug.

And, no, I have no affiliation with Zebco.  I recommend their products because I have used them all my life and I find them to be economical and have good quality.

After you rig up the rod and reel with fishing line and a plastic toy or casting plug, you are ready to teach your child to cast.


How to Cast a Rod and Reel


  1. Press release button with thumb.
  2. With button pressed, bring rod back over your shoulder.
  3. As you swing the rod forward, release the button.
  4. Reel in the line and try it again!

The folks over at TakeMeFishing.org have a great diagram of how to cast.


Bucket Fishing Basics

Place the 5 gallon bucket several feet in front of the child.

Have the child cast the toy into the bucket.

As the child gets more proficient at casting the toy into the bucket, increase the distance between the child and the bucket.

Work patiently with your child and encourage them, so they don’t become frustrated.

Remember, the main objective is to teach your child to cast, even if they are not good at ringing the bucket.


Why I Love Bucket Fishing


Bucket fishing is a fun family activity.  We like to keep a couple rod and reels rigged up for bucket fishing while we are camping.  It’s a great game to play at the campsite with your entire family.  It’s not as easy as it looks and it’s hard to put down the rod until you have rung the bucket.  Bucket fishing is a wonderful way to get hooked on fishing.

I’ll see ya by the campfire.



Does your family like to bucket fish?  What other fishing activities can you recommend to us?

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Tiffany loves tent camping and knows how to bait a hook.

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  1. Thanks for the great ideas!

  2. Campy Mom says:

    Thanks for stopping by!

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