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Getting Kids Started Fishing

Getting kids started fishing can create great family memories and lead them to a hobby for the rest of their lives.  The key to that first time is to provide an enjoyable experience  to ensure that they are excited to go on repeated trips.  This article gives you suggestions to make sure that first trip is a success.

Bullet points:

  1. How long to go?
  2. Fish in a barrel
  3. Make it an adventure – related activities
  4. Snacks can save you
  5. Simple gear

In today’s increasing digital age, fishing can be an important activity to get kids outdoors and away from electronic screens.  Healthline estimates that 91% of kids today play video games.  When time playing games is combined with other screen times like phone and television it is critical to organize physical activities to get kids outside and away from screens.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that children ages 8 to 10 spend an average of six hours per day in front of a screen, kids ages 11 to 14 spend an average of nine hours per day in front of a screen and youth ages 15 to 18 spend an average of seven and a half hours per day.

Getting kids started in fishing is a great outdoor activity to keep them busy for a few hours.  Here are three tips to make the trip a success.

1. How long to go?

Plan a short trip. Do not plan to be gone the whole day, plan the trip to be 1-2 hours, so that if they lose interest you are ready to move on also. If you plan a long day and the fish aren’t biting, kids quickly lose interest and will be asking many times how fast you can go home.

2. Fish in a barrel. 

We all know the old saying, “easy as fishing in a barrel”, you want to take that approach when taking kids on a fishing trip. Catching as many fish as possible is the goal of most anglers but is critical with kids. Seek out bodies of water, with high fish density and low fishing pressure.  You can start by looking for private waters where you could gain access. Good public options can include waters in housing developments, schools, or churches.  Many of these organizations will allow fishing to the public especially for residents and members. has an interactive website tool to help you find a place to fish close to you. Start by targeting species that are numerous and easiest to catch.  Secondly, plan trips to target those species around the best possible time to fish in your area.  If the bluegill spawn in May, plan your trip to coincide with that. Certainly, weather should be an important consideration as well.  Also, bringing along live bait or preserved live bait can be extra insurance to make sure fish are caught. Other organizations that have resources to help you get started include Cast For Kids and Future Angler Foundation.

3.  Make it an adventure.

Certainly, you hope the fishing are biting, but if they aren’t it will help a lot to have other outdoor activities planned that you can quickly transition to from fishing.  Even if the fishing action is fast, don’t be surprised if the kids quickly lose interest and are ready for something else. A quick transition to a nature hike or scavenger hunt can peak their interest in a new adventure. If you brought live bait for your fishing trip that can easily be turned into an activity.  You can seek out a new home for worms, minnows or crickets or quickly add leaves, water, rocks etc to a container to make them a new home.  Used soft baits can also be great entertainment for kids.

Kids may spend more time playing with the soft plastics than they do fishing with them. You just want to make sure they do not put the lures in their mouth.

4.         Snacks can save you

Make sure to bring plenty of snacks and drinks for your trip.  You certainly can bring their favorites, but you can also pack items with a fishing theme.  Goldfish crackers, gummy worms, Swedish Fish or even tuna sandwiches could make your fish theme even stronger for the kids.  Unique and different snacks will help them remember the trip.  Hydration is also important, so make sure to include plenty of beverages.

5.         Simple gear

It is important to start your anglers with equipment that is easy to use, spincast combos make a great place to get started.  For live bait, get some small hooks in sizes like 8 and 10 along with some small split shots and small bobbers.  With just those few items you can be set up to fish with live bait.  The same spincast or a small spinning combo can easily be used with some simple lures as well.     

Here are three product recommendations that work nationwide for multiple species to help get you started

Fish4Bass. For only $2.99 this kit has two versions that will have you ready to bass fish anywhere in the country.  Each kit has the hooks, weights and baits rigged as you need them ready to go, just tie them on and start fishing.  The kit is available in two color options. One is recommended for stained water and one is recommended for clear water.

Bait box

Kids love critters and bugs and the Bait Boxes bring you realistic soft plastic critters.  Each pack comes with a 1/16oz jig head rigged with a top selling plastic and six spares.  Each plastic shape is offered in a best-selling color. Simply tie them on and you are ready to target bluegill, crappie, bass or walleye in lakes, rivers, streams or ponds.

Kids Kit

This assortment kit brings you a mix of plastic baits, hooks, weights and jigs that will allow you to target a wide range of species anywhere in the country.  All come in a Plano tackle box to keep everything organized.

Getting your kids fishing this year is a great way to get them away from the screens and set the foundations for a hobby that could last a lifetime.

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Bulk Up

Your weight may have been a problem recently with too much eating and a lack of exercise, but that is not the “bulk up”, we are talking about.  Big Bite’s most popular shapes and colors are available in bulk packs of 25 and 100 counts.  There are three great reasons to buy your favorite baits in bulk.

1. Cost savings:  No sense paying for extra packaging for your favorite shapes, buy them in larger quantities to save money. Our bulk packs offer a money saving option for you favorite baits.

2. Stock up: Don’t run out of your favorite shape when you’re on a hot bite during your next fishing trip.  Bulk packages are also a great option for scholastic teams that like to share popular shapes during an event.

3. Organization: Keep your tackle more organized with our bulk packs.  Organization can lead to more fishing time,  and ultimately help you put more fish in the boat. Our bulk packs are perfect for storing baits in the garage or the boat, allowing you to have easy access to your favorite plastics.  User friendly packaging allows you to open and close bulk packs quickly, and they are free standing to help keep your tackle organized. Soft plastic storage systems can cost far more than $15, so our bulk packs can keep you organized in a cost-effective manner.

Take a look at our two exclusive bulk pack options that were developed specially to Big Bite’s criteria. First up is our Pro Pack. This high-quality constructed bag features a gusseted bottom to make it free standing, giving the baits more room at the bottom.  The gusset really helps with storage of bulky baits. The top features a zip to allow easy access to baits with the ability to seal your baits in. Our Pro Packs come with 25 baits per pack and are available in the 4″ Fighting Frog, 4.25″ and 5″ Cane Thumper, 5″ Trick Stick, and Craw Tube.

The Big Bite Baits Pro Pack

Our second bulk pack option is the Mega Pack.  It features the same quality construction and is also a Big Bite exclusive.  It is made to hold 100 of your favorite baits no matter the size. It features a roll top closure system with folding side tabs to secure it. The bag design features a flat bottom and square sides to keep the baits straight.  It is the ultimate storage system for big baits like sticks and big worms.  It works great for “go to” shapes that never leave your boat.  The Mega Pack easily stores on shelves or work benches to keep your baits straight and organized for easy access.

a large bulk bag of baits, click to shop
The Big Bite Baits Mega Pack
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College Fishing Tips

Big Bite Baits has a long history of supporting and working with high school and college anglers.  Several of our employees have kids that have competed in high school events and have gone on to compete at the collegiate level, with some even receiving scholarships for their angling skills. Our employees have also served as coaches for several different teams, and are extremely supportive of both high school and college fishing.  With all of this in mind, we have compiled some information for high school and college anglers to help make them more successful in their pursuits.

Fishing is a rewarding,  yet challenging sport for most collegiate anglers. It is a balancing act of school and travel for tournaments.   Students deal with absences for practice and tournaments, often times traveling  long distances for events.  Most anglers try to schedule their classes based on the tournament schedule, in order to avoid missing classes and on campus activities.  Often anglers will try to take a lighter schedule or online classes in the spring to help facilitate their tournament travel schedule.  Anglers also try to limit the days of week they are in class to maximize their availability for practice.  Travel, boat,  and tackle expenses can also be challenging on a college budget requiring part time and summer jobs. When looking at joining a college fishing team, anglers and their parents should consider the information they will need and questions they should ask before choosing the university they attend.  Some kids struggle in the transition from high school to college as they are moving from having a boat captain to handling tournaments on their own with a partner.  We highly recommend they start competing in adult trails on their own in local tournaments when possible as high school seniors to assist in this transition.

What do collegiate anglers need?

  • Knowledge
    • Fishing Skills – All anglers should have role models/mentors they can turn to in order to gain fishing skills. Many organizations offer camps and schools.  There are so many online resources available now to gain knowledge.  Anglers should try to fish with a variety of other anglers.
    • Fish Care Skills
      • How to remove hooks properly
      • How to keep their live wells clean
      • How to fizz a deep fish
    • Boat Skills
      • Boater safety training
      • Boater maintenance training (recommend spending time working with a marina or skilled individual so they know how to change engine oil, install accessories, and handle simple maintenance issues while on the water and traveling.)
      • Boat trailering skills (even non boaters need these skills so they can assist their boaters at tournaments)
      • Trolling motor skills
    • Travel Skills
      • Know how to properly pull a trailer long distance (Proper trailer settings, tire pressure, engine tilt and how wide to swing)
      • Know how to change a tire on both vehicle and boat trailer.
      • Map skills
      • Know how to book hotel rooms
      • Know how to read lake maps and have maps for all lakes in case electronics fail.
    • Electronic Skills – know the proper settings and mapping skills for your units.
    • Tournament Rules – Read all tournament rules as different trails and lakes will have different:
      • Off limit zones and days/times
      • Information sharing rules
      • Minimum length per species
      • Dead fish penalties
      • Life jacket requirements
      • Culling rules
      • Bait/hook limitations
  • Equipment
    • Rods and Reels – recommend a minimum of six in order to cover these techniques
      • Topwater
      • Flipping / punching
      • Dropshot / finesse – spinning combo
      • Jerkbait/mid depth crank
      • Deep Crank/swimbait
      • Deep jig/worm
    • Baits – recommend keeping at minimum a one week supply of favorite baits in multiply colors to cover water clarity and limit 4-6 boxes in the boat at one time.
    • Fishing line – keep extra for respooling before and during tournaments
      • Fluorocarbon – 8lb, 12lb, 16lb & 20lb
      • Nylon –  12lb, 16lb
      • Braid -12lb, 16lb, 30lb, 50lb, 60lb
    • Electronics – depthfinders/fishfinders
    • Proper clothing and Outerwear
      • Rain suits for the inclement weather
      • Cold weather gear
      • Hats and Buffs
      • Gloves
    • Fishing licenses and/or boating licenses for all states they will fish.
    • Life jackets (some tournament require specific jackets so have all types required)
    • Sunscreen
    • Weigh bag
    • Nets
    • Non puncturing cull tags
    • Scales and/or cull beam
    • Pliers
    • Scissors/line cutters
    • First Aid kit
    • Laptop for working on assignments while traveling and research
    • Hauling vehicle in good working condition with storage capacity for equipment.
    • Spare boat parts: prop, trolling motor prop, battery, fuses, extra oil, boat light
    • Spare tires and equipment such as Wench, tire wrench, fix a flat or air compresors, ball bearing grease
    • Tools for on the water and at the hotel repair
      • Wrenches
      • Variety of screwdrivers
      • Funnel
      • Extension cords with splitters (waterproof)
      • Battery charger
      • Jumper cables
      • Small plastic line for breaking up clogs

Students moving on to college look at a number of considerations when choosing the right school for their situation. They look at the what the school offers for their area of study and future profession as well as athletics, lifestyle, living conditions or other.  What a college offers to anglers is now a consideration for students looking to choose a college.  Here is a list of things to consider when looking at college fishing teams:

  • What type of University support does the team have?  Most college teams fall into 3 types:
    • Varsity team: 
      • Headed by faculty coach
      • Treated as varsity sport with absences allowed for competition
      • Financial support from university which may include boats or boat storage facilities.
      • Scholarships
    • University Club:
      • Headed by student with oversight by Faculty Advisor.
      • Treated as club on campus and may have absences for competition granted through faculty advisor.
      • Minimal financial support by university with other funding coming from sponsors and fundraisers.
      • Possible partial scholarships
    • Student Ran Club:
      • Headed by students elected by club.
      • No special consideration for absences for competition.
      • All financial support generated by students through sponsorships and fundraisers.
      • Only academic scholarships.
  • What tournament trails does the team fish and how are the anglers selected for each event? 
    • With national options from BASS, FLW, and Collegiate Bass along with numerous other regional and state options, it is important to know where the team might travel and how many events they will be expected to fish during the school year.
    • Most anglers love to compete often, but some can’t handle missing too many classes needed for both practice and competition without their grades being impacted. 
    • School absences become even more challenging with long distance tournaments.
    • Will the team be limited to only a few tournaments a year with only a select few competing or will the whole team be able to participate?
  • How are partners chosen at the school? 
    • Anglers choose their own partners
    • Partners selected by coach
    • Partners selected by a points system or performance in qualifiers
    • Partners selected by boat/non boater need.
  • Is there safe and insured boat storage available and if not how expensive is this in the area?
    • Student boats come in a wide range of models and values, but most now contain expensive equipment and tackle that the anglers have pieced together over time.  While some universities provide storage for student anglers its important to make sure these facilities are in a safe area with adequate security and insurance to deter theft. 
    • You can’t park a boat at a dorm, so a majority of anglers at universities that don’t provide storage are left to rent storage units or rent houses off campus with garage storage.  Often this adds to college expenses.
  • What is the team’s policy on travel and boat expenses?  Are expenses covered for both tournament and practice or only tournament days?
    • Full expense – Some schools pay hotel, meals, gas and oil expense.
    • Partial expense – Other schools only offer a specific amount for gas and oil expense per tournament or day
    • Club support – Most clubs which do a good job with their fundraisers will allot funds to help with travel expense.
    • Split expense – For schools that do not provide expense support some do require non boaters to pitch in for gas, oil and other general maintenance
    • Boaters expense – Unfortunately, some clubs do not have expense rules in which case all the gas and other related expenses fall to the boater.

Preston Kendrick, a senior at Bryan College, is a successful student angler planning to graduate with a degree in business marketing.  He provides his perspective on his college experience. “When making my college decision as a high school student, I based my decision off of what college would fit me best and give me the best opportunity for a future in bass fishing while gaining knowledge in business marketing, which is a good degree to have in the fishing industry”, said Kendrick. 

“There is not a doubt in my mind that college fishing has caused me to be a better angler, and there are many factors that have contributed to this. One of the best opportunities I have at Bryan College is being within walking distance of Lake Chickamauga. Anyone that knows anything about bass fishing is aware that Lake Chickamauga is capable of producing giant bass. My teammates and I often go fishing after class, and I have learned a lot just by fishing with different people on my team. Anytime a professional fisherman is asked what advice they would give high school and college kids that want to get better at fishing, I always hear the same answer: Spend as much time as you can on the water and fish with as many different people as you can. I have learned that doing these two things will improve someone as a fisherman more than anything.

Another thing that has caused me to be a better angler in college is the competition itself. When you are fishing against some of the best young adult fishermen in the world, you know you have to catch them to compete. I learned pretty early in my college fishing career that these guys don’t mess around. Every college fisherman has the same dream to become a professional fisherman as everyone else does; it is just about who wants it more. Bass fishing is a sport that you can easily get discouraged, and many people let that cause them to lose sight of their dream. I have learned that having a good attitude is the most important thing in not just bass fishing, but life in general. A negative attitude can weigh you down in life, and will cause you to lose every time. However, I am not saying that it is good to be satisfied with your performance every time because I am never satisfied until I win, just as every competitor should feel.

God has truly blessed me in my college fishing career and many opportunities have been opening up for me lately that I am truly thankful for. My partner, Bailey Fain, and I won the 2020 Boat U.S. Collegiate Bass Fishing National Championship on Pickwick Lake. This was only our fourth tournament that we have fished together, and God has truly blessed us this year as we also had a 7th place finish at the Bassmaster College Series on Smith Lake in February which qualified us for the Bassmaster College National Championship scheduled for October 29-31. Bailey and I also had the honor to weigh in on the biggest stage in bass fishing for the Bassmaster College Classic in Birmingham back in March.

Preston Kendrick and Bailey Fain, Collegiate Bass Fishing National Champions

Our team as a whole has had a lot of success over the years, but this past year has been special. This year alone, our team has had a top 10 finish in every tournament we have competed in. The support that our team gives each other for every tournament really shows the brotherhood that we are part of, and I am thankful for it. We really push each other to be better anglers, as teammates should do. While I am grateful for the success that God has blessed me with, I still have a lot to learn. For my last year of college fishing, my goal is to learn as much as I can from my teammates and competitors, build as many relationships as I can with other anglers and people in the fishing industry, and soak up every moment in the opportunities that I am given.” concluded Kendrick.

Big Bite has special purchase programs available for college students. Visit us at for more details on our student angler programs.

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Scott Montgomery – Competitor & VP

Scott Montgomery at the 2020 FLW Toyota Series in Eufaula, AL
(Photo by Jacob Fine)

If you’ve been paying much attention to tournament results from Lake Eufaula over the past several years, it is likely you have seen Scott Montgomery’s name near the top of the leaderboard. Last week’s FLW Toyota Series on Eufaula was no exception, as Montgomery added another top 10 finish to his resume on the Alabama/Georgia border fishery.

What you may not know about Montgomery is he spends his days serving as VP of Big Bite Baits. Montgomery’s parents Dennis and Joyce instilled a great work ethic in him from a very young age, and he has been working with them at D&J Plastics and Big Bite Baits ever since. “My Dad has taught me so much about working in this industry over the years, and I owe all of the success I have had to my parents,” says Montgomery. While helping to make D&J Plastics and Big Bite Baits prosper Montgomery has carved out time to stay active in local and regional tournaments. “I try to find as many events that are close to home that I can fish in order to balance my work load. These mainly consist of one day weekend tournaments that do not require me to miss much work. I will always look to see if a big tournament will be coming to my home lake and always try to fish it, but it’s hard for me to be gone from work when the fishing is as it peak because that’s when we are the busy at the plant,” said Montgomery.

Working within the industry can be a gift and a curse for those anglers who love to fish tournaments, as Montgomery is well aware of. “I think it is an advantage to work in the industry in the sense that I am up on some of the new baits and trends, but you balance that with the fact that it is difficult to get time off of work to actually fish and it is probably a wash.” Montgomery concluded. See some of the baits that Montgomery has spent years both on and off of the water perfecting by visiting

(Photo by Curtis Niedermier)