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New to Fishing, New to Houston #13594495 06/14/20 06:26 PM
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RonHTX Offline OP
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Ok... I'm not totally new to fishing. I can sink chicken liver, bait a (live) work, cast, and reel. In college (15-20 years ago), I played with spinners and plastic worms, but I don't remember any technique on reeling. That's about all the experience I have.

I'd like to get out and put line in the water. I'd really like to take my 4 year old with me. We'd be foot.

Can anyone offer any recommendations for spots to fish within a 30-60min drive from Houston (inner loop)? I'm willing to push the drive much more, but I'd like to get my little guy interested first. I know it runs counter to the short drive, but I'd prefer to get away from the crowd.

Also, I'd like to get my kiddo started right. Any preferred videos/tutorials on casting, reeling, or bait techniques? There's a lot of stuff out there, and it is a bit overwhelming to find a starting point.

Thanks in advance. Looking forward to getting active in the forum.

Re: New to Fishing, New to Houston [Re: RonHTX] #13594507 06/14/20 06:38 PM
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603Country Offline
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If you were closer to me (about 160 miles as a guess, is the distance) your little guy could catch bream in our pond till his arms got tired. As for Houston, where we lived before moving here, I don’t have any decent ideas other than finding subdivision ponds that you can fish. I’d think that finding a crappie guide for Lake Conroe or Livingston might be the best way to be sure of getting some good fishing in. All my old Houston buddies that fish are all self proclaimed tournament bass guys, so there’s no point in my asking them.

Re: New to Fishing, New to Houston [Re: RonHTX] #13595149 06/15/20 12:35 PM
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Four year olds like my grandson really take to fishing like fish to water and get a thrill feeling the tug of a fish and then seeing it on land - literally as they back up/ not reel the fish in. From that point on he will be as addicted as dear ol dad.

If he is capable of casting a small kid's Zebco rod/reel combo, great. Putting a bit of worm or other live bait on a hook as you've learned doesn't require much of a retrieval technique so the odds of catching panfish is pretty good once found regardless the water. Shallow ponds less than 8' are a good place to start, especially those where you can walk the bank to find fish.

Between ages four and five, his casting and retrieve ability should blosum surprising you. There are tons of small lures that catch fish - especially soft plastics on light jig heads. Some can even be used under a float though the combo must be pulled toward you every few seconds and paused. Hair jigs do well this way. When it comes to jig heads, lighter is the way to go, using 1/32 - 1/16 oz unpainted ball head with hook size correlated to lure body length. Hook sizes of #8 (smallest) to #4 (bigger) covers body length ranges with the hook coming out 1/3 or less from the front. Line should be 2 - 4# test for best lure action and strike sensitivity. Braid IMO is best but mono filled Snoopy reels should work initially.

When it comes to lure color, 2" curl tail and straight tail grubs come in many colors on Ebay - my confidence colors: pumpkin body/ chartreuse tail; gray/ pearl belly laminated; watermelon green/ chartreuse tail' pearl and a few others. One or all work 99 % of the time in clear or algae stained water. Besides, fish feel the lure moving towards them before seeing them, fixing speed, action and location in their little brains. Even the little ones bite soft plastics on light jig heads:
[Linked Image]

If fish size is over 5" or fish are aggressive, lure size should be larger; just the opposite when the bite is slow and fish are less aggressive. In both cases retrieves should be slow with pauses, rod twitches, 1/4 around reel handle turns - in combination. Crappie Magnets or Trout Magnets have straight split tails that do very well most seasons when rigged on light jigs. Jigs and Magnets can be found on Ebay. Curl tail grubs - generic name for ribbed plastics with curl tails - do well when a steady retrieve is needed or when used under a Beetle Spin - the generic name of overhead spins with jigs attached. The combination of flashing blade and tail action get fish to wake up and attack when they sense the combo moving overhead. I troll them slowly and get fish to bite.

Patience is key as you move step by step towards his learning casting, retrieving, hook sets and his own patience needed to coerce fish to strike.
Good luck to both of you in continually discovering the many sides of fishing - patience and experimenting at the top of the list.


Last edited by SenkoSam; 06/15/20 12:40 PM.
Re: New to Fishing, New to Houston [Re: 603Country] #13599013 06/18/20 01:25 AM
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RonHTX Offline OP
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603: Thanks for the response! When my boy gets a bit older, perhaps I'll take you up on your offer. Your recommendation to find a crappie guide is a good one. I've heard of Conroe but not Livingston. I've wondered if Lake Houston is known for fishing.
We live very close to downtown. And while I don't mind the drive, I don't think my boy could tough it out without an understanding of what is on the other side of the trip. The suburban pond is also a good idea. I think I'll google map it and figure out what might be nearest.

Re: New to Fishing, New to Houston [Re: SenkoSam] #13599028 06/18/20 01:41 AM
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RonHTX Offline OP
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Originally Posted by SenkoSam
Four year olds like my grandson really take to fishing like fish to water and get a thrill feeling the tug of a fish and then seeing it on land - literally as they back up/ not reel the fish in. From that point on he will be as addicted as dear ol dad.

If he is capable of casting a small kid's Zebco rod/reel combo, great. Putting a bit of worm or other live bait on a hook as you've learned doesn't require much of a retrieval technique so the odds of catching panfish is pretty good once found regardless the water. Shallow ponds less than 8' are a good place to start, especially those where you can walk the bank to find fish.

Between ages four and five, his casting and retrieve ability should blosum surprising you. There are tons of small lures that catch fish - especially soft plastics on light jig heads. Some can even be used under a float though the combo must be pulled toward you every few seconds and paused. Hair jigs do well this way. When it comes to jig heads, lighter is the way to go, using 1/32 - 1/16 oz unpainted ball head with hook size correlated to lure body length. Hook sizes of #8 (smallest) to #4 (bigger) covers body length ranges with the hook coming out 1/3 or less from the front. Line should be 2 - 4# test for best lure action and strike sensitivity. Braid IMO is best but mono filled Snoopy reels should work initially.

When it comes to lure color, 2" curl tail and straight tail grubs come in many colors on Ebay - my confidence colors: pumpkin body/ chartreuse tail; gray/ pearl belly laminated; watermelon green/ chartreuse tail' pearl and a few others. One or all work 99 % of the time in clear or algae stained water. Besides, fish feel the lure moving towards them before seeing them, fixing speed, action and location in their little brains. Even the little ones bite soft plastics on light jig heads:
[Linked Image]

If fish size is over 5" or fish are aggressive, lure size should be larger; just the opposite when the bite is slow and fish are less aggressive. In both cases retrieves should be slow with pauses, rod twitches, 1/4 around reel handle turns - in combination. Crappie Magnets or Trout Magnets have straight split tails that do very well most seasons when rigged on light jigs. Jigs and Magnets can be found on Ebay. Curl tail grubs - generic name for ribbed plastics with curl tails - do well when a steady retrieve is needed or when used under a Beetle Spin - the generic name of overhead spins with jigs attached. The combination of flashing blade and tail action get fish to wake up and attack when they sense the combo moving overhead. I troll them slowly and get fish to bite.

Patience is key as you move step by step towards his learning casting, retrieving, hook sets and his own patience needed to coerce fish to strike.
Good luck to both of you in continually discovering the many sides of fishing - patience and experimenting at the top of the list.


I look forward watching my boy's trepidation turn to excitement!

After reading your response, I looked around for a Zebco of the sort I grew up with. It looks like the Dock Demon would be about right. Though if he spots the Lil Angler's Paw Patrol, I'm in trouble. (You'd be disappointed to find the Snoopy Zebcos cannot be found and are now collector's items.) Dumb question coming--you mentioned live worm on a hook. With the youngin', would you put a lead weight up from the worm and add a bobber a couple feet up?

I can't adequately convey my appreciation for your willingness to take the time to type out the specific advice and direction on hook size, lure color, and explanations. The Beetle Spins remind me of the Spinnerbaits that I used to pull for mainly bass back in college.

Re: New to Fishing, New to Houston [Re: RonHTX] #13599250 06/18/20 08:10 AM
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Quote
would you put a lead weight up from the worm and add a bobber a couple feet up?


The split shot sinker weighs your line to keep this type of float upright when using light bait:
[Linked Image]

In my experience the above float does as well with no split shot.

A balsa or the plastic float pictured will actually lie on its side and becomes upright by a fish pulling the worm & float down fast, though at an angle to keep the bait away from other turned on fish. Tip: teach your child to wait 2 seconds once the float submerges before setting the hook accomplished by raising the rod tip in a direction opposite the pull in line but that's at the same angle of pull. Reeling in line to set the hook loses the most fish.

Once the hook is set, it's also good to teach him the rod tip line-pull action followed by taking in line fast with the reel handle followed by lowering the rod tip 45 degrees and then pulling the fish towards you again. A big fish will warn him to yield a bit before the next pull or risk pulling the hook loose.

The type float shown below is in my opinion one of the most sensitive of floats and the least resistant to a bait being taken down. The one I use has a band of lead at the bottom for a little less buoyancy and the float does come in different sizes.
[Linked Image]
(Note:I use the combo when using a soft plastic lure (Trout Magnet or fur jig for example) under a float when there's a light chop on the water and when ice fishing.)

Almost forgot: use a hook with a decent size shank for easier hook removal accomplished with needle nose pliers which will be needed in most cases using small hooks in small mouths. Deep in-the-throat set hooks may have to be allowed to stay following a line cut where fish are more apt to survive. Catch & release at this stage teaches valuing animal life followed later by catch & keep for food (or in my case to stock my pond.)

As with any fishing advice, the above is based on experience-based ideas and the many fish caught over many years but not bible. Always keep a mind open to new and maybe better ideas and information - a catch as valuable as catching the fish. Impart this as a lesson example of continually learning and adapting to become better at anything - especially fishing.


Last edited by SenkoSam; 06/18/20 08:39 AM.
Re: New to Fishing, New to Houston [Re: RonHTX] #13599536 06/18/20 02:42 PM
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I'd suggest finding a neighborhood pond. Any developed neighborhood built in the last 15 years or so has a code requirement for a retainer pond for drainage, and almost all of them are stocked with some fish.

The problem with ponds during the summertime is they are filled with moss that will catch on any type of exposed hook. Usually a little skill with your casting can avoid it, but not the case with your kiddo. For this reason I'd recommend trying a drop shot rig.
[Linked Image]
You can use just about anything for bait. And any plastic artificial can be rigged to be weedless. Cast out from the bank and drag it in slowly. Pause the retrieve as often as a 4-year old will allow. A gentle shake of the rod tip will give an incredible action to your bait.

If you aren't catching on a plastic worm or minnow, then you can use the same setup with earthworms, live minnows, hot dogs, or anything else.


Re: New to Fishing, New to Houston [Re: RonHTX] #13601799 06/20/20 11:17 AM
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Re: New to Fishing, New to Houston [Re: RonHTX] #13606110 06/24/20 03:45 AM
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Originally Posted by RonHTX
603: Thanks for the response! When my boy gets a bit older, perhaps I'll take you up on your offer. Your recommendation to find a crappie guide is a good one. I've heard of Conroe but not Livingston. I've wondered if Lake Houston is known for fishing.
We live very close to downtown. And while I don't mind the drive, I don't think my boy could tough it out without an understanding of what is on the other side of the trip. The suburban pond is also a good idea. I think I'll google map it and figure out what might be nearest.



there are plenty of crappie and catfish guides on Conroe that can put him on fish. Lake houston is decent for crappie and cats as well.


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