Family vacations are a wonderful time to introduce your kids to fishing, and the Outer Banks are one of the best locations to do so. Not only will your kids have the chance to catch spot, mullet and mackerel from the local beaches or piers, they may even get lucky and catch larger fish, such as grouper or sea bass. But if you want your kids to enjoy their first fishing trip, you’ll want to make sure you have some degree of success – you need to actually catch fish, instead of just staring at a fishing line in the water all day. While you can never guarantee a successful fishing trip, you can do a few things to help improve your chances.

1. Pick a Good Location

The Outer Banks have long been a favorite vacation destination for anglers, who come from all directions to enjoy the abundant fishing opportunities of the region. But some of the local fishing spots are better suited for youngsters than others. Perhaps the best location to teach your youngsters to fish is along the area’s 100-mile-long shoreline. Here, you’ll have plenty of “elbow room,” which is very helpful when teaching kids how to cast baits out into the water. Alternatively, you can try your luck on one of the local piers, such as the Avon Fishing Pier or the Outer Banks Fishing Pier. Not only will these piers provide you with easy access to fairly deep water, they also have rods, reels and tackle on hand, which you can rent or purchase.

2. Be Sure to Get the Proper Licenses

You don’t want to set a bad example for your kids, so be sure to follow all the state’s fishing regulations. Kids under 16 years of age can fish for free, but you and your spouse will both need a recreational saltwater license. However, you won’t need a license to fish from one of the commercial piers, nor do you need one if you hire a commercial charter. Also, be sure that you familiarize yourself with the creel limits and restrictions in effect before heading to the water.

3. Use Kid-Friendly Equipment and Tackle

Simplicity is one of the most important things to keep in mind when teaching your kids to fish. You want them to spend their time fishing, rather than waiting for you to fix tangled lines and jammed reels; so, avoid complicated bait-casting reels. Instead, you’ll want to set your kids up with a straight-forward spinning reel combo. They’ll need a pretty lengthy rod to fish from the surf, but try to select a shorter rod if you are fishing from the sometimes-tight confines of a crowded pier. Also, opt for live or real baits, rather than fancy lures, which are more likely to become snagged on pier pilings or underwater obstacles. Squid, cut mackerel and blood worms are all great choices that are available at both of the local piers and many of the bait shops. No matter which of the Outer Banks’ numerous fishing spots you choose for your family or how much luck you have, remember that fishing should be fun above all else. Take plenty of photos and try to keep a positive attitude during the slow times to keep the kids’ morale high.