I read somewhere if a child does not go fishing before the 12th birthday, that child may not develop the drive to become fisherman. I do not know if this is true but all my children love to fish because they were on the water at 7,8,9,10 years old. At 11 and 12 I would let them go alone.( all can swim). my daughter still grabs her rod and banks fish to this day. she will catch gills and bring to me as she is walking thru the door" Dad I have you some bait!!"