RE:Avoiding gut hooking
Believe it or not, my answer was to go to whippin that line around... but only very gentle short casts with a rubber legged popper. My kids have a blast and one in 50 or less can get that popper deep hooked. Even still, I can get it out without damage to the fish with less than one in perhaps several hundred dying over it, which is far better than worms.
Much less messy and the little tiny popper hooks (crushed barbs) can hardly hurt the kids. Try it - it really worked for me!