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Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Getting your kids into fly fishing!

For me it wasn’t very difficult to get my kids interested in fly fishing. They seem to be drawn to anything that I am interested in. I love how I can spend quality time with my kids doing something we both love (though not much real fishing for me). From the time that they could first walk and talk my children have enjoyed fishing and watching me fish. For them it was sitting on a dock or at a pond and doing the old worm and bobber thing at first. Catching tons of sunfish, rock bass, catfish and even the odd smallmouth or largemouth bass. These were great times indeed, but not quite my idea of really fishing. Then we started fishing some of my favorite creeks for resident rainbows, browns and brookies. This was even better, but somewhat difficult for the little ones. At times they would get bored and some of the spots were pretty rough trekking for the kids. This past summer was when it all really started, when the transition was made to fly fishing.

I have three kids, a daughter who is 7, and twin boys who are 5. They can be a handful when it is just me and them. They are all very well behaved, but being kids they have a short attention span. They have to be constantly stimulated, which is why fly fishing is the perfect thing to introduce them to. It is a very visually, physically, and mentally active sport. It keeps you always moving and watching and doing something.

Now keeping in mind the ages of the kids, they did all get into some small trout with a bit of assistance. Fly fishing is definitely the sort of thing that takes one on one time when teaching it to a younger child. You need a very large area where you won’t disturb or hook another person. You also need to be very patient. It is surprising how quickly a child can learn something new. It will still take them many years to get tying, casting, wading and doing everything for themselves, but when it happens I will have a whole crew of fishin’ buddies.

I brought my kids to the spring Spey Play Day, where they first got a chance to play with my fly rod and they loved it! One of the guys there told me about a game to play with the kids in the backyard.

You place some hoola hoops around the back yard and practice aiming your cast with the fly rod. You can make it easier or harder and put point values on different hoops to make a game. The kids will play this for hours. It’s also really good practice for me.

I only let them use my old beater rod with a broken tip, and a piece of yarn instead of a fly. This is for obvious reasons until they get better, and are ready for their own rods.


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