Kids and Fly Fishing

I have to admit that I have been more than delinquent about updating this blog site.  I’ve been kept busy with keeping the forum on moving along, and of course I’ve been getting out on the rivers and ponds, fishing.  Life is tough.

I’m now trying to update this and at the same time, I’m learning how to use the new Windows Live Writer program, so bare with me.   This could go well or I could be throwing my coffee at the screen very shortly. 

   I took my grandson, Ben out for a little fishing at a local pond the other day.  It’s not his first time.  Here he is with his first bass on a fly rod.  We like to go for blue gills but they were in hiding that day.   

If I can do anything here, it’s to encourage you to take a kid out fishing.  The earlier the better, if you want them to fall in love with this activity.  My regret as a mother was that I didn’t do this for my own kids until it was too late.  They were already absorbed in computer games, t.v. and other activities, like interest in the opposite sex. 

Ben is 18 months old here.  It’s not to early to start letting them get a taste.  I don’t let him cast the fly rod yet.  Just dapping a fly on the water works for him and keeps him happy.  It also keeps him sitting.   He can see the fish come up and take the fly and he finds that exiting.  I keep a hand on the rod (and him) for the time being.  I may just put  a tether on the rod soon but you need to do something like that at this stage, just in case they want to play scientist and see if fly rods float.

He spends a lot of time throwing stones, looking at bugs, turtles, geese, ducks and anything else that might pass by.  If you take your little one fishing, don’t expect a peaceful afternoon catching your own fish.  This is a good lesson in guiding.  You will be changing flies, untangling line,  playing line backer keeping the kid from going for an unexpected swim, playing with goose poo, or away from other dangers.

Keep these outings short.  Leave before they get bored, so they will be eager to go, the next time you think you want to try it.  Ben sees me now and the first thing he says, is "go car. go ffffisssshing, go weeeee weeee"  (there is a swing set at the pond, lol)

I use a 6ft 2wt rod with Ben.  It’s small enough he can handle it and it fine for the fish he’s going to catch with it.  If your little one is ready for a little more independence, you can build a small rod that will work from scraps or purchase a cheap rod kit.  I built this rod for under $50.  You can find kits even cheaper and you don’t have to get fancy like I did.    

The reel can be the cheapest used reel you can find.  The fly line can be cut from an old line you no longer need.  They only need a few yards with some backing (just in case) for the first little while.   Casting should be kept fun and simple and only with a piece of wool for a while.   Roll casting is fine for the time being.  Especially if there is a hook involved.  Make them wear eye protection anytime they cast a rod.   Think of it as safety gear, like a life jacket.   Sunglasses work great but get one of those strings that go around the neck so when they flip the glasses off (and they will) they won’t end up at the bottom of the lake.

Give them opportunity and make it fun. 

Kids get the hang of casting far easier and better than you would expect.  This little guy wanted to get into the distance casting contest we adults were having at Gates AuSable Lodge a couple of weeks ago.  With a couple of short lessons he was double hauling with the best of them.   If you little one doesn’t get it…DON’T get frustrated….just go on to something else and make it FUN!!  You want them to love it…and not think of it as a piano lesson or a math test. 

Oh…one more thing…you might not want to let them play with your favorite fishing hat.  You might not get it back.


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