Taking your kids out fishing is a great way to spend quality time and teach them a great sport they will cherish the rest of their lives. In this article I will offer tips that will not only help you teach your kids to be better fisherman, but also keep them interested and make fly fishing a lifelong hobby (or addiction).
At what age should I start my children fly fishing and how should I go about it?
I think a good age where their level of patience and attention level will be adequate to properly learn is around 10-12 years old. You can start them sooner, but you should bear in mind that young children have short attention spans. Starting them too early and they could become bored; this could lead to them not appreciating the sport of flyfishing at all and writing it off as something they aren’t interested in. If you do take youngsters out early in life be sure you only take them on short trips and don’t pressure them too much.
All children should learn to fly fish in areas that have a large quantity of fish and a high catch rate. This could be done on a pond or lake with bluegill or even at a local trout stream that has recently been stocked with easy to catch trout. Attempting to take children to an area that requires great mending and perfect presentations will cause them to think it is too difficult and they might want to quit before they get the hang of it. The beauty of flyfishing on a pond for bluegill is that mending your line and getting the perfect drift will not be a factor; these fish do not care about dragging flies or sloppy casting.
Taking youngsters fly fishing with a traditional rod and floating bubble
Although using a spincasting rod is not fly fishing in the traditional sense, it can be a great way to get your kids interested in the sport. Using a transparent bubble bobber will allow your kids to drift flies easily right along side you. Simply attach the bobber a few feet up from the fly and they will be able to get good drifts and still enjoy the excitement of watching fish eat dry flies.
I have never fly fished, how can me and my kids get started?
If you have never flyfished and want to get into it right along with your children, there are a couple good ways to get started. Hiring a guide will be the best method to get you well on your way to becoming a pro. Trying to learn on your own can take some time and could potentially cause some bad habits that can be hard to break. Learning properly the first time will be well worth it in the long run. You can also call your local flyshop and find out if they offer casting lessons or clinics to teach you the basics in just a couple hours on a pond or even on a lawn behind the shop.
The proper equipment for kids to get started in flyfishing
Teaching kids to flyfish with inferior equipment can make things a lot more difficult than they have to be. Be sure you don’t buy a really stiff rod that is heavy in weight, because these children need to be able to comfortably hold this thing up for our fishing trip and a heavy rod could fatigue them quickly. Another factor that is very helpful for learning is using a lighter *weight (as in stiffness level) rod. A super stiff 6 weight will not allow them to feel the rod loading because their muscles may not be developed enough to provide adequate force to even load the rod. An 8′ 4-5 weight will make learning as easy as possible. There are many children’s beginner fly fishing kits on the market that will be great for your kids to get the hang of things on such as the Redington Minnow series (in the image left). This rod even comes with fun casting games that will make your kids eager to become a great fly fisherman.
I still recall one of my first trips on the the river alone when my dad was back at our campsite cooking. The waders I was wearing were way too large and at this time I don’t think waders were even available in children’s sizes. Fortunately for kids learning to fish these days, there are small waders and even fly fishing vests made just for them.
With your children properly outfiitted they will feel great about going out and using their fun new gear in the great outdoors. A hobby such as fly fishing for trout is obviously a lot more healthy and will provide a lot more satisfaction than playing video games.
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