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Starting kids fly fishing


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9 replies to this topic

#1 MuskyFlyGuy

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:02 PM

I am wondering what people recommend as the age range to start kids/grandkids fly fishing. Any thoughts about rod weight and length? My grandson is 21 months. Too early, but I want to get my thoughts together.
Thanks
Tom

#2 tjm

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 04:35 PM

All kids are different.

I started the oldest boy at 5, he was interested, and I built him a six foot fly rod from a stripped down spinning rod, forty years later he still fly fishes. The other kids never showed interest at that age were introduced at varying ages, a couple still fly fish occasionally but none have a passion for it. None of the 8 grandkids have wanted to fish more than a couple times with worms so far, Maybe the younger ones will as they grow older but the older ones at college age have reached the point that I doubt they will ever fish much.

The kid should be big enough swing the rod and reel comfortably and the rod downsized can help this. The kid should be comfortable with wading deep and capable of swimming if necessary, this precludes the youngest toddlers. The kid has to show interest of his/her own- otherwise you will be disappointed when they don't pay attention and the kid will be frustrated trying to please. Just like teaching them to ride a bicycle, you can only show and tell: the desire and the actual learning is up to them.



#3 phg

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 05:31 PM

From my experience working with Boy Scouts, I'd have to say, for fly fishing, then need to be 11 or 12 to have the physical coordination to work a fly rod.  You should try to take them fishing before that, though. 

 

I took my grandson fishing, for the first time, when he was 5.  Spinning rod with worms, in a farm pond full of bream.  Good introduction to the sport. 



#4 dadofmolly

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 06:33 PM

At the risk of opening a can-O-worms; I first started my grandson at 4 but quickly moved him to a Tenkara rod where he could practice casting without worrying about line management, hauling, etc. until he had the casting basics down.  He now (16) is very adept at using a western fly rod as well as a Tenkara rod.  Age 4 is probably too young but he showed a genuine interest so off we went.  He also (with help casting) caught his first trout which really got him hooked and has been one of my fishing partners for the last 12 yrs.  Only problem now is he discovered that girls don't really have cooties and has less time to fish.



#5 Poopdeck

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Posted 10 January 2019 - 06:40 PM

My father was life long fly fishermen. He never pushed us into fly fishing. He took us bobber fishing. I always say the red and white bobber is a rite of passage. Then he took us trout fishing with spin gear while he used fly fishing gear. We could fly fish if we wanted or we could use spin gear. Never mattered to him and it don't matter to us. Some of my brothers fly fished some didn't. I grew up spin fishing with one brother while my dad and one brother fly fished. He didn't care and we didn't care. What was important was that we all went fishing together regardless of your poison. That's the morel of my story. Now, I enjoy all methods of fishing and I couldn't imagine limiting myself to one way or another. What great memories I have of a truely great man who knew what was important and what wasn't.

#6 DFoster

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 09:28 AM

Tom,  I started my grand kids tying first.  At the time they were roughly 6-8 years old, they had been worm and bobber fishing with their parents but watching me tie their curiosity got the better of them.   So I bought a pack of #8 small bait hooks (without barbs on the shank) at Walmart and feathers from a the local craft store.  Placing a small cork on the point to protect their hands, we got started.  Obviously the "flies" were as basic as they get. The important part is they chose the color of the thread and which feather would be the tail and which would be their hackle.  With some help and supervision they tied their own flies (mostly).

 

 My father in law lives on an old cattle farm which has a small animal watering pond.  The sunfish that live in it will hit almost anything.  Their rig couldn't be simpler, 8' of 10lb mono tied to the end of a 7' spinning rod without a reel (an inexpensive fly rod would work better).  I showed them how to "whip" the fly out with a good cast being 4' past the end of the rod tip.  The sun fish didn't disappoint that day.  Both of my oldest granddaughters caught and missed a lot sunfish just by dangling their flies in the weeds 6' from shore.

 

I wanted to give them a taste of what our sport is without pushing them.  The oldest is just getting big enough to fit into my wife's waders and she has asked me to teach her how to cast and fly fish.  I'm no Lee Wulff but I think I can get her far enough along to decide if this is a sport she wants to pursue.  The next lesson will be a big one - wary game fish in a river, with lots of fly eating trees are not starving sunfish trapped in a small pond.  Sometimes game fish can be uncooperative and rather unsporting.  I will do my best to teach her patience.

 

Enjoy your little blessing Tom!

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#7 Flicted

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 09:48 AM

I like DFoster's approach. I think for most kids, fly fishing is to fishing what algebra is to math. Start with basic fishing and go from there. One thing I believe is that when you take a young kid fishing, most of the time you want to bring what they need and leave yours behind. I've seen Dads get lost in their own fishing and get frustrated when they need to help with bait, tangles, or snags. The kid quickly loses interest. When the focus is more on the kid, more is learned. If they want to turn over rocks, explore the banks, be patient and let that be part of the outdoors experience. As they get older, interest grows, and they can do more on their own, that's when I dabble with a fly rod when circumstances allow. I also really like the idea of tying some basic flies. That is sure to be interesting to most kids and when they tie their own, they will want to fish them. Eager panfish are perfect for that.

#8 tjm

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 10:17 AM

Either keeping the line ~rod length in cane pole style or using only a basic roll cast makes it all easier for small people to manage and easy fish are good. Age  is not as important, imo, as desire, Development and coordination are important and children develop at different ages. Worm and bobber is a good start and will sort out the the kid that has an interest from the ten or fifteen kids that either aren't interested or don't have the attention span to fish. 

The big thing about today's kids is they are trained from birth to demand and expect instant gratification. At the first cry they get immediate attention rather than being left to squall until mom gets time, bottle feeding means any moment instant feeding, early childhood toys give instant rewards, they have their own TV shows that parents use as a sedative drug/babysitter/reward and transition to video games as toddlers where almost every second there is the reward of points or explosions etc. So that by the time a kid is big enough to get outside alone it is trained to lose interest in any thing that does not have an instant reward.  Fish often fail to give points for participation requiring some patience, so even at this age if you can think of or invent games that engage the kid and require or teach patience, you will be teaching an imortant part of fishing. Actually patience is a great life skill outside of fishing.

Cooking and eating fish may develop greater  interest sooner, people like to eat and babies learn that eating is the reward for most thing, connect the eating of good fish dinner with the hunting and the killing of  fish. I have thought that may be why my grandkids lost interest so soon, we turned all the fish loose, so the reward was fleeting. Just those seconds when the fish was fighting and the moment of holding it as it was released. Hind sight tells me I should have showed them how to clean and eat all those little sunfish. Enjoy the kid whether it fishes or not, they grow up even faster than your own kids did.



#9 SilverCreek

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 01:51 PM

I am wondering what people recommend as the age range to start kids/grandkids fly fishing. Any thoughts about rod weight and length? My grandson is 21 months. Too early, but I want to get my thoughts together.
Thanks
Tom

 

 

I suggest you read these two articles by Tom Rosenbauer. I think the first article will be especially helpful, especially about teaching kids to love fishing and then to introduce them to fly fishing.
 
Keep the first thing first. If they don't want to fish in the first place, they certainly won't want to fly fish. So your first job is to introduce them to fishing in a way that makes it fun for them.
 
 

Regards,

Silver

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#10 Poopdeck

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Posted 11 January 2019 - 09:34 PM

"Keep the first thing first. If they don't want to fish in the first place, they certainly won't want to fly fish. So your first job is to introduce them to fishing in a way that makes it fun for them."

Amen! And nothing is more fun then watching a red and white bobber get pulled under by a blue gill. Forcing, I mean guiding, a child into fly fishing is fun perceived by the adult not the child.