Fishing is a wonderful family activity and it provides a great way to bond with your children.
But while plenty of parents hand their child a spinning rod and head down to the local farm pond, relatively few try to teach their kids how to fly fish.
This is understandable, given the complexity of the activity, but unfortunate too. The truth is, most youngsters are perfectly capable of learning to whip a fly through the air. No, fly fishing isn’t an ideal pursuit for very young children, but most kids can learn to handle a fly rod by the time they are 10 to 12 years of age.
However, it's always important to have success while introducing children to any type of fishing, otherwise, they’ll get bored and lose interest.
And while it is slightly more complicated to do so when you are trying to teach them to fly fish, you can still set yourself up for success by keeping the following four considerations in mind.
1. Pick a fly rod well-suited for young anglers.
You don’t want to hand your child a rod designed for an adult, as it’ll be difficult for your youngster to wield and control.
Instead, try something about 7 or 8 feet long with moderate action, which will enable your child to feel the rod load more effectively. And while you should always try to go with a rod of reasonable quality, there's no need to spend a fortune on your child’s first fly rod, which they may break.
2. Fish in accessible and productive locations.
In the interests of catching fish, you’ll want to go somewhere that you know is productive.
Don’t waste your time trekking hours up a mountain stream with your kid to reach some new pool you’ve been dying to fish. Instead, you want to go to a place in which you regularly catch fish.
Additionally, avoid places with numerous obstacles in favor of places with wide-open casting lanes and amble elbow room.
3. Target fish that are easy to catch.
You may lay awake at night dreaming about wild and wary brown trout, but these are poor targets for first-time fly fishers.
Instead, concentrate on species and fish that are more likely to take a taste of your fly.
Panfish often hit flies quite aggressively, and they put up a great fight once hooked. Rainbow trout can also be a worthy target, especially in well-stocked waters.
4. Use only the most productive flies.
You want fish striking and rods bending, so tie one of your most productive flies on your child’s line to set them up for success. This may not be the time to break in your new experimental fly pattern.
If you're not familiar with the local fish, be sure to chat up the locals to find out what works in the area.
Also, you’ll want to use simple floating flies, such as the new Double Barrel Bass Bug poppers, which are easy to retrieve and fairly simple to fish.
If you’d like to learn more about introducing your kids to angling in general, check out Outdoor Empire’s comprehensive review of the subject. It is targeted at conventional angling more than fly fishing, but it will still provide invaluable information and advice for making your child’s first fishing trip a success.
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About Jon Sutton:
Jon Sutton loves to spend time in the woods and on the water. His life has revolved around outdoors since his early childhood days when he caught his first bluegill in his local pond. Since then he has grown into a full-fledged angler targeting salmon and bass during his free time. He also enjoys hiking, camping and seeing the world through travel. He is currently a content manager for Outdoor Empire.