When to take your kids fly fishing.
Photo by Geoff Stevens of Teton Fishing Co.
For the passionate fly angler, teaching your children all about the pastime will seem like a natural progression.
Fly fishing is a great way to get outdoors, learn new skills and wind down away from the bustle of everyday life – something your kids might thank you for later on.
But knowing when to put the fly rod into a child’s hand is a completely different matter.
Introduce the sport too seriously, too young and you risk losing their interest altogether. Take the kids on a trip during the dead of winter and they may never want to join you in your pursuit for trout again!
To ensure you introduce fly fishing in an approach that is positive, fun and at the right time for your family, here are a few points you might like to consider.
Children under the age of eight are unlikely to listen with undivided attention as you demonstrate, for the fifth time, how to correctly cast a fly line.
They’re even more unlikely to show genuine enthusiasm at the prospect of spending an entire day out on the water, waiting for the fish to bite!
If you have a younger family, it can still be a great experience to bring them along. They’ll enjoy the adventure of a new activity, the outdoors and spending quality time with you.
Just don’t expect to get too much of your own fishing done on the day as well.
Take your baby fly fishing: 5 tips for fishing with an infant.
On the other hand, young teens are at an ideal age to join you on your fly fishing trip and learn the right technique and process behind making the best catch.
They’re old enough to understand the fundamentals of the sport, can take your interest seriously, and will often respond keenly to direction in order to succeed.
Jess Westbrook and his wife Laura founded The Mayfly Project, a non-profit organization that mentors foster children through fly fishing. Photo by Krystina Bullard.
Taking your kids on the road with you for fly fishing is an excellent opportunity to develop lifelong skills and an interest in the outdoors. The fresh air will do them a world of good, away from those distracting electronic devices that seem to never leave their hands.
While you can take your family fly fishing at almost any age, their ability will affect the nature of your trip.
Make sure that your child is able to handle the physical aspect of fishing as well as the mental concentration that it takes to effectively cast a line. Managing the equipment and technique required will be a challenge for many youngsters, given it will be an unfamiliar skill. It’s best for parents to practice patience and, as a figure of knowledge, guide them step by step to learn.
Beyond grasping the basics as a fly fishing beginner, it’s also important that children are safe and under constant supervision. Capsizing, injury and fast-moving rapids are unfortunate realities of the sport. Ensuring that everyone in your family is a competent swimmer and, of course, kitted out with an appropriate life jacket, will make sure that you arrive home all smiles.
Photo by New River Fly Fishing.
You’ve decided on the type of trip you’d like to take, know your kids are at the right age and ability to enjoy a day of fly fishing fun.
But when is the best time for you to take them?
The seasons have a large impact on fishing expeditions. Different times of year will yield different fish and conditions.
In the winter, a calm body of water could turn into a treacherous swirl faster than you can yell “trout!” The cold could also mar an otherwise fantastic trip – it’s no secret that most kids will fail to see the fun in standing against a chilly wind.
The best time of year to go fishing is in the summer – particularly as older children will have school holidays and plenty of time to join you!
Take your family at the beginning of the sunny season or as its winding down to make sure you miss the masses and enjoy the peace and quiet of a warm afternoon out on the water.
Photo by Ben Eastman. His daughter Aunaleigh is now a master at whip finishing.
Choose the best boating accessories to suit your day trip. Without the right tools, even an experienced fisherman would struggle to meet with success!
Invest in the right safety equipment, appropriate for the size and age of your kids. Personal flotation devices are a simple addition that can potentially save a child’s life.
Invite your kids to bring their friends along. This can make it a fun, sociable activity they’ll be talking about in class for weeks!
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Mix up your days. Fly fishing is an exciting sport, but kids need variety to keep their attention. Incorporate some exploring, a picnic or visit a nearby playground before heading back out.
Finally, if you decide you want the day to be focused on your own fishing, then it’s best to leave your children at home this time and treat yourself.
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About Rod Smith:
As the former President of the Boating Industry Association, Rod’s passion for boating and fishing is utilised in his current role as Managing Director of CH Smith Marine. Offering his masterful expertise, Rod ensures that customers leave with a love for the sea that parallels his own.
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