Tips for Fly Fishing with Children
Family fishing adventures are guaranteed to create memories that will last a lifetime. Although your kids may be initially reluctant to share your love of fly fishing, they’ll quickly come to enjoy the environment, the challenge, the sense of accomplishment, and the quiet, inner peace that this sport invariably brings. One large part of fostering their joy is simply managing your own expectations. Fishing excursions with your kids are going to be a lot different from fishing on your own or with other adult friends. Fortunately, with the right attitude, and with the right things on hand, you can keep your group safe, happy, and enthused from start to finish.
Practice Makes Perfect
Casting isn’t easy for anyone when just getting started. You don’t want your child’s first experience to be an embarrassing one in which they hook themselves or you. Give them plenty of opportunity to practice casting at home. When you get to the water, be patient, understanding, and willing to slowly walk them through the steps that you take. Use plenty of positive affirmations and celebrate even the smallest of successes.
Teaching Your Child How to Cast
One great way to teach young children how to cast is by purchasing a short practice rod and then rigging it with yarn. This can be used in the backyard or even in the living room. The more comfortable that your child gets with the practice rod; the more confident he or she will be when you’re actually out fishing. When casts with the practice rod become more skillful, take your child to pick a new rod out. Once you’re on the water, make a few casts of your own in front of your children. After having practiced a bit at home, most kids will be curious enough to ask if they can give it a whirl. Talk them through their movements and verbally reward every effort they make.
Trip Duration & Location
Finding the right location is important, especially if you’re bringing younger children along. Scout around for a nice, grassy bank or open area that has few obstacles to cast around. When little ones grow restless and tired of fishing, they can search the shore for shells, rocks, and other natural collectibles while you make your own casts. Avoid taking kids to large beaches, lakes, or rivers on your first few trips. Introduce them to fishing on a small pond where they’ll feel comfortable and where they won’t be overwhelmed.
When it comes to setting your expectations for fly fishing tips with your kids, the duration of your trip is likely where you’ll run into the most trouble.. Try to keep your initial trips lighthearted, low-pressure, and easy. As your kids get older and experience more success with fly fishing, you can gradually extend your stays. Early-on in your efforts to instill a love of fly fishing, you may be able to hold your kids’ attention longer by allowing them to bring along a friend. Having someone to explore the fishery with will keep them occupied, and may their trip that much more enjoyable.
Proper Clothing & Snacks
One of the best ways to prevent fishing accidents is by crimping the barb out of flies. When kids are on the boat or nearby, make it a rule that everyone must wear sunglasses. Not only will this protect everyone’s eyes from errant casts, but it will also provide adequate shade from the sun’s glare. If you plan on fishing from a boat or wading, it’s also a good idea to make sure that everyone has on a life vest, even if they’re proficient swimmers, and even if it isn’t legally required where you’re fishing. To prevent sunburn, bring along a quality sunblock and make sure to reapply it as needed.
When wading, kids should have proper wading booties just like adults. They should also have layered clothing to accommodate changes in weather. Loose, lightweight gear works best on sunny, summer afternoons, but having a hoodie or sweatshirt to throw on could be necessary for beating back the early evening chill. If you have room to store them, always put away a complete change of clothing for every kid you’re bringing along. This way, you won’t have to head home early because someone is wet or incredibly cold.
Snacks are extremely important for these trips. Consider packing yours in reusable containers so that there’s less waste to worry about. Let your kids help with this portion of the packing so that they can include a few things that they’re excited to munch on. Always keep plenty of bottled water on hand, and a few comfortable blankets that kids can spread out. You can let them bring along disposable cameras, sketch pads, and even books. Giving them ways to extend their quiet, rest times will give you more opportunities to do some fishing of your own.