View Full Version : Take a Kid Fishing

02-14-2008, 07:51 AM
OK, let's launch a topic here on getting kids started fishing out of the "Why Fly Shops Close" thread.

I have a 3 1/2 year old grandson that needs to grow up with fly fishing though he's too young at this point to get started. His dad loves to fish and started fly fishing the same time I did last May. For those who have raised kids in the sport, I would love to hear som suggestions on where/how/when to start. How have you dealt with things like the attention span thing, the safety factor, downsized equipment, etc.

Paula, have you and Walter ever had kids in your beginners classes? At what age and how did they do? Is a private lesson more appropriate to cut down on the distraction factor for adult students? Have you ever held a kid-focused group class?

This topic is serious enough that I would love to get input from those of you who have been through it. I believe there is much that my grandson could benefit from getting into the sport and it would give the two of us (and his Dad) something great to do together.


02-14-2008, 09:38 AM
I've got a daughter that's 6 this year and she's pretty consistant about wanting to go fishing with daddy when he goes...She's really looking forward to this summer.. I gave her my 9' rod this past summer and spent a few minutes showing her how to hold the rod then taking her through the motions. After about a minute a buddy pulled up in front of our house and I let her do what she wanted to with the rod...It was kinda funny because she started targeting certain items in the yard to cast at! Young minds are amazing! We only had around 15 feet of line out but that was all I needed to see to be able to tell this summer is the summer I'm gonna start her off!

We also took a spinning outfit out several times this summer with a good ol plastic bin of worms..Between her and momma I was wore out...I think just getting her into fishing while daddy spends alot of time fly fishing will gradually allow her to float right in to the sport.

I also take her to LRO every chance I get and she absolutely loves the store....OK, maybe she just loves Paula and the rest of the crew who give her a sugar rush with all the suckers...All I know is everytime we go she runs to the pink reel they have on the rack and ask's "Daddy when you taking me fishing?" That's when her and Paula aren't into the Barbie Bug Bin! Paula I think I have around a dozen Barbie Bugs from all the trips to the store this year.

I feel it's getting them involved in what we do, that will make them interested in the sport...Kids get excited about what their parents/grandparents/family gets excited about..Now add a slimey gross fish in to the mix and you have yourself a good time! I believe Bill Dance did a few specials on fishing with kids...A funny reference, but he really knew what he was talking about...One of the major things he said was don't get frustrated with them, have a good time, and work at thier pace.

I think we should all get a bunch of our kids together and spend a day at LRO in a class room (i hate those words) enviornment...You know, out doors, all the kids, a casting clinic!


Paula Begley
02-14-2008, 10:37 AM
We do take children in the classes at LRO. But, the youngest we have ever had is a nine year old; I usually say ten. That's just because, it's a long day and if we have a child much younger it's necessary to completely alter the vocabulary of the class to make it understandable. The youngest kids we have had in the class were able to make it through the day because they were already fanatics about fishing and REALLY wanted to be there.

That said, I think an all children clinic would be a blast and a wonderful day. I know how to speak with (notice not "talk to") kids. Shortening the schedule and giving them time on a water that would guarantee success would be a good thing. I am thinking of a blue gill kind of water, like a farm pond. Hmmmm...I see this needs consideration.


02-14-2008, 12:03 PM
My oldest might be interested in a class - she's almost 13, which is an age in which their interests change by the day, sometimes by the hour...but, she's already pretty handy with a fly rod - she wants to get a brown badly this Spring. The other two have their fly rods all ready, but so far they're more interested in playing in the stream than fishing - that might change soon.

Don't just take your own kids fishing - if they have any friends who haven't gone before, take them too. The bream fishing ought to be getting pretty good soon.

02-14-2008, 12:24 PM
No better way to spend time together! Don't forget the camera for those scrapbook shots.



02-14-2008, 08:09 PM
My wife and I have a son on the way, due in June. I am seriously considering buying him a lifetime sportsmans license as soon as possible. I think it is a good investment even if he chooses to not hunt or fish. Most kids will run through $250 worth of toys that they don't even play with in the first couple of years. I think I will start him off like I did with a bucket of crickets on a farm pond. I have learned that if they aren't catching fish on a regular basis without a long pause that they will be bored, and that will not make them very anxious to go again soon. By the way, the wife has made me promise to not try to get him into fly fishing at too you of an age.

Oh well, I guess I am getting a little ahead of myself here......


02-14-2008, 09:00 PM
Congrats brother! I hope you get him started as soon as he wants too! I would definately go with the sportsmans license for your son! Even if he doesn't pick up fishing he may pick up hunting, supplying Dad with all the feather's he could ever need!

And as far as getting ahead of yourself, don't worry, there will be plenty of long nights and poopey diapers to be had before he waves the stick!

02-18-2008, 10:34 AM
Any ideas on how to get a pair of teenagers interested? We have taken them both camping, hunting and fishing many times when they were younger. The fishing then was mostly bass fishing since we ourselves had not yet discovered fly fishing. But now that they are teenagers, they have lost all interest in doing anything outdoors with us. The boyfriend for the daughter and the girlfriend for the son have taken precedence. haha. We'd love to teach them about fly fishing because I have a feeling once they tried it they would be as hooked on it as their Dad and I are. We just can't talk them into going with us. :(

02-18-2008, 05:27 PM
My son (9) started tagging along with me to the Caney Fork around December of last year. This February, he got waders and boots for his birthday. We fished the Elk on 2/10/2008, and he caught his first Rainbow on a #20 Zebra Midge.


02-18-2008, 08:33 PM
I got my son to go spin fishing with me as a teenager. A couple of things that got and kept his interest were: (1) he seems to have some pretty natural fishing instincts (had to get him on the water first, though, to figure that out); and (2) because he had pretty good instincts, he could usually beat old Dad. When the time came for us to take fly fishing lessons together, he was ready.

A pretty good bet for first exposure would be to get them in an LRO class, turn salty Walt loose on them the first day and then let Paula take them to Metcalf Bottoms the second where there's a pretty fair chance they'll catch something. Nothing beats success for satisfaction. Plus, having someone else teach them other than Mom and Dad probably has a better chance of success as well. (I've found that other folks are much smarter as a rule.)

It would be something of an investment in a risky venture but the rewards if even one of them gets hooked would be priceless.

02-19-2008, 12:18 PM
My advice is to take them seperately at first, to build their skill level with no sibling competitions, arguements ,etc. You know what I'm talking about.:rolleyes: The one on one instruction seems to help them, so don't plan on getting in much fishing time yourself. I also would recommend using a rod that loads easily like a med or med/fast rod. They will get the feel of the rod and see how it bends and delivers the fly throughout the cast. maybe start out on high percentage hookups like a bluegill pond with poppers and small bass.

02-19-2008, 09:47 PM
I started Gaintfish out when he was 8 or 9 on spin tackle. he has limited out several time on the Caney. My daughter is 10 and she started out at 7 also with spin tackle. She loves to fish but is not up to all day on the river. That is the most important thing I have learned is to slow down and make short trips. I didn't do much fishing when Gaintfish started out, but as he got older and could remove his own fish and tangles I got to fish more. And that was what got him interested in fly fishing. He didn't understand that when he was younger I spent more time helping him than I did fishing. The first time I caught way more fish with a fly rod than he did with spinning tackle was all it took. Now the spinning rod stays home. I didn't push the fly rod on him, he decided when the right time was. His first wild rainbow this year was better than Christmas to him. What he does not realize is now that he has caught one dear old dad is going to start fishing again.

02-25-2008, 10:50 AM
Thanks for the advice on the teenagers. Once I can talk them into going, I'll try taking them one at a time and see what happens. The lessons may not work with them since knowing my kids they will grumble and balk at the idea of "lessons" Plus money is an issue too. Hopefully I can get at least one of them interested. I think my son may likely be the one. He already enjoys Turkey Hunting and is excited about that coming up soon. He balked at that too, for awhile til he finally went last year and tried it.