Monday, July 18, 2011

Teach Your Children Well

Since I seem to be accumulating fly rods lately (or at least that is the way the critics see it...LOL). It only seems fitting to pass the older ones down to the next generation. My oldest daughter age 7, has over the past few years shown interest in fishing and is rapidly becoming my new fishing buddy. We for the most part get out a handful of times each year and she shows plenty of enthusiasm. I try to keep the fishing simple and productive. Typically she uses an ultralight spinning rod and I use a 5 weight fly rod. On one of our recent outings she quickly became annoyed at me tossing several fish her way as she struggled to catch anything on the spinning rod. In the past I've let her reel one in on the fly rod which she was delighted to do. This time I let her try casting the rod with a lot of guidance. She was thrilled to watch the fish come up and smack at the fly. I asked her what she thought and she announced that it was pretty cool. I encouraged and criticized her where needed and told her too relax, that it was her rod that she was using. A blank stare appeared and she asked if I was serious. I assured her that I could only fish with one rod at a time. She didn't hook and land any fish that day, but she was willing to continue in the future. We spent Friday evening dry casting in the yard for practice. It wasn't long and she was frustrated to tears but determined to make progress. The biggest hurdle was convincing her to try using her left hand for casting, since she is naturally left handed, but uses a spinning rod with her right hand. After some encouragement from her mother she tried it and things improved. Saturday came and it was time to take the practice to the water. After a stinging nettle experience we were in the water and letting things flow naturally. I pointed out possible holding water for fish and where to aim the casts. I could tell right away she was more relaxed and comfortable. I tried finding a fly that would float well, catch fish, and that she could see easily. It took a bit of trial and error but we got it fine tuned. It wasn't 10 minutes into fishing and it happened....she hooked and landed her very first fish on a fly rod which she casted and reeled in on her own. After that we took turns casting and catching fish together. What a wonderful experience.  I reminded her that it isn't always this easy and there still is a lot to learn, but she should be proud of herself for not giving up. I certainly am proud of her and look forward to our next trip.

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