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Fly Fishing, Children And Magic

Published February 27th, 2014 by Jean Chaintreuil

As a fisherman and professional fly fishing guide, the single most gratifying moment in my many years on the water is the moment a young person catches their first fish on the fly when I am fishing with them. Unfortunately, today with competition from video games, Internet and general urbanization of our culture, it’s becoming a rarity to capture a child’s attention at all. They seem to be more interested in adding friends to their Facebook accounts.  To make a child’s experience on the creek successful, you have to keep a few things in mind.  A child’s attention span for any activity is tough to capture and even more tough to hold; especially when fly fishing. Make certain that the proposed area your fishing with a child has fish to catch. For inland waters, stocked ponds and streams can be productive for a good part of the year. For lake run fish in the tributaries, the timing is a bit more critical. Rule number one: make certain there are fish to catch!

Other points to make your fly fishing day a success with a young first timer:

* Make sure the child has an interest in learning the skills of fly fishing and that they are strong enough to hold the rod. Some kids are ready at age 7 while others are better suited at 12 or 13 years of age.

* In most cases, teaching your child to fly fish on your own can be difficult for many reasons. Sign your child up for lessons with a guide who is an avid and competent angler with plenty of patience. Look into fly fishing camps where children can meet others and fish in a non competitive environment.

* Taking ownership of inexpensive or used fly fishing equipment is always a sure bet on creating interest in the sport and offers a sense of pride coupled with their first catch. I endorse Wildwaters Fly Fishing Company for new equipment purchases. Located in Ontario, NY, this company is family owned and has a tradition of building equipment to meet an angler’s needs from beginner to experienced.

* Learning to tie flies (simple patterns) is a great entree to the sport and a craft kids can enjoy.

* Use flies that kids can see and “track” on the water. This allows them to understand the importance of creek flow and presentation. This also promotes a visible strike by the predator.

*  When kids loose their attention span, teach them to skip rocks, have lunch, check out the wild life, or take a break. They will come back to the fishing.

* Show them your enthusiasm for fishing and respect for the fish. Teaching the “fair tactics” of fishing and promoting a “catch and release” fishery is always good practice. Children are like sponges and will soak up the true essence of the sport and conservation.

Finally, when you here those words “I got him” spoken by the child that has caught their first fish, you will have contributed to the best magic the sport of fly fishing has to offer.

For guided trips and lessons contact Guide/Captain Scott Feltrinelli at

~~ Scott Feltrinelli

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