WITH A FEW TIPS, SHARING THE ART OF FLY FISHING CAN BE EASY
You may be tired of fishing alone or want to share a favorite hobby with loved ones. After all, someone probably taught you, and if you’re reading this, you lived to tell the tale. While it may seem daunting at first, teaching children or family members how to fly fish can be immensely rewarding, and it’s not difficult with the right tips. Here are some tips for getting your budding student out on the water with a bent rod, tight line, and plenty of fishing opportunities.
I WENT FISHING:
Despite what many online retailers may lead you to believe, you don’t need to take out a second mortgage to buy a good fly fishing setup. An entry-level rod and reel is more than enough to keep a novice using them for years, and it’s best to avoid getting too deep into the purchase (pun intended) in case they lose interest.
Likewise, you’ll also want to make sure you choose a versatile rod for a variety of fishing conditions in your area. In general, a 9 foot 5/6 weight rod is adequate for most freshwater fishing, from alpine lakes to large rivers. If you are fishing in the ocean, you may want to go with a heavier rod, such as a 9 foot 8 weight rod. Wild Water Fly Fishing offers a variety of great rods for beginners.
It is also worth buying a few more leaders and flies than usual. Tangles and snags are more likely for a beginner, and you may need more supplies quickly.
Wild Water Fly Fishing is the one-stop shopping experience to get started. Check out all the gear you could possibly need here!
Start with some target practice. While it may be tempting to go straight into the water, the best place to teach casting is in an open, grassy area, such as a public park or backyard. Place a hula hoop, small tarp, or blanket about 20 to 25 feet away (this will be the target). Next, tie off a piece of shiny yarn to help the new fly fisherman see the location of the “fly” while casting. Casting without a hook also helps alleviate the anxiety new fly anglers often experience at the prospect of accidentally hooking.
Once your goal is set and the budding fly fisherman is ready, you can try some soft casts. Emphasize stopping the cast at the 10 and 2 o’clock positions, and don’t worry about dropping any more lines for now. Many beginners will try to use their wrists to move the rod from side to side, which will lead to rapid fatigue and a lack of precision. Encourage them to use their forearms and keep a straight wrist.
The most common mistake beginners make is waiting longer on the back cast, a mistake that will inevitably result in a tangled line. For the first few casts, ask the novice to allow the fly to drop to the ground behind him, following it with his eyes the entire time. From the ground, ask them to do the same with the forward throw, aiming at the target. Watching the fly line on forward and backward casts will help them get an idea of how long it takes for the fly line to extend behind and in front of them.
Once he gets a feel for straightening out the line on both the forward and reward pitching motion, you can have him start attempting regular pitches. They may still have trouble waiting for the back cast, so you may need to ask them to count to two or three before sending the fly forward again (time will vary depending on rod, fly, and technique). It’s also a good idea for them to watch both the forward and backward pitch to help visualize how long they should wait before starting the next pitch motion.
Eventually you should move the target further away and explain how to let out a bit of line to lengthen the cast.
Of course, a big part of fly fishing is tying (and untying!) knots. The knots can sometimes be the most challenging part. Start with a string or piece of yarn; this will help the student to visualize how the knot is tied without having to play with the small line diameters used on fly leaders. After that, it’s time to move on to reality.
Now that you and your student are ready to hit the water, it’s essential to think about where to start. Choose a slow-moving lake or river where the fly is highly visible, preferably away from brush or trees that could result in a snag. It’s usually best to start with dry flies, as adding a nymph can exponentially increase the chance of a tangle. If you don’t plan to keep any fish, remove the barbs from the hook. While doing so can make it more difficult to land fish, it also reduces the chance of injuring you or your student!
Set expectations. As they start pitching, it’s vital that the beginner knows what they can reasonably expect on the day. Even the best fly fisherman returns empty-handed, and a novice can quickly become frustrated if nothing bites. Make it clear that catching a fish is not guaranteed. Keep the focus on technique, not results, praise every good throw and provide advice when needed. They are most likely too busy to get bored or frustrated, and it will help them get a sense of pleasure from the activity itself, not just the capture.
The moment has come. You see the flash, you hear the splash, and the rod tip begins to bend downward. With a bit of luck and your calm guidance, your ward lands the fish.
If you plan to release the fish, you have one last teaching opportunity: handle it without injuring it. Have the novice wet their hands before touching the fish, demonstrate how to safely remove the hook, and carefully return it to the water. If the fish won’t stay upright, slowly rock it back and forth in the water to force oxygen through the gills.
With patience and understanding, you can help new anglers become accomplished anglers, so they can tell the story of the day they got hooked on fly fishing.
For more information on wild water fly fishing and its products, please contact Lacy Jumper, [email protected].
About Wild Water Fly Fishing
Wild Water Fly Fishing represents a dedication to bringing friends and family together by providing them with everything they will need to prepare for a trip to the lake. Whether you are a parent or grandparent wanting to nurture a child’s interest in fly fishing, Wild Water offers the best tools to make your fly fishing trip an unforgettable experience. Wild Water Fly Fishing is the only company that focuses exclusively on affordable and easy to use fly fishing starter packs for all species of fish.