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Mark Albert

7 year old wants to learn fly fishing

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so my 7 year old son wants to learn about fly fishing. And though i been fishing for many years, I have no experience with fly fishing, But was thinking it could be something we could learn together and have fun with. Does any one have suggestions on how to get started?

 

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8 minutes ago, Mark Albert said:

so my 7 year old son wants to learn about fly fishing. And though i been fishing for many years, I have no experience with fly fishing, But was thinking it could be something we could learn together and have fun with. Does any one have suggestions on how to get started?

 

Check around for a local store that carries fly rods. Sometimes they offer classes. Or search for a fly fishing club in your area.

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Fly fishing is awesome!  You are lucky that your son wants to learn... but be forewarned, for a 7 YO, it will be a bit of a steep learning curve.  If he learns to cast right, he'll love it... if he struggles casting, he'll hate it.  This is a rare time when I would say (spend the money) call you local orvis store or whatever the local fly shop you have and ask who does lessons locally.  Usually they have a list of local guys that have the basic flycasting certs and will give lessons... pretty reasonably and in your case, a dual lesson is usually only a couple bucks more.  You can listen while he explains and teaches the boy... or stand off to the side and mimic the lesson.  Like bass fishing, you can spend a ton on gear but honestly, a sub $100 cabelas or bass pro 4wt or 5 wt will serve him well for almost any freshwater species.  Yes, you can spend a grand (and i have) but I still have a $50 bass pro 4 wt that I use for trout, sand bass and panfish.  Decent line (that you hand stretch before fishing) and a good, slick, line cleaner/ conditioner will do more than a high dollar rod for now. 

 

I never lived anywhere that I could really trout fish (other than stocker and tailrace fish) so I flyfished for LM & SM bass, white bass, panfish and all the saltwater species i could.  There isn't much better on this earth than 2-3 acres of sand bass boiling when you are holding a 4wt and manning the trolling motor!! :D

 

Tight loops to you and the boy!!    

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I started learning how to fly fish around that age. My uncle taught me. He was probably the most patient man to ever walk the earth. I would suggest a class or two, if possible. Or, if you know anyone who fly fishes, maybe they can at least help you learn to cast. Don't go out and spend a ton of money on a rod. Get something inexpensive, and upgrade as you get better and decide to stick with it. There is also TONS of content on youtube.

 

As for the fishing part...you an use a very simple assortment of flies to catch panfish. I would go somewhere where you know you can catch a ton of bream, perch, etc. I would also recommend surface flies (dry flies) at first, like, grass hoppers, crickets, or small panfish poppers. I recommend this for two reason...It's a blast to catch fish on top, no matter what they are, and this is the perfect way to keep a child engaged in something difficult. Second, it trains you to control your line a little bit, and know what effect your line has on the fly. You can also try some simple streamers which you cast out and strip in just like you would a crank bait. 

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Tons of info out there via internet and books. The biggest hurdle is casting. It's not intuitive. If you can afford lessons from a local instructor, it helps. If not, read up and watch vids. Lots out there.

 

The number one suggestion I can make is getting or making a yarn rod for indoor practice. Quickest way I know to get a novice forming controlled loops, accuracy, and distance. However, focus should not be casting far but casting with control. You can make a yarn rod using the tip section of a two-piece rod you already own. Just tie a 3 to 4ft piece of yarn to the tip-top. When I started teaching FF years ago I just used dry goldenrod stalks cut from a nearby field. Yarn must be heavy "pony-tail" yarn. In lieu of that any yarn just dampened with water will add the necessary weight. Cast under tables and chairs, around corners, to the cat -anything and everything. Trick is to be able to form a tight loop by cutting a shallow arc with the rod tip. None of that floppy wide-loop wrist stuff. It's fun, convenient, and it translates to the real world directly.

 

Next is learning to handle the line while catching a fish. Bluegills, or chasing the hatchery truck, is the quickest way. Fish are the best teachers, and motivators. But first, you have to be able to get the fly to the fish with some control. 

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Look around for a local fly fishing club (e.g. Trout Unlimited or Federation of Fly Fishers).  Both organizations offer beginner fly fishing classes (both casting and technique) as well as beginner fly tying classes.  Fly tying may even be more fun than fly fishing and affords you the opportunity to catch fish on flies that you have personally made - a thrill which I continue to enjoy with every fish I catch on a fly of my own making!  Being a club member also gives you many opportunities to make connections with others who can guide you on what would be the right kind of equipment to best fit your needs, where to find literature about aquatic insects and the seasonal hatch patterns (especially as they apply to area in which you are living), etc.

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I'll second the fly tying classes. If he learns to tie his own, he'll be even more eager to learn, and even more proud whenever he catches a fish on a fly that he hand tied himself. 

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I spent about 20 years fly fishing 90% of the time, and do have experience with teaching kids that age.  My advice is to talk him out of it.   Promise him ice cream, or a new conventional rod and reel, or a new video game.   Do whatever it is you can to distract him from this idea, and direct him another direction.

 

If he still insists on learning, then visit a family therapist and see if they can convince him.  

 

If you still are at that point where he wants to fly fish, then ...  ok first off learn to roll cast.   Lift the rod and line off of the water, form slack and then snap the rod down and hopefully it loop forward 20 or so feet.  Practice this in the back yard.

 

Next, buy some flies.   Or send me your address and I will mail you a bunch free of charge.  I tie my own and have literally thousands sitting around in boxes.   Size 10-12 or so,  get a few beadheads so they sink.   Hare's Ear Nymph is fine, a small Wolly Bugger etc...   VERY IMPORTANT:   DE-BARB them.  I can not emphasize this enough.  Crimp down the barb, because your son will hook himself at some point and it will be in the face.  

 

Did I mention you should talk him out of this foolishness?   Ok, so I did...  continue.

 

Now, get some sunglasses or safety glasses and make him wear those.  Because ... he will hook himself at some point and it will be in the face, and the eyes are on your face.   Protect them.

 

Now, find a pond with a bunch of stunted bluegill and be prepared to take swallowed hooks out of little fish after virtually every cast.   If he can get the line 20 feet out, they will devour them.  

 

Good luck and have fun!

 

 

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