Start Them When They’re Young

Carolina Flyfisher | Scotty Davis | April 2021

Do you remember your first fish? How about who taught you? Chances are you answered yes to both of these questions!

It’s something that very few people learn and give up: it will stay with you for your whole life. Fly fishing is no different and can be very easy for kids to learn.

Start easy and keep it light. There are bream and bass ponds all over the South and are a perfect spot to introduce a new fly fisher.

Begin with a few poppers and small streamers and watch the smiles start.

Bream especially are extremely eager to eat a fly and therefore keep the shorter attention spans in check, and who doesn’t like to catch a pile of fish?!?

Fly casting is easy to learn, but there are a few things that can make it easier on your little ones. Leave the big rods (8-9 wt’s) at home and grab a 5-6 wt.

The cork grips are generally much thinner diameter and easier to hold. The forgiveness (flex) of the smaller rods means less broken tippets also.

Bream especially are extremely eager to eat a fly and therefore keep the shorter attention spans in check

Keep things fun and interesting, if the fishing is slow- practice casting at targets on the water (floating leaves etc).

Pinching the barbs down on your flies will make life much less painful as well.  As far as fly selection, fish topwater whenever possible…nothing beats a fish exploding on a popper.

If the fish don’t seem to want to rise, a black or olive wooly bugger in sz 6-10 will certainly get bit subsurface. Small clouser minnows with lead eyes are helpful in deeper water also.

Don’t get caught up in the finer mechanics yet, the goal is fun. Teach the cast, retrieve, and hookset but the primary focus in the beginning should be fish.

They will naturally improve as the fundamentals are taught, subtle reminders (keep your tip up, watch your backcast) are helpful but the last thing you want to sound like is a drill sergeant- remember this is your future fishing partner.

Want to up the fun level? Stop by your local fly shop and learn to tie a fly!

Kids love to tie flies and its easier than you might expect. Then, head out to your local water and behold: you’ve created a monster!

– Scotty Davis


You may also enjoy reading:

Pond Hopping For Big Fun

Making Sense of Fly Rods & Line Selections

Techniques For The Beginning Fly Fisher

Packing For The DIY Saltwater Adventure: The Boat Bag