Re: teaching a 8 year old to cast

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Posted by Steve S on 2018-11-06 00:26:59 in reply to teaching a 8 year old to cast posted by Mel Jones on 2018-11-05 13:59:36

Some of the best advice I ever got was not to give a spouse or child a rod and reel that I would not use. It doesn't mean that it has to be top of the line, but it should be decent.

That said, I started my fishing career with spincasting gear and one thing that the Zebco 202 reel taught me at age 8 was patience, and that better gear, in my case a Johnson spincaster, was to be appreciated.

While I don't have kids myself I have taken many kids under age 12 fishing and it is the rare child that has more than about 20 minutes of focus for fishing, especially fly fishing, particularly if the catching is slow.

But developing a love of the water and the outdoors should be the primary goal. Just seine your favorite riffle and the prehistoric looking insect life is just another facet of fly fishing to get a kid hooked. A huge stonefly nymph, especially a Pteronarcys, is good for a large chunk of time. Shit, every time I seine one up on the Trinity I think the ones I am fishing are too small and too pretty.

Wearing waders and feeling the strength of a fast riffle of 12-16" depth is always a wonder to a child the first time they feel it against their legs, and it teaches a valuable lesson about the power of water.

Besides the rote fundamentals of casting, a game can be made of short casting accuracy contests, and long ones too. To this day when the fishing is slow, or like on the Green, too good to be true, friends and I take turns and make a game of trying to make the impossible cast.

When I take a kid fishing I always compare the fly rod and line to the flagged batons that parade marchers carry during football pre-game and half time shows . If you can liken the action of the fly rod tip to the ribbon that follows the marcher's baton as they sweep it through the air most kids will get the visual and can even pull off some single spey type casts once they realize that the line follows the rod tip.

And who's to say that skipping stones isn't part of the fly fishing experience. I'm 53 and I still appreciate a well skipped stone. Who doesn't?

My niece and nephew at ages 7 and 9 were both able to cast my Sage 389-LL (8'9") without a problem. The biggest impediment for them was the diameter of the cork grip. If I was to have given the rod to either of them I would have turned the cork down to accommodate their grip. I think grip diameter along with the overall weight of rods beyond a 5wt are the biggest impediments to casting for young kids. Rod length is secondary.

And last but not least, taking kids to a clear running Valley stream such as the Yuba, and letting them see first hand huge salmon spawning on the redds or a shoal of 500 plus shad bunched up in an eddy, is a thing of wonder to the uninitiated and fills the time after that 20-30 minutes of focus is lost.

Anyway, that's my $0.02.

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