I grew up in Mid-Missouri with two older brothers who are quite possibly the best fly anglers I have ever known, both quite deliberate in their approach to fishing, yet both polar opposites relative to how they approach the game. One is a patient rise timing dry fly fanatic placing more emphasis not on what size or how many fish get caught, but more on the nature of presentation and subtle nuances of the take. The other is a feverish competitor intently focused on search, locate, hook, and land. To watch them both in their pursuits is a pleasure. I rest solidly in the middle recognizing the benefits of both techniques, giving way to the conditions and tactical circumstances. Today, I'd school them both. It's good to have teachers with a variety of perspective and passions.
This past weekend, I took a trip back in time to revisit my own youth, to time when I could hear my brothers laughing at me while I went drifting down stream after floating my hat in waders that were four sizes too big for my body. Pissed off at their enjoying a chuckle at my expense, I was determined to learn how to do things on my own, and in no small measure to earn their respect. This weekend, I looked in the face of a young man and saw my own reflection.
There are a variety of ingredients necessary to enjoy taking a step away from your father's watchful eye when it comes to fly fishing. Confidence, a manageable steady stream flow, clear visibility, and a freshly stocked stream of 6-12" snits are among them. Let's face it, tossing a dry fly into a bait ball can do a lot to give you a sense of accomplishment when you're seven.
This sport, and now my profession, has given me a great deal of happiness. But, to see the face of my son focused intently on fishing correctly and enjoying the spoils of his own individual efforts is a terrific feeling.
There are several things I can recommend for those who desire to help children enjoy fly fishing for trout. Listed below are what I consider the most important priorities:
- Pinched barbs
- Lifetime unconditional rod warranties
- huge dry flies
- Locating a stream with highly concentrated freshly stocked ravenous trout
- A #14 Breadcrust if things really get desperate