Teaching the Children Well

This past weekend, I spent some time with family at my aunt and uncle's house in Okahumpka, FL. When I arrived in town, I was expecting some quality catch-up time, a little football and some food. When I opened the door, I almost didn't recognize the interior of the house. There were high-chairs, toys, diaper bags and kids everywhere. In total, there were 10 kids running through the house like it was on fire. Don't get me wrong, I love kids and I love watching them be kids - especially when it's not my house that's being destroyed! I'll admit that after some time inside witnessing the madness, I was getting a little bit claustrophobic.
Since taking this position, I've had many conversations regarding getting "new blood" into the sport. With all the indoor options that kids have today such as ipods, xbox's, television etc., etc., it's not always easy to get them outside. So, I figured I'd give my aunt and uncle a little break and take the kids down to the dock and give them a quick casting demo and hopefully spark their interest.

I began stripping my line out and started making a few casts and was pleased to hear all of the kids fighting for a chance to give it a try. One by one, I stood behind each of them flinching on every forward and backcast. I figured it was only a matter of time before my rod and reel went kerplunk in the lake. And let me tell you - when kids are casting for the first time, getting stuck with the fly is a very, very real possibility.
I didn't expect to really teach any of the kids anything about casting - all I wanted to do was show them something new. I understand that fly-fishing might be a little more involved compared to dropping a worm in the water and waiting for a bobber to sink but the good thing about fly-fishing is, there's always something going on whether it's casting, stripping or hooking a fish. We all know that kids like to be DOING something at ALL times so even though fly-fishing is more involved, at least to the kids, there's never a dull moment. Some might say to start kids off catching bream and panfish on spinning gear but I say, put a fly rod in their hand and let them go at it. However, when you do this, you might consider wearing some sort of eye protection and perhaps a helmet because when kids are casting, fly-fishing can turn into a contact sport pretty fast!
John Frazier Editor - FFSW