Jump to content
ScottP

Instruction for kids

Recommended Posts

Hi everyone,

 

I've got a 7 year old and a 10 year old both trying to learn to cast a fly line. I've had marginal success teaching them, and I don't want it to become a source of frustration. Does anyone know of any guides or instructors that are good with kids? I've read about Camp Smallmouth, but i'm not sure if that's still around.

 

Any and all advice would be appreciated.

 

Edit: We're out in the Sycamore/Dekalb area, but I'm fairly flexible in terms of geography.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Where is Bob Long Jr. now. He is a member though we do not hear as much from him as we used to. For many years he ran kid's fishing programs for the Chicago Park District. Some programs were aimed at flty fishing for girls and boys that age.

 

I appreciate your concern with trying to catch their wave of interest and yet avoid frustration. Bob always recommended small scale rods and reels that kids are strong enough to handle. My one thought is think of dabbling, Czech nymphing, and Tenkara presentations. These are short line presentations that we all should use more often. Steer the kids into catching fish - not casting into the backing. Spring is a good time to do this on Crappie and Bluegill beds. Here's the outfit I'll be using. 7.5 ft Shakespeare Wonderod, Martin "Soupcan" Reel, 6wt level line, 6 ft 6# leader, strike indicator (an ice fishing bobber) set at 1-2 ft, 1/16 or 1/32 oz. jig with 1.5" chartreuse tube. Short casts, slow or no retrieve. Bob sez there is no such thing as a bad fish. Young kids loose interest fast; so plan the day around them and fight off your urge to just try a little longer once they hit the wall.

 

Hope this helps and some others chime in.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Guest rich mc

scott,im out by shabbona and fly fish the kish alot. ive taught fly fishing at kish college and would gladly help out an ISA club member. rich mc

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Mike about shorter rods--being easier for shorter and weaker folks (like kids).

 

I would also think kids this age would understand and appreciate a demonstration of the "cup of water" or "paintbrush" analogy. This is where you focus on accelerating to a stop in order to transfer energy from the hand to brush/cup to paint/water. The water or paint should also travel the furthest when trajectory has been a straight line and aimed at horizon or slightly above.

 

Having a large sheet of paper hung vertically in front of the paint/water trajectory will help demonstrate this point.

 

If I didn't live so far away, I'd volunteer to help. Good luck, and let us know how they do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information everyone. I've got them started on 7' rods. I will try the paintbrush approach. I've talked about imagining that, but it might help to use an actual brush or cup (and stand out of the way). I'll definitely try to hook up with Jonn when it warms up a bit (can't happen soon enough!).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

scott,im out by shabbona and fly fish the kish alot. ive taught fly fishing at kish college and would gladly help out an ISA club member. rich mc

That's a generous offer, Rich. When it gets warm enough for little ones in the water, I'll gladly take you up on it. Thank you.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I agree with Mike about shorter rods--being easier for shorter and weaker folks (like kids).

 

I would also think kids this age would understand and appreciate a demonstration of the "cup of water" or "paintbrush" analogy. This is where you focus on accelerating to a stop in order to transfer energy from the hand to brush/cup to paint/water. The water or paint should also travel the furthest when trajectory has been a straight line and aimed at horizon or slightly above.

 

Having a large sheet of paper hung vertically in front of the paint/water trajectory will help demonstrate this point.

 

If I didn't live so far away, I'd volunteer to help. Good luck, and let us know how they do.

 

Tim,

 

Lefty would be proud of you. that reminds me:

 

Scott,

 

If you are into books, Lefty's book, Longer Fly Casting, covers accelerate and stop and many other key concepts. It is worth it just to get his explanation of how to grip a rod. (Like a proper golf grip, it feels funny till you get used to it.) He points out that using his method even a child or a puny old man like himself can cast tight loops all day without getting tired. Ask the kids to get it for you for your birthday <_<

 

Edited for Book title

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Though it's never too early to introduce kids to fishing it's probably a little early to try to teach most 7yr olds to flycast. The difference in weight between a 7' rod vs a 9' is less than an oz..And a short rod is more difficult to cast particularly for a beginner.A longer rod will help to keep the line elevated higher reducing the chance of the line's hitting the ground on the backcast or hitting the beginner on the forward cast. Every year the Oakbrook Chapter of TU teaches flyfishing to various scout troops thruout the season using 9'5wt rods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Tim,

 

Lefty would be proud of you. that reminds me:

 

Scott,

 

If you are into books, Lefty's book, Longer Fly Casting, covers accelerate and stop and many other key concepts. It is worth it just to get his explanation of how to grip a rod. (Like a proper golf grip, it feels funny till you get used to it.) He points out that using his method even a child or a puny old man like himself can cast tight loops all day without getting tired. Ask the kids to get it for you for your birthday <_<

 

Edited for Book title

 

The book subtitle says How to Add 10 Feet or more to Your Cast.

 

Scouts are usually 13 or older a lot of growing has taken place since they were 10. I agree with Bob Long Jr on the short rods. Besides weight there is leverage which can be something when the stick is close to 30% longer. Good choice on the 7' rods.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Highly reccomend Camp Smallmouth for the kids. Jonn knows his stuffs and a great teacher. The kids will enjoy learning and catching fish, because the streamers that Jonn guides are loaded with smallmouth.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The difference in weight between a 7' rod vs a 9' is less than an oz..And a short rod is more difficult to cast particularly for a beginner.A longer rod will help to keep the line elevated higher reducing the chance of the line's hitting the ground on the backcast or hitting the beginner on the forward cast.

 

 

It's not the static weight of the rod, but the swing weight that makes the shorter rod easier.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It's not the static weight of the rod, but the swing weight that makes the shorter rod easier.

 

Thanks Tim - that's kind of what I was thinking, but I couldn't articulate it that easily

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No problem. Be sure to report back on the youngsters' progress.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

MikeG Tim A

Many of the scout troops we've taught casting over the years consisted of preteens including a cupl girl scout troops.None ever had any difficulty managing the weight (swing or otherwise) of the 9' 5wt rods provided.And the longer length made it easier to keep the flylines elevated for beginners and easier for them to achieve whatever their distance limits were.Given 2 rods of identical line weights the longer one is easier for both overhead & rollcasting.One should go from a longer rod to a shorter rod only as his casting skil improves.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron.

 

Why didn't you say that in the first place? But we should not waste time on this any further because you have a larger issue to deal with. I checked TFO, Orvis, Reddington, and Ross and found they all sell youth model rods. The rods range from 3 wt to 6 wt and are seven to eight feet long. If what you are saying is true these companies are giving us a bum steer. It is best they hear it right from you. So you better get cuttin' and confront these well intentioned but misguided companies. Let us know how they respond to your criticism.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron.

 

Why didn't you say that in the first place? But we should not waste time on this any further because you have a larger issue to deal with. I checked TFO, Orvis, Reddington, and Ross and found they all sell youth model rods. The rods range from 3 wt to 6 wt and are seven to eight feet long. If what you are saying is true these companies are giving us a bum steer. It is best they hear it right from you. So you better get cuttin' and confront these well intentioned but misguided companies. Let us know how they respond to your criticism.

 

Thanks for your suggestion Mike.I'll get on that right after I chastise the TU members running the youth ffing prtogram for their wrongheaded use of 9'5wts over 7'3wts.Now I've got a suggestion for you.You've always been good at proffering ffing advice seemingly gleaned from the comfort of your couch.Come the next cast & compare how about getting off it? I've got a 6'5'2wt for you to cast at distance. After removing a cupl flies from your butt you can tell everyone how much easier it is to cast than a 9'5wt..

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron,

 

Leave the TU guys alone they are on the path of light. It's TFO, Orvis, Reddington, and Ross that need to be straightened out. Or you just might let another opinion exist. Your choice.

 

I did not go the Cast and Compares when they were right across the street from me at Hidden Lake FP because I was not in the market for rod. Now that I live 120 miles away from there and am still not in the market for a rod, well, it is not likely either. Just the way things are.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike

You're confusing opinions with facts.

 

A friend of MikeG asks him if he'd like to go for a ride in his new Ferrari.Not being in the market for a car Mike declines.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron,

 

First off, I think since we are debating about rods in the middle length range without either of us recommending an extremely short or extremely long rod, most of it is shades of gray. But that doesn’t stop me from wanting to have a conversation about the relative properties of shorter vs. longer rods. So here are some thoughts...

 

It wasn’t clear that the youth you taught (and thank you for teaching them, by the way, let's not let that be lost here) actually preferred the 9' rods over something shorter. It doesn't sound like you experimented with both. I've never said in any way that a 9' rod is impossible for a beginner or small person to cast.

 

I will agree with 2 parts of the theory of using longer rods for beginner: (a) better rollcasting ( bB) on overhead casts, more forgiveness of "arching" the path of the rod tip, which drives the line toward the ground/water on foreward and/or backcasts. The vertical difference between a 7' and 9' is not really that great to save from gravity's toll on a properly executed cast overhead cast, especially if the casts are short. A bad cast is a bad cast, and it needs to be corrected (and it can be corrected, regardless of rod length).

 

I will also add to your argument that the deeper loading of a longer rod *may* give beginners better "feel." But you can accomplish a similar thing by slightly overlining a shorter rod (remember, we aren't talking about <6.5'ers) or using a less-stiff rod. Up until now we have not discussed rod action preferences for beginners.

 

That said, I'd like to elaborate on what I suggested before.

 

-Having the load/loop closer to one's hand (i.e. shorter rod) gives a better sense of control. A shorter rod accomplishes this.

 

-A shorter rod (which is a lever) requires less torque (or "leverage" as Mike said) given a constant load on the rod. If the line pulls with 5 pounds of force, then a 9' rod requires roughly 9'x5lbs torque (45ft-lbs) where a 7'x5lbs requires less (35ft-lbs). There is a reason that the longest rods are two-handed.

***EDIT**** I pulled the number for line force out of thin air simply to demonstrate a point. I realize this might be misleading as it is a lot of force for a fly line. Still, at 0.5lbs force, 4.5ft-lbs is still less than 3.5ft-lbs, although the absolute difference is much smaller.

******

 

-The argument about "keeping the line in the air" cannot explain casts at any angle other than 90degrees (straight overhead). As soon as you tilt the rod down to one side or the other, or cast completely sidearm with the rod parallel to the ground, you have effectively "shortened" or nearly eliminated the rod as a mechanism for elevating line.

 

-Generally, a long rod can flex over its longer length and handle greater loads and result in longer casts. But this assumes one is capable and comfortable exerting the necessary increase in torque over the same period of time (like a 1-hour casting lesson or a 6-hour fishing session). This is cumulative work.

 

-What is gained in distance with longer rods is lost in accuracy. And you aren’t teaching real distance casting to beginners.

 

-We have not discussed line class/weight. Some argue that heavier line mass makes learning to cast easier (e.g. teach with a #7, not a #5). But these anecdotes are from adults and deal with line mass, not length or swing weight of the rod.

 

@Mike, it is possible that manufacturers selling shorter rods for kids is a way to save money (less material in a 7' than a 9' rod), which can be used as a way to provide entry-level price points. But I like to think they also share some idea about kids and smaller, more manageable rods.

 

In conclusion, you are teaching beginners, kids--give them something manageable over a long period of time. And, who knows, kids might like these “small” rods because they are small like them. 7'-8' is still enough rod to throw a fishing cast and keep line up on an overhand. It is even long enough to teach a roll cast if your lesson goes that far. But it shaves some of the work out of it. Whether you start your flyfishing life with a 7'er, 8'er, 9'er or longer rod, you'll always have to adjust your casting stroke when you switch to a rod of differing length or action.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the information everyone. I've got them started on 7' rods. I will try the paintbrush approach. I've talked about imagining that, but it might help to use an actual brush or cup (and stand out of the way). I'll definitely try to hook up with Jonn when it warms up a bit (can't happen soon enough!).

 

When Scott posted this, the bell rang and the fight was over. The rods were bought. Some of us including myself continued to slug it out like prize fighters who didn't hear the bell. A ref usually separates them in the ring. Sometimes he is aided by the fighters' managers. Being grown men I'd say we should head for the locker rooms on our own.

 

What Scott can draw from this is a win-win. The rods he picked are in tune with the opinion of many. On the other hand, Scott probably has a 9 ft 5 or 6 wt that the kids can try out and see if the other many are also correct. The rest is academic. Tim made some good points in his well thought out essay. But things are not going to change-fight is over.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Mike

I think Scott had for the most part pretty much decided beforehand what rod he was getting his 7yr old who as I had stated is likely too young based upon the difficulty experienced teaching flycasting to older kids.Either way there are many others on our site who may have the same questions for either themselves or a family member that would also benefit.Btw, a discussion becomes a "fight" only if someone gets personal.

Tim

i think we agree that a shorter rod( a 7' being about as short as it gets)demands more of a caster. Therefore to me the bottom line is that a longer rod is a better choice for a beginner with a short rod something to consider once he gets better.If a kid is too young to manage a light trout/panfish rod, which is what a 9'5wt is, he's simply too young.Better he continues to enjoy fishing as many of us did at that age with a Zebco for awhile longer.

Scott

.I've found that among a group of 12 -18 kids there's usually one sometimes two who take too it relatively easily. I hope your kid is one of those exceptions.Let us know how he does.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"i think we agree that a shorter rod( a 7' being about as short as it gets)demands more of a caster." Huh?

 

I don't agree with your major assumption Ron. More what? It depends too much on the caster. You misrepresent me to a tee. But the fight is over. So I will not say anything more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"i think we agree that a shorter rod( a 7' being about as short as it gets)demands more of a caster." Huh?

 

I don't agree with your major assumption Ron. More what? It depends too much on the caster. You misrepresent me to a tee. But the fight is over. So I will not say anything more.

Why am I not surprised that you failed to notice that at that point I was addressiing Tim not you. You're right Mike. Everybody who knows anything at all about flycasting knows that a flyrod's length has nothing to do with how it facilitates a cast.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ron,

 

I think this will help.

 

It is over. You did not loose, but you did not win. Why? This was not a contest, a debate, a game, or a tournament. There was no final score, no judges' ruling, no better team, and no weigh in. It was a discussion. Opinions were stated. It did not change my mind. It didn't change your mind. Tim can speak for himself.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...