September 19, 2015 at 9:31 pm #4725
I will soon be taking both my nieces fly fishing for their first time. One is in her 20’s and the other is 19. Now, when I say first time, I mean really fly fishing. They both know I am hard core and I think that scares them a little because when I fish I don’t stop till I have had my fill, which usually takes around ten hours or so. But I think for them I can be a little easy on them. The oldest hasn’t caught a fish yet fishing near her home in Meeker Colo. Her husband does NOT fish, so he is no help to her. Her youngest brother is a fly fisher and is one heck of a nympher and has placed well in competitions fishing the White River that runs right through Meeker. But that’s all he knows.
The younger one, loves to hunt. She is more athletic, got her first elk at 16 and wants to join the Marines after college. She say’s she likes to fly fish, and she has fished tenkara style with her boyfriend who comes home on leave from the military. He is based in Japan and has picked up this tenkara style. I think she is only into it because of her boyfriend, but I could be wrong. She hasn’t caught a fish yet either. Now her parents have told them both if they want to catch a fish to go fishing with me. Not sure if I would have suggested that, but ok.
So, I have taken people out fly fishing for their first time before, some have done fine, and others have struggled. I think most of the problem with beginners besides casting is they can’t see the fly. I have seen beginners cast into a pocket with a dry fly only to have it go by them. What I see is they cast into a pocket and a fish does rise and take the fly, but they have no clue to it. I tell them to set the hook and they just look at me like I am nuts. Then I ask them if they saw the take. They always say “no.”
I want my nieces to succeed in this, so I am obviously thinking a fly with a parachute. Something easy for them to see. Is there anything else that you all could recommend to help me with them?
The things I come up with are,
Short accurate casts.
Faster pocket water. Because the flies can be bigger which will help them, and the fish will take it easier because they don’t have the time to really look the fly over like they do in pools.
Fish the edges where Brown trout like to hang out.
What do you think?September 21, 2015 at 7:53 am #4729
Here are just a few thoughts, based on what I have found can work (all in the context of a pure LEARNING situation as opposed to an actual fishing trip for the ‘teacher’ and students):
There are plenty of challenges associated with learning to fly fish, so I like to keep it simple to start. That involves reducing the complexities associated with reading the water, challenging wading, seeing the fly, selective fish…. So I like to take beginners to a place where they can stand on a shallow bar or shore or in calm water and cast largish flies (say, #12 or so) to cooperative fish. Cooperative fish include things like sunfish/bluegill/bass, or even so-called trash fish that will ignore presentation.
Also, if the idea is to keep enthusiasm up, its important to get fish; so under the appropriate conditions, a wet fly or streamer might be the way to go, although there’s no doubt that SEEING the fish take the fly off the surface makes a big impression and makes hook-setting timing a lot easier.
Somewhere with an unencumbered backcast zone is also important.
Something that is key, from my perspective, is to plan NOT to fish yourself. This is particularly important with children (who may decide that frog chasing is way more fun anyway), but also with beginners if the true (and only) purpose of the trip is to teach. Doesn’t mean you don’t pick up the rod to demonstrate, but it helps to avoid the situation where the student ends up feeling woefully inadequate, watching the ‘teacher’ show how accomplished he is.
You have the advantage of teaching two women. its not always the case, but I find women bring a lot less ego to these situations, and genuinely attempt to learn. A lot of (most?) men become competitive at the drop of a hat and become focused on showing off what they can do rather than watching and learning how to do more/better. (if you ever need proof of this, try teaching a beginner motorcycle safety course to a mixed gender class).
And don’t be disappointed if, at the end of the day, one or both decide its not for them. It is NOT for everyone. If it was, the golf courses would be empty, and you’d be phoning ahead to the river for a ‘tee time’.
brentSeptember 22, 2015 at 11:43 pm #4733
You made some excellent points Brent. In fact I wasn’t even planning on taking a rod for myself. It’s all them. Understanding these girls as I do, convenience is the key. I understand your point on taking them out for bluegill. It’s good to keep them enthused I agree, but I don’t want them to start off too easy and get the wrong perspective. You have to admit, sometimes we have to work at fishing, and sometimes it’s a given. When I said convenience, they are the types who won’t do this unless it’s convenient. What I mean is, the White River runs right by there house. That’s convenient. Traveling an hour to a lake with bluegill, not convenient.
I figured a small stream so it wouldn’t intimidate them like a river like the White. That way I can break it up in little segments and they can understand how to read the water easier.
Thank you for your ideas Brent. Also an open area for back casts is important. I’m glad you mentioned that. I forgot.September 23, 2015 at 6:08 am #4734
Its a nice thing you’re doing. I’d love to hear how it goes. Best of luck
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