Why do you fly fish? Is it for the challenge? Is it for the thrill of the fight on a fly rod? There are countless reasons that I fly fish. These reasons vary from the places that I get to experience and travel to actually catching a fish on my fly rod and being able to hold it. But a really important part of fly fishing to me is being able to share the sport with kids.
I believe that deep down we all have a certain group of people that we enjoy assisting. To some it may be elderly, to others it may be handicapped- to me, its kids. There is something about teaching a kid how to use a fly rod and helping them learn about flies and gear that makes me feel accomplished in a way. The love and passion that I have for the outdoors is so strong and being able to possibly have a positive effect on even one child’s life through fly fishing makes it even more enjoyable for me. I know that every child won’t like fishing, but just having a positive impact on just one kid’s life makes it all worth it to me.
I am blessed in the way that I have a huge family full of kids. And I mean lots of kids! I try to fish with all of them, but one specific kiddo in my family enjoys fishing the way that I do. She is my sister and her name is Peyton. She can toss a fly, fight a fish and net it on her own at just 11 years old. Peyton hasn’t always been that into it, but this past year she has grown to love the sport so much and I couldn’t be more proud of her. She even ties some of her own flies also. Not many kids I know can tie; much less catch a fish on their own fly!
About 2 years ago I introduced Peyton to fly fishing. She liked it and she thought it was neat, but I could tell it was really hard for her. I felt like she would rather just use a spinner rod to make it easy. She had trouble casting and the knots really made it hard for her. When I would go fishing, I would come in and show her pictures of fish that I had caught on my fly rod and show her the beautiful and astonishing places that I got to go to and catch fish, and I think it slowly grew on her!
Last year during March of 2016, we took her on her first fly fishing trip outside of Texas. This was a big deal because the furthest she had ever gone to fish was only a couple hours from home. We took her to Missouri to catch rainbow trout, which was also new to her since we are from Texas and we mostly fish for bass. We planned on staying 5 days, but ended up leaving early due to the fishing being slow. If I am being completely honest, the fishing was awful. Just horrible! I felt really bad for Peyton because her first impression of trout fishing was pretty upsetting. I was determined to get her on some trout after this.
Currently it is March of 2017, and this month, Peyton’s opinion on fly fishing for trout has turned around completely! We took her back to Missouri for Spring Break of 2017, and she was the queen of the stream. She was so determined to catch fish, and that she did. She used streamers as well as nymphs. And she did it all on her own! I could tell that it got frustrating at times with the line knots and getting caught in trees during back cast, but she handled all of those issues on her own and got back onto the water every time!
Seeing the smile on her face when she feels a fish fighting on the end of her line makes my heart fill with joy and it’s honestly one of the best feelings that I have ever felt! Knowing that I taught her how to do that and seeing the happiness that takes place is priceless. I thought it was really neat seeing her use the techniques and information that I had been teaching her over the years, but then to see her actually catching fish and even netting them on her own just filled me with so much happiness. I noticed that she likes to adore the fish like I do when I hold them also. And that makes me feel so good inside!
I am so extremely thankful to have the opportunity to share my favorite sport with younger kids and especially with my sister. I plan to use my passion for this sport to work in the fly fishing industry and get all kids outdoors and fill those little hands with fly rods! If you have some little ones that might like fishing or just getting outdoors, I highly suggest just spending an hour or so at your next family gathering letting them try to cast your fly rod! You never know- it might become their new favorite thing to do.