Tenkara at work: the author’s daughter with a nice native cutthroat trout.
I was “that parent” a while back. I tried to foist fly fishing on my kids when they were just too young. I had converted from spin fishing to fly fishing by the time I was in my late teens and early 20s, and I wanted to “start them out right,” by teaching my kids to fly cast before they ever actually picked up a traditional fishing rod.
The sad outcome? My son hardly fishes at all. My daughter is a bit more into it, but if she has her way, she’ll forego the traditional fly rod and pick up her Tenkara rod instead. It’s my fault. I should have started them like I started, with traditional spinning gear, bait, spinners and the like.
That said, Tenkara might have been the best fishing technique I ever introduced to my kids. My son, when he fishes, will fish with a Tenkara rod. My daughter is downright voracious with her Tenkara rod, roaming the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park all last summer and catching native cutthroats with it.
What technique or trick have you used to get your kids involved in fly fishing? Did you start them out with the time-tested spinning rod, complete with the old “coffee grinder” Zebco? Or did you let them decide what they would fish with and when?
It’s a tricky business, passing your passion down to your children. There’s a chance they’ll dig it, and you’ll have fishing buddies the rest of your life. And, of course, there’s a chance they won’t.
— Chris Hunt