Taking kids fishing is one of the highlights of being a dad, keeping in mind, of course, that fishing is the last thing that you will do.
What fishing means for me is much different than what it means to my three year-old or even my five year-old (much like was noted in this excellent piece from Casting Across). First, fishing with the kids means fishing with worms, bobbers, and lures--wholly different than the fly fishing I've fallen in love with, but exactly what is called for on these days. And fishing includes turning over rocks to look for bugs, building dams, playing in the sand, floating sticks downstream, and throwing rocks in the water--lots and lots of throwing rocks- together. All of these are fun and build not just a connection with the outdoors, but a desire to return to the outdoors.
The actual catching of fish is almost a side benefit-- and often a surprise to my children-- when fishing at these tender ages. And I wouldn't trade anything in the world for these opportunities together, but what happens when, on a family outing, you actually want to fish?
First, if you're like me, you appreciate that the trip is more about getting the family away from the daily rat race than fulfilling your desire for a peaceful day on the water. Next, realize that not only will your time on the water be limited (other than throwing rocks, untangling reels, and threading fresh worms onto hooks), but the time of day you actually get to fish will likely be the worst time of day to fish. It will likely be the hottest, buggiest, windiest, or rainiest part of the day-- those times when the kids are either eating, napping, or just trying to stay out of the heat or terrible weather all together. This is your golden hour!
Embrace the moment for what it is-- a wonderful transition from family fun on the stream to delicious minutes of fly fishing while daydreaming of the day you look upstream and see your kids joining you in the adventure of the quiet sport.
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Cheers & tight lines,