June 14, 2024 3 min read

Cheeky Fishing believes that the health of fisheries, and the health of the sport of fly fishing depends on getting youngsters stoked on the activity. We believe in teaching them fair chase tactics and a strong catch and release mentality. Here is a Cheeky father's take on what to keep in mind when teaching your child to fly fish. 

When my son was born my wife had to remind me that I had to wait until he could walk before I could take him fishing with me. For the next 10 months, I looked up where to take him, what to do, where to do it, and everything in between. To say I was excited to have a fishing buddy is an understatement. Here are some things I learned along the way.

You’re Not Fishing.

                To start, you’re not fishing. You’re the guide. You’re there to put them on the fish, provide guidance, and keep things interesting. In the beginning, they not only need the attention, but that is why they are there for your attention. So, leave your rod at home. Give them your attention. If they decide to flip over rocks and look at bugs, then look at bugs with them.

Teach Them to Tie

               If you are a fly tyer, teach your kid to tie flies. Start them out on easy flies like the bluegill spider, wooly bugger, and poppers. My son's favorite thing to tie is poppers. He gets to color them any way he wants. The nice thing about these flies is they do not have to be tied well to fish. A popper with mismatched feathers and an oddly colored head will still catch fish. The look of pride on my son's face when he picks out a fly from his fly box that he has tied, is the same look I imagine I have. There is nothing better than catching a fish on a fly you tied.

Let Someone Else Teach the Basics

               Maybe you’re not what you would call a good teacher or you’re prone to get frustrated when you have explained how to do something 10 times, 10 different ways and it doesn’t seem to click with them. I get it. It happens to me. That’s when I recommend you take them to a local fly shop for a fly-fishing lesson. A quick internet search in your area and you will find someone, somewhere, teaching people to cast and many times it is for free.

Go After the Sure Thing

               We have all had days on the water that were tough. Kids have yet to build up the stamina to push through the long days and want to come back to try again. Sunfish are the perfect fish to start them out on. Sunfish are forgiving of casting errors, drag, and everything else. They can even use the bluegill spider they tied or that little popper they made to catch them all-day.

Get Them Quality Gear to Start

               The last thing you want is to get on the water with your kid and have them be frustrated. That's why I think it is important to let them use your gear until they need their own. Cheeky Fishing’s PreLoad 2.0 paired with a TFO bug Launcher will run about $250 and will last them a lifetime. Avoiding heartburn over issues with gear keeps things upbeat and that is worth it to me.

Get Out on the Water

               One last thing. Get them on the water with you. Fly fishing is a fantastic sport where you and your kid can create memories you will have forever. Relax and don’t worry about if you caught fish or were skunked. What you want is for them to have fun learning something new. In the end, you want them to ask when you can go fishing again.  


About the Author: Cory Byrnes has sailed on all but one of the seven seas, seen icebergs, and has lived Wednesday twice. He eventually settled down into a corporate job where he daydreams of being on the water fishing. Now based in Houston, Texas, Cory is an avid outdoorsman and enjoys fishing and hunting. When he is not at his desk job or fishing, he is a freelance writer and photographer. You can read more by him at ByrnesOutdoors