Getting a Young 'Un Hooked!

Lewis Chessman

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A couple of Christmases ago I'd rebuilt an old, rather floppy rod just for the practice, then put the name of a neighbour's 10 y-o kid on it and gave it to the grandparents to give 'from Santa'.
He was over the moon when I saw him next.
"James! James! Guess what I got for Christmas!"
"Oh, I don't know ..... a dog?"
"No, no .... well yes, but I got a fly rod!!!"
:)
I'm usually away for most of the season so couldn't give him a lesson but he's still as keen as mustard. This year, before Christmas, we had a chat at the window.
"What I really want is some fishing books so that I can read about it when I can't do it."
Grandparents then received several fishing books, fly, sea and a general encyclopedia, an old but functional spinning reel and a few other bits and bobs to get him started.

Last week he was back at the window with some old rods and reels he'd been given - a king-size Rimfly with a #8 floater, a rusty open face and an ABU 80 closed face spinning reel, a 10 ft Milbro TrueFly #7/8, a sea boat rod and a light spinning rod. Sadly the cork was badly mouse-eaten on the sea and spinning rods and the open faced reel was too far gone to restore, but I serviced the ABU 80 and RImFly, cleaned the fly line and added a loop and gave him an old fibreglass spinning rod from my yoof. I handed them over yesterday and showed him how to use the ABU reel in the garden. Fine.

This morning I found him out on the grass practising his casting! Fanbloodytastic!
He now want's us to form our own fishing club!! :)
Two weeks, two days now until the trout season opens here and, if his parents are willing I'll take him down to the local loch. It's full of wee brownies so hopefully he'll hook up pretty quickly with a wee mepps. The great thing for me, though, is that he's really interested in the fly, so I'll do all I can to get him started with his wobbly fly rod before work takes me away to the Mainland again.
Roll on Opening Day! :)
 

Lewis Chessman

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I'm sure I'm not alone here, that fishing has been a constant in my life since childhood and has probably taught me more about nature, science, art and my own self than anything else. If I can pass on just a fraction of that, plus all the joy and good health it has brought me, well, I'll die a happy man.
And if I can train up a youngster who'll row me around a loch in my dotage - all the bloody better! ;)
 
D

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A couple of Christmases ago I'd rebuilt an old, rather floppy rod just for the practice, then put the name of a neighbour's 10 y-o kid on it and gave it to the grandparents to give 'from Santa'.
He was over the moon when I saw him next.
"James! James! Guess what I got for Christmas!"
"Oh, I don't know ..... a dog?"
"No, no .... well yes, but I got a fly rod!!!"
:)
I'm usually away for most of the season so couldn't give him a lesson but he's still as keen as mustard. This year, before Christmas, we had a chat at the window.
"What I really want is some fishing books so that I can read about it when I can't do it."
Grandparents then received several fishing books, fly, sea and a general encyclopedia, an old but functional spinning reel and a few other bits and bobs to get him started.

Last week he was back at the window with some old rods and reels he'd been given - a king-size Rimfly with a #8 floater, a rusty open face and an ABU 80 closed face spinning reel, a 10 ft Milbro TrueFly #7/8, a sea boat rod and a light spinning rod. Sadly the cork was badly mouse-eaten on the sea and spinning rods and the open faced reel was too far gone to restore, but I serviced the ABU 80 and RImFly, cleaned the fly line and added a loop and gave him an old fibreglass spinning rod from my yoof. I handed them over yesterday and showed him how to use the ABU reel in the garden. Fine.

This morning I found him out on the grass practising his casting! Fanbloodytastic!
He now want's us to form our own fishing club!! :)
Two weeks, two days now until the trout season opens here and, if his parents are willing I'll take him down to the local loch. It's full of wee brownies so hopefully he'll hook up pretty quickly with a wee mepps. The great thing for me, though, is that he's really interested in the fly, so I'll do all I can to get him started with his wobbly fly rod before work takes me away to the Mainland again.
Roll on Opening Day! :)
Is there anything we as a group of anglers could help with.
My nephew had asked me about the kit in my shed so I've sorted him a reel a rod and flies and the basics sadly my nephew is in a horrible place at home.. Long story but getting out with me for a few hours once a week will make a difference and hopefully it will lead to a life long passion..
Does your apprentice need anything else James..
Good luck.
G
 

running bear

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Oct 23, 2009
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I've two nephews waiting to go to a hill lough where dark gnarly headed free rising 6oz trout hit your flies so hard you think every take is from a 3 pounder.

They have the rods from christmas, the hackeless bibios and black and peacocks needed, I bought their annual permits (one of them needed a 2 quid rod licence as he is 12 ffs!) and tied a few leaders.

Lockdown though is likely to delay their first fly fishing trip (and probably first trout) until at least April, maybe May.

I'm actually looking forward to that day more that any other, even though I've some fairly special fishing booked for the summer (should we be allowed out).
 
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Lewis Chessman

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Isle of Lewis
Thanks Gary, kind of you to ask, but I'm sure he'll be fine. I haven't fished anything but the fly for about ten years now so can keep passing on unused tackle as and when appropriate. I think my fly rod collection is topping 50 now, so he'll probably get a better rod each year from here to eternity! I have a couple of old DragonFly Concepts + 6 spools which stood me in great stead when I started grilse/sea trouting here, christ, 25 years ago now (thanks for reminding me!) and if he takes to the sport he'll probably end up with them, too. I'm already asking myself when he might be ready to tie his own fly and build his own rod! :)

I have two nephews, now in their mid-20s but neither took to the sport. I blame their father! ;) So, it's great to have a lad nearby who is truly interested. I'm told he has ADHD and can find school tough, so maybe he'll find a path through life with fishing or, at least, an escape into something (moderately) healthy.

How about your nephew? Anything we can do to help you?
 
D

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Thanks Gary, kind of you to ask, but I'm sure he'll be fine. I haven't fished anything but the fly for about ten years now so can keep passing on unused tackle as and when appropriate. I think my fly rod collection is topping 50 now, so he'll probably get a better rod each year from here to eternity! I have a couple of old DragonFly Concepts + 6 spools which stood me in great stead when I started grilse/sea trouting here, christ, 25 years ago now (thanks for reminding me!) and if he takes to the sport he'll probably end up with them, too. I'm already asking myself when he might be ready to tie his own fly and build his own rod! :)

I have two nephews, now in their mid-20s but neither took to the sport. I blame their father! ;) So, it's great to have a lad nearby who is truly interested. I'm told he has ADHD and can find school tough, so maybe he'll find a path through life with fishing or, at least, an escape into something (moderately) healthy.

How about your nephew? Anything we can do to help you?
Short of burying his father nit much in afraid I'll help where I can and like you will continue to help out when I see new bits and pieces..
I hope yourself and running bear will keep us updated about young progress..
Stay safe all.
G
 

running bear

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Will do Gary. Hopefully things work themselves out. One of my nephews has been bullied a lot recently. I'm hoping getting fishing will help him. He's mad keen and fishing can make you forget all else.
Even though I've been fairly successful at work, I've always had to deal with some absolute ignoramous corporate bully over a con call. At the weekend when wading after trout or salmon, totally engrossed, I actually pity the ******, knowing he is not experiencing what I am. Too busy polishing his escalade or whatever.

Btw, to hear 'Old dragonfly concepts' feeling old now. They were cutting edge once upon a time, and I still use one every now and again.
The 355 is a good euronymph reel due to the full frame and weight. The 395 is a reliable saltwater reel.
 

Lewis Chessman

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It's still a good reel, running bear, and I've happy memories of using it. The drag's decent enough to subdue a 10 lb+ salmon, that much I know. :)

The bullying thing resonates with me, too. Apparently this lad gets his share of it at school.
It's endemic in our society and I'm sure stems from being unchallenged in the school years. I've little doubt it's on the list of anti-social behaviour to be condemned in time, much like sexism, racism and homophobia have been, but it's not there yet, sadly.
 

ohanzee

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It's still a good reel, running bear, and I've happy memories of using it. The drag's decent enough to subdue a 10 lb+ salmon, that much I know. :)

The bullying thing resonates with me, too. Apparently this lad gets his share of it at school.
It's endemic in our society and I'm sure stems from being unchallenged in the school years. I've little doubt it's on the list of anti-social behaviour to be condemned in time, much like sexism, racism and homophobia have been, but it's not there yet, sadly.

The bullying thing was actually beat, or at least in the process of being understood and dealt with around the time that internet social media opened up the perfect hidden place for bullying, its complex and completely saturated now, pretty much omnipresent now and impossible for schools to control.

90% of parents buy their kids computers to do 'school work'

90% of kids use computers for social media and gaming addictions.

Well done with the young guy, definitely a healthier addiction.
 
D

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I got my 6 year old son interested in drowning a few worms or sinking some sweetcorn at the ripe old age of 6, by the time he was 10, he could cast a fly line as well as some semi-experienced anglers, he massively improved as he aged & has now introduced my grandson, who is 5, into that very same sport.
Fantastic
 

PaulD

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The bullying thing resonates with me, too. Apparently this lad gets his share of it at school.
It's endemic in our society and I'm sure stems from being unchallenged in the school years. I've little doubt it's on the list of anti-social behaviour to be condemned in time, much like sexism, racism and homophobia have been, but it's not there yet, sadly.

I can assure you that bullying is 'addressed' at schools - it would be a school that would be a complete anomaly if it wasn't. All schools must have a published behaviour policy which to will find on their website, that policy must also include measures to prevent all forms of bullying among pupils. If parents feel that the school is or has not addressed a bullying issue then their first action should be to write to the Head Teacher. If unhappy with the outcome of that, then subsequently the Chair of Governors.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Thanks for the reassurance, PaulID and Alan. I've no kids of my own so that's good to know it's officially being looked at, though I don't doubt it continues in and out of the playground to some extent. I do suspect that it still rears its head in the workplace from adults, e.g. Dominic Cumming's and Pritti Patel's reputation at the top of government. Some unhappy people like to make others unhappy too.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Thanks, Pete, thanks everyone. I'm glad you guys know me well enough to recognise that I'm not 'virtue signalling' (an ugly, often meanly used phrase, I think) but truly love our sport and want to share what it has given to me over the years. It is an escape, isn't it, but it's not escapism. It's a connection with something deep in our very core being, bringing out both the animal and the humane in us, simultaneously linking us to our ancient, ancestral past and the Very Now.
 

Lewis Chessman

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Well, Opening day arrived on the 15th and, as promised, I turned up at the lad's door around 4 pm. He dashed around madly getting things together while I chatted to his mum and gran, then we walked about 800 yards through winter-beaten rough grazing down the the loch. It's about the size of a football pitch sat in a natural, semi-circular amphitheatre with a hill running from s.e. to the south giving some shelter from the wind. To the north-west is the sea, visible where a wee burn winds its short, half mile run to the ocean through a slight valley between two low, heathery hills. On the loch sat a couple of swans so we talked swans a bit as we wandered down to the water. I did my poor imitation of a Whooper - and the swans replied.
Kid thought that was magic. ;)

I talked him through spin-casting and once he'd got the jist, and at his request, set up a fly rod for myself - when I could! He had the habit of reeling a bit, then not reeling for a bit, or reeling then drawing the rod around the the side, pulling the Mepps really fast, the bringing the rod back while reeling slowly ...... Either way, the loch wasn't tall enough where we were and I lost count of the times I stopped setting up and went and coaxed the spinner off the bottom for him. Credit to him though, he's learnt to tie a decent half-blood knot and we didn't lose one lure.

Once we were both casting I suggested we start moving, hunting for fish and, looking at the lie of the land, the bottom end might be a bit deeper. It was, so I put a heavier Mepps on so he'd cast further and get his releasing finger's timing better. It worked, and he was throwing some nice casts - sometimes. At least, he managed to miss me if not always the fly line!
Oh, and I did give him the water first, honest. ;)

This first session was only ever going to be about an hour so in good time I said, "Right, five more casts each. Make 'em good ..... OK, that one doesn't count. Five more."
I got to cast #2 and felt a little weight on the end of my line, lifted - and I was in! My wee pal was delighted, got his line in and ran over to watch. Soon enough I led a rather silvery brownie onto a small sandy inlet. It was only around 7 oz, all steely silver with black spots and a black back, no red spots, brown or gold that I remember - but not a finnock, the burn drops about 8 feet to the beach at the 'estuary' and there's no run here.
I let him pick it up once the hook was removed, then he shrieked and dropped it when it wiggled. Not scared just surprised and excited. He wanted to kill it and eat it but I said no, that he can eat his own fish when he catches them, but this one, my first of the year, is going back. He was fine with that. Hopefully it's made him more eager still.

As we walked back he told me that he'd read all the books I gave him at Christmas and had done a PowerPoint presentation at school on fishing. Great, as a friend had sent me a book to give him on Opening Day, so he's got more to read now. :) 'Can we go again soon,' he asks. Friday. Weather and parents permitting. I handed him back to his mother, pointing out that he was still mainly dry and pretty much as I'd found him.

It all went well, really. There was no moaning when the 5 last casts were up, if I asked him to do something he would - for a bit - and once I'd said the side-pulling wouldn't help he stopped. He likes watching the fly casting, too. He's intrigued by it.
I got home and made a cuppa when there was a knock at the door. The boy. With a Thank You card.
See you Friday, then.
Better pack a priest.
 
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