Posts Tagged ‘Youth fly fishing


Fly Fishing, Your Kids & FF Clubs

TMuncy @ Hosmer L. '98 (SwittersB)

From an early age, I attempted to teach my sons the in and outs of fly fishing. I have admitted here before that I erred over and over. Patience was critically short and hard come by, by someone use to focusing upon self. In time, I realized the critical balance necessary to teach and have a child that comes to love the sport years later. One of the best things I did, eventually, was to expose one of my sons to a fly fishing club. He was the only youth, surrounded by men and women that embraced his youth. He kept his place, watched, listened and absorbed. If you have a nearby fly fishing club that is youth tolerant and your child is not too shy…take them to club meetings, club outings (fishing, cleanups, picnics, fundraisers, classes). Your kid will blossom before your eyes. The experiences help your child learn the sport, but also to engage adults (club members, if interested will challenge your child to conversations and basic social graces). Give it some thought…take your son or daughter, but let them actually participate and grow. When you can actually photograph your kid playing a fish and not fret over the outcome, you and your child are in the right place in time. I now have three sons that are pretty darn good fishers….despite me and because of me. Patience.

TMuncy '99 Central Oregon (SwittersB)

TMuncy (SwittersB '08)


Fly Fishing: Kids, Flies, Spinning Rods and a Casting Bubble

Yes, it is cool that Danny and Lizzie, at five years of age, waving around that fly rod. That is the ultimate goal for many. It is the symbol, the means toward acceptance in the, ah fraternity. For kids, I advocate a different approach, a reverse approach. Place the emphasis on the fly and forget the mechanics of the rod and casting; at least on outings.

The fly becomes the focus, hold on, on the end of a leader with a casting bubble. All propelled out via a spinning rod and reel. Whoa Nellie! Nope. My three sons have an avid appreciation for fly fishing. All can throw a long line via one hander or two hander and they all started with spinning rods/reels.

Years ago, I learned this technique for fishing mountain lakes. I intro’d my sons with this technique rather than slip sinkers, trebles and Power Bait. The kids had enormous success and soon had great confidence in dry flies and wets. The back cast and roll cast were not necessary. Sure there were tangles and loops and sideways casts, but in the end it was and is a successful way to teach a kid to have confidence in a fly and to see the take. In time, the practice and introduction of the fly rod and all the intricacies of the presentations can begin. All my sons were adequately using a fly rod on streams and lakes by 8 or 9 years of age. Not perfect but catching fish.

The above picture (sorry for blur) is of an almost 7 years old son that caught & released this beautiful rainbow while using a Humpy propelled by a casting bubble via a spinning rod/reel. This was a memorable moment. Note, he was wearing a bucket hat from the Little Fort Fly Shop in B.C.

A few year later, the same angler has advanced to a tube, a fly rod and even greater confidence. As the years have progressed, he has built upon those early successes (and failures) and lucky for him knows a gazillion things more than I did at his age. Consider slowly implementing the fly rod. Use the spinning rod and casting bubble. Even nymphs can be used with this setup along the edges of lakes in shallower waters. Keep the leader the length of the rod at most. Small little 5′ rods require a shorter leader. One hangup thing: when the rig is cast, the bubble, if weighted or filled with water, will precede the leader and fly. This can cause the fly/leader to hang back and wrap around the mainline. When the rig lands, usually a few cranks causes the casting bubble to come back closer to than the fly. Then let it set and teach kid to start slow cranking retrieve and pause, retrieve and pause. Keep slack and wind bow out of the line. Once the fly is on the water, keep the rod tip to the surface…sound familiar?


Promoting Youth Into Fly Fishing (as the novelty fades…make it their own)


Tyler Befus & Al Cauci

Tyler Befus & Al Cauci in photo. ‘Tyler Befus may only be 10 years old but has already been fly fishing and tying his own flies for more than seven years. His fly fishing journey began when he was old enough to go along in a child backpack. He started fly casting and fly tying before the age of three and landed his first fly caught trout on his own shortly before his third birthday. He is the youngest member of the Ross Reels, Rio Products, Inc., Oakley, Simms Fishing Products and Whiting Farms prostaff teams and is a Signature Fly designer for Umpqua Feather Merchants. Tyler frequently presents kids fly fishing programs at numerous fly fishing and outdoor sport shows around the country….’

 Tyler Befus has had some strong guidance and promotion in his ten years. His site is fun. He is published. He is confident in his presentation. He will hopefully maintain this apparent passion for the sport as he transitions away from his guiding hand…probably dad? This is enjoyable to witness as a parent, family member or nearby adult friend. I know this because my son, Tony was tying at NW Sportsman’s Shows and Fly Tying Expos at 9 y/o. We toyed with publishing a youth fly tying book years ago, but time did not allow for it to happen and the novelty of age passed by. He caught the bug at a young age and eventually made the passion truly his own.

Tony Muncy Teaching in the NWFFO Loft (3/7/09)

Tony Muncy Teaching in the NWFFO Loft (3/7/09)

 Above you see Tony, just today, at 19 y/o, teaching a stillwater class at the fly shop (NWFFO-Portland) where he has been fortunate to work the last few years. I have thoroughly enjoyed watching the growth and especially the process, when the young adult makes it all their own…Today, Tony said sometimes he is surprised at how much he has learned over the years. It is refreshing to see he was paying attention. Good luck to Tyler Befus and to all the other boys and girls enjoying the sport in varying degrees. We welcome you. Dad, Mom, Aunt, Uncle, Mentor….remember these formative times.

Tony Muncy, Dad @ Crooked River, 1981

Tony Muncy & SwittersB (Dad) on Crooked R. 1991

At an early age, say 7 or 8, Tony would accompany me to a Tuesday night meet for the NWFF Club in Troutdale, Oregon. This was intended as a relaxed learning experience for both of us and a side benefit not foreseen by me was the interaction with adults, mostly men. Tony was the only youth at the meetings. He wandered about and was immediately engaged by men, who (I love them) drew out conversations and challenged him to respond with more than shyness or mumbles. Tony has never been void of words, but he learned early on to not brag, BS or fabricate (traits of normal fly fishers) because his skills were intially suspect…but, in time club members came to respect Tony’s tenacious ability on a lake, sitting well below the top of the back rest of his float tube . This was a great experience for Tony and me as well because I saw him blossom and develop without me standing over him. He did it on his own and I owe a debt of gratitude to too many men and women to mention, but in particular to John and Jack Hagan, Shirley Hagan, Tim Evans, Jack Lynch, Todd and Peggy Sloan, Lee McKee…well there were many.


This club award was special to 10 year old Tony, but aggravating to some club members. Why would you give such an important award to a boy? I appreciated the recognition for Tony’s enthusiasm, but knew there were many men and women in the club who devoted many hours to club functions and missions. But, the message was clear that the club needed new blood, that the club should encourage other kids into the mix and that Tony was a special kid in his own right. For those that sacrificed or argued nay at the time, your club’s acknowledgement went a long way in Tony’s self esteem and comfort as a young man today.

Tim Evans and Lee Clark were first responsible for gathering Tony up and convincing me to have him tie at the Portland Sportman’s Show. Back then it was sit up in front of everyone, in the middle of the action,  hooked up to a microphone, camera and monitors activated and hold forth for an hour. I can still recall when Tony blazed through an hour’s worth of material in thirty minutes and ad libbed his way through with a couple more unplanned for patterns, up on stage, for the remaining thirty minutes. He was wedged between Dave Hughes, Brian Chan and Denny Rickards that day and he did a wonderful job….most of us know how nervous we would be in the planning, preparation, over thinking it and the actual event. Tony continued this a few more times at the Sportsman Show, the Fly Tying Expos in Eugene and the FFF show in Seaside. He was recently invited to tie in a Boise, Id. show, but had to decline because of work and his fire fighter internship. In short, involve your child. If you don’t smother, over manage, over plan, over instruct your child will blossom before your eyes, making it slightly easier later when they start moving out in their own direction. You will have helped pave the way.


Brian Chan, Tony Muncy, Dave Hughes

Brian Chan, Tony Muncy, Dave Hughes

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