Over the Christmas period I took my 5 year old lad fly fishing for the first time...in fact it was his first time fishing full stop. He was massively excited because I had bought him a little fly box and tied him 10 flies; he was so excited he did not stop talking during the 30 minute walk to the small still water I fish when I am at the in-laws in Shropshire.
It was a beautiful day and the water was like a mill pond. He chose the fly and I tackled up for him. Now...what I wanted to guarantee as much as possible was that he caught a fish; not easy. With a nod to the purists among us he opted for an Apps Bloodworm. My nod to the purists was adding a bung to the line for him as an aid...again, bear in mind I wanted him to catch a fish to keep the interest there. There are years ahead of him to learn the feeling of a take when fly fishing; the best way to guarantee he did something when a fish took the fly was adding a sight indicator.
He asked if I would cast for him so I agreed on the proviso he did everything else if a fish took the fly. First cast he missed a fish because, by his own admission, he was not concentrating. Second cast the bung disappeared and he hauled the rod upwards...and the fish was hooked. It was a lively fish but Benjamin was a trooper; he reeled in when I said so, he stopped and let the drag work when I told him to and he ensured there was always a bend in the rod. After 5 minutes the fish was in the net (I did the netting for him) and there was the most enormous smile on his face.
He then surprised my greatly with maturity beyond his years by dispatching the fish (after being shown how) and saying he will eat some as we only kill animals for food; and when we got home he helped my gut and scale the fish.
Benjamin has now asked that I take him fishing on a boat when I go next; I'm not sure he will last 12 hours on Eyebrook so I am currently figuring out a plan of attack for this.