My friend Don is an avid fisherman with two young sons. Like all dads in his position, he couldn’t wait to be able to share his love of fishing with his kids. The problem he was running into was this; Even with youth sized gear, manipulating the controls on a push-button reel, warding off bird’s nest tangles, and keeping the boys engaged was a chore. He ended up with the rod in his hands fixing problems or resetting the rig much more than the boys had it in their hands fishing, and they quickly became bored. He was beginning to think that he might just have to wait a few more years to share that kind of quality time with his sons...
Over the summer, Don and I discussed the situation and considered Tenkara fly fishing as a potential solution. Mike and I have had success teaching children as young as 6 to use this simple style of fishing gear, and suggested that if anything was going to be suitable for a 4-year-old angler, this would be it. Tenkara fly fishing features an ultralight rod with no reel – the line is attached to the tip of the rod. This makes it exceptionally simple to cast, and removes the vast majority of the “maintenance” problems that require constant attention when fishing with kids.