Getting hooked

Lionel Otley took me fishing on the Arle in 1987. I was seven and I had well and truly caught the fishing bug.

But now we are older, we are asked nearly every week how to introduce children to fishing. We have a couple of suggestions:

Make sure your children have fun. If you get this right you can ignore everything else. And catching fish is a great way to ensure you meet the golden rule. As I found out in '87, when children feel a fish on the line, then they are the ones that become hooked. (It’s fine for you to do the casting, but then hand over the the rod and let them watch for a take or feel the fish.)

Don't push casting too early, but it harnesses excitement and interest at any age. There is so much you can do to help children to learn to fish, from three years old onwards.

But casting is a slightly different matter. We think about seven upwards is ideal to actually learn to cast if you are thinking of teaching children to cast a fly. (Casting takes hand-eye coordination and fine motor-skills which children develop between 10-12.)

At the right time, play “catch the fishy” casting games. The game couldn’t be more straightforward: put a simple and obvious target in the garden or in the park (a cardboard picture of a trout that they’ve painted and cut out?), and let them take turns to try and hit it with the bright fluff at the end of the line.

And you could always join one of our parent and child introductory days; we normally run one a month. We'll have fun and we'll learn lots together.

Gavin Lockhart-Mirams