JT Archer is our Chief Operations Officer, and he provides insight for our business development, strategic planning, partnerships, and rod-building. He is also April’s hubby and dad to their 3 daughters. Please read his inspiring piece, “On the Waters with Daughters.”
On the Waters with Daughters
By JT Archer
If you’re reading this, you already know that any, and every day on the water really is special.
When my daughters picked up a fly rod for the fist time, the beauty of fly fishing grew
As a dad, watching your daughter take her time, get the line to loop, and lay down the fly in fish
hungry waters, is amazing. For as long as I live, I won’t forget the moment that my oldest daughter
cast her fly to a willing trout that ultimately ended up in her net, when my middle daughter landed
a rainbow trout last summer that was bigger than most of us will ever see, when my youngest
reeled in her first fish, with a grin that magically extended beyond her ears.
I am not the greatest fly-fishing expert or teacher. In fact, I’m not even close. I do wish my experiences and fondest memories to any mom or dad. Maybe, the following tips can help a little in your journey with your daughter(s).
Patience. It’s likely obvious, but you’re going to need a little extra patience the first handful of
times you get out on the water with your child. I recommend not even bringing your own gear and focusing on their efforts (you can always “borrow” theirs and tell them to work on sharing!). The more you invest early, the more your child will love being on the water. The more they’re on the water, well… You get it.
Just add water. It’s actually really fun to take a couple targets to the park with a fly rod to figure out how to cast. Take a couple silly stuffed animals, a hula-hoop, or whatever you choose and work on casting in the park without hooks (or concern!). Make it a game, laugh a bunch, and don’t overthink it. At the end of the day, you’re outside playing. That’s worth a lot.
Clip it. It’s a guarantee that tangles are coming. I’ve seen grown adults create some of the most spectacular knots learning to fly fish. Kids are no different. Don’t try to detangle, clip it fast, and don’t make it an issue at all. Consider making your re-tie a teaching moment for your daughter to learn about knots. By the way, there’s a really good chance your daughter will be fishing again much faster with a re-tie.
It’s fishing not catching. We all know that some days the fish just aren’t interested in coming out to play, and that’s okay. There is much to be said for the power of finding the perfect skipping rock, finding wildflowers in a field, looking for wildlife, and generally running around acting as if you too are eight years old. It’s great for your kid. Guess what, it’s great for you too. You don’t have to fish for eight straight hours in an effort to catch a single fish. Your child will remember having a blast in a beautiful setting with their parent who loves her.
Cherish it. Every year when I get to fish with my girls, I have an unexpected revelation. They’re getting bigger. It’s happening faster than I want. They don’t need me to do as much, or to help as often. The way time flies; they’ll be fishing on their own well before I’ll be ready. Do your best to cherish that first rise to your daughter’s dry fly, the ear-to-ear grins, the time spent outdoors together, and the beauty you’ll share. They’ll be fishing circles around you in no time flat, so enjoy it all.
Best wishes and tight lines,