I'm just wondering what others do for a first fly rod for their children? Loan an old rod or get them their own? The target will be panfish so I'm thinking a 5 wt would do. Any suggestions for length, action, etc would be appreciated.
If the munchkin has shown a real interest in fishing, let them pick out the first rod (that's appropriate for the fish your going after) and reel. You don't have to stand them in front of the Sage display.
Did this with one of my kids (Big PS here: I went to the shop and clued in the owner what was going on so he was totally in tune) and it was one of the grandest experiences of my life. Shop guy was just great; he knew he could sell anything he wanted, but didn't even get close to that.
Dad stepped back, let the lad do his thing and he still has that rod and uses it. Memories are priceless.
I'd suggest something light like a 5 wgt. Look around for an old fiberglass rod. They have much slower actions. Will also teach them the importance of timing. Later on if they master this task the distance will increase measurably.
I think some of the questions that need to be asked first is how old is the child, male or female. At to young of an age, it is difficult for them to handle to much weight, or to long of a rod. I have a daughter that uses a 4 weight 7'6" rod and she loves that one, but when I hand her my 5 weight 9' rod, it just wears her down to fast and she complains. If you are just going after the sun fish to start, and you want them to really enjoy the fishing. I would start them out on something they can handle. Deffinitely go to a good Fly shop and ask to have them try a few of the rods. See which ones they can handle. Then make the decision! But having something that fits, will certainly keep them wanting more!
John, too bad I live so far away, I have a fibreglass rod that I setup to teach my grandchildren to cast. It is a Garcia about a 5 or 6 weight, but it is only about 6 foot 9 inches long. I had at the time added guides to it, a total of 12 guides. It just about casts itself, and is great for kids to learn with, I would be willing to part with it for a couple of years for anyone who is interested, and can figure how to get it. If I get to the casting clave in March I will bring it. Can almost cast as far with it as a conventional 8 footer.
Art, thank you, thats a very generous offer. I don't feel comfortable taking you up on it though. My grandfather started me fishing and, though he has been gone for over thirty years now, I think of him everytime I see any of his fishing tackle. I don't want to risk depriving your grandchildren of happy memories of days spent with grampa if my son breaks it.
I've got three boys that started flycasting between ages 6 and 8. They each had a tough time casting single-handed with the 9' 5wt. rods but they did great speycasting. No fancy rods - they just grabbed at the top of the grip and the butt and could cast all day.
If you guys do end up shopping for a rod, I recently saw a new one by St. Croix that might be appropriate depending on his age:
For now I am going to loan my son a 7' 4 weight. It has a grip with a section that has a small diameter and will have a slow action if I overline it.
Bob, that St Croix looks good when I know that my son will use it. I've always had good luck with their products. The spey casting description is similiar to how he cast when I tried to teach him how to cast at 4. He prefered to chase after the bit of yarn at the end of the line so it wasn't a long lesson.
Art, I would like to see your "teaching" rod someday.