That’s the “wee man” David this evening, proudly walking down the long dock with his brand new Snowbee Classic Junior fly rod in hand. You may have read that August 6th was David’s 7th birthday and one of his birthday presents include the Snowbee rod along with a reel and matching line.
This evening, he was looking very much to trying out his new rod and doing some fly casting so off he and I drove to Humber Springs. David is normally a very patient fellow, but after we arrived he could hardly wait for me to get the rod set up. And he was even more impatient while I got my own gear all ready.
I was a little bit nervous about the Snowbee Junior after reading some mixed reviews of it. Not only did David want to try casting this rod, I wanted to see what it was like. When we got to the end of the dock, I pulled about 30 feet of line off the reel, and gave the rod a whirl. You know… that’s a sweet rod! And at only 90 grams, it’s a very comfortable rod to cast. I do regret I didn’t get David better line than what I did – even if he ends up not enjoying fly fishing (which I doubt will happen), I could have always used another 6 wt. line myself. So the line is one thing I will be wanting to upgrade soon. In spite of the cheap “Superfly” line which has a memory problem – it coils up on the water (perhaps next time out, we’ll try giving it some more stretching), the Snowbee rod performed beyond what I was expecting.
I would have preferred a smaller diameter grip for David’s hands, but he’ll grow into it. If it seems to be a problem for him, I can always turn the cork grip down a bit so his hand fits around it better.
After assuring myself that this rod is a decent performer, David and I started his “lessons.” He seemed to be able to handle 15 feet of line with a 6 foot leader, and within about 15 minutes, was easily peeling it off the water going into a back cast, and then laying the line out in front of him.
When I was comfortable that he was going to be able to practice his back and forward stroke, and it seemed that he could keep the end of the leader away from his face, I put on a small fly, just in case he might also hook into a fish. At this point, I don’t want to tie on anything too bulky or large that would make it too difficult for him to pull out of the water, so I put on a #12 fly with some white marabou that didn’t have a lot of displacement to it.
Then it was my turn to see if I could get a fish. But most of my evening was focusing on David and making sure he was having fun. There were some tangles that needed untangling, and at one point, he did get the fly stuck in his sweater on a cast attempt, but we managed to laugh at it all, and I made sure I was at his beck and call. I’d rather invest some time in him now, and hope he will always enjoy fly fishing and become an avid angler who will want to go with me, than have him turned off forever by one bad experience where it’s “not fun.”
So needless to say, I didn’t focus much on catching fish myself this evening. I did have some casts with the fly I’ve mentioned previously that was doing so well (Aaron and I have agreed to call it a “Viva Zonker”) but no hits this evening. As the evening went on, the temperature plummeted from 20C to about 12C, and David’s wee hands were getting cold. He decided that he’d had enough fishing for now “but Dad, can we come back tomorrow maybe?” At that point, I thought I’d give it another 15 minutes to see if I could get a fish on the end of the line and switched to the Orange Krystal wooly bugger. I had one good hard hit, and that was that.
Darkness – and mosquitoes – finally came upon us and we got all our gear together and walked up to the car. There, we met with Aaron Varga and Ernie Kalwa who had been out in the boat on the other lake. Aaron had blanked, but Ernie apparently netted three rainbow trout on black leech patterns. And David was quite proud to show off his new rod!
Here’s to tomorrow and more fishing trips with the “wee man.” And I’m looking forward to when he hooks his first fish with that Snowbee Classic Junior!
Look at that grin! Does he look happy or what?!?