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Getting your kids into fly fishing, with Joshua Simmons

Description: This week, my guest is Joshua Simmons [44:00], who with his brother Caleb hosts the podcast "Dads on the Fly". (It's not just for dads, it's for moms and families as well, but they just both happen to be dads and brothers who wanted to give back to the world of fly fishing.) In their podcast they explore the ways families can get together through fly fishing, and have talked to many people across the country about this subject, so Joshua has a lot to share from his conversations and research. If you have always wanted to bring your family together in fly fishing, you'll pick up some great suggestions.
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Podcast Transcript:

Tom: Hi, and welcome to "The Orvis Fly Fishing Podcast." This is your host, Tom Rosenbauer. And this week, we're gonna talk about getting your kids into fly fishing. I get this question frequently. And there are some tricks...I won't say tricks because we don't want to trick kids into doing anything, but there are some ways to help get your kids interested in fly fishing that are maybe a little more subtle than the ways you've tried in the past.
So, I've got a couple of experts as my guest, actually one expert, but the two experts are Joshua and Caleb Simmons. And these guys have a podcast called "Dads On The Fly," and this would also be appropriate for moms on the fly. But since these two guys are dads, they've had a lot of guests on their podcast about fishing with kids.
So, they've got a lot of intelligence over the years. And it's a great podcast. I've had the honor of being on their podcast. But we're going to talk to Joshua this week about ways to get your kids interested in fly fishing. So, I hope you enjoy it and hope you learn something.
But before we do that, let's do the Fly Box. And the Fly Box is where you ask me questions, and I try to answer your questions as best I can. You can send me a question for the podcast at I read them all. I don't answer all of them. Some of them, I can't. Some of them I've just answered a couple of weeks before.
And, you know, sometimes you pass along tips. If I think they're helpful, I'll pass them on. But sometimes your tips are something that I've discussed recently, or maybe I think they're more common knowledge. So I don't publish all the tips that I get from people. But if they're good ones that I think are helpful, then I read them on the air.
So, anyway, let's start the Fly Box with an email from Greg from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, "I have a couple fly-tying questions. To preface, I learned to fly fish and tie flies when I was in fifth grade and kept at it enthusiastically until my second year of college, when life got and stayed in the way.
I'm now retired, and after almost 50 years of not casting a line or tying a fly, I'm trying to get back into the game. I cannot begin to tell you how helpful your books, videos, and podcasts have been. I even went out and bought one of each pattern on 'Bill & Tom's Excellent Fly Lists,'" that was a podcast we did a while ago, "to study and try to duplicate. Progress has been slow but steady, and two questions recently arose.
One. We replaced our coffee grinder, so I cleaned up the old one and attempted to use it for blending materials. Put a couple of different dubbing materials in, hit the button a couple times, open the lid, and out came a rope. This thing was so tight, I could use it to climb mountains if I had enough of it. I tried using different materials, longer and shorter pulses, and still got pretty much the same result. Do you use this method for blending materials? Is there something I'm missing? Not sure what I'm doing wrong, but what comes out of my grinder looks nothing like what comes out of Flagler's.
Question two. My niece recently moved to Troy, Montana and consequently took up fly fishing. This is Tim Linehan's neighborhood, and in an article he posted on the Orvis website, he mentioned Hackle Stacker March Browns as an important spring pattern. I am attempting to tie some for my niece and the technique is frustrating but not impossible.
My problem is the hackle that I'm using seems to have pretty stiff, thick stems. When I wrap it around the Mono Loop, it quickly fills with stem while providing only a sparse hackle. The capes come from a company whose name starts with..." And I won't even give you the initial. "...and who was the best provider of hackle 50 years ago. The cost was about $50 to $60 per cape. And I'm wondering if I'd get a fuller, more flexible hackle if I invested in the $100-plus capes I see online. Your opinion would be valuable."
So Greg, regarding your first question, I have a feeling that you're trying to blend some of the longer-fibered synthetics in that coffee grinder, and that doesn't work very well at all, and it will create a rope. You know, coffee grinders are better for natural materials. Personally, I use it mainly for mixing things like hare's ear and squirrel dubbing, where you got a lot of guard hairs and you want to mix them in. That's where I find it most useful.
Most other dubbings, I just mix by hand by just pulling the fibers back and forth and moving them around in my fingers. I think it's called carding the dubbing. But I think that there's a couple of things you can do. One is, if those fibers that you're using are synthetic and they have long fibers, try cutting them into smaller pieces before you put them in the grinder. And then, second, if you're using synthetic fibers, you might want to both cut those a little bit shorter, just chop them up with a pair of scissors, and then add a natural dubbing for a binder, something like rabbit fur or muskrat fur or hare's ear or something.
I think that'll solve your problem. Most of those old-type coffee grinders, those kinds that spin around with a blade, will work fairly well for dubbing, but it's got to be shorter fiber dubbing.
Regarding your second question, yeah, that is a problem. Certain hackles, certain capes have thicker stems, and they don't have a lot of fiber density. And it's really, really tough to buy hackle if you're fussy about it. It's really tough to buy dry fly hackle online. I never buy any dry fly hackle online. I wait and I go to shows or I wait and go to a fly shop or an Orvis store to actually look at the hackle.
And what you want to look for in a hackle is a relatively thin stem. You just take it out of the package and kind of flex it and see if it bends nice and easily, and then look for hackles that don't cup too much in one direction, but look for that really high fiber density on the stem.
That being said, the answer to your question, which can easily be done online, is to use saddle hackles. There are things called like Whiting 100 packs, where there's enough hackles, long, skinny saddle hackles, to tie 100 flies. And they come in various sizes. So you can get them size 12, size 14, which is probably what you want to use for those March Brown. We can get them down to, I think, an 18 or a 20. And you just buy the correct color and size you want. And I think those saddle hackles are going to solve your problem without having to worry about buying $100 neck. I think you can do quite well with those 100 packs of saddle hackles.
Gene: Hi, Tom. This is Gene from Northern California. First off, I'm an enthusiastic member of The Golden Gate Angling & Casting Club in San Francisco, and I encourage all your listeners to visit the casting ponds and historic clubhouse in Golden Gate Park. I've picked up many simple tips from fellow members and would like to share one. It's to slip a rubber O-ring between the two locking rings on your rod's reel seat. It adds grip and makes it easier to unlock the rings. I thank GGACC member Glen for this idea.
Second, and this is my idea, to avoid frustration of trying to find the end of your tippet on a spool of reel, just fold a small strip of masking tape over the end of the tippet when you put the reel away. No more spinning the reel to find the end of the leader. I hope these are useful.
And now, a question for you. Because I'm in my early 70s and still fit, I'm trying to squeeze in as many bucket list trips as my retirement account will allow. So, if you had one final trip to make, where would it be? And I'll ask you to limit it to waters with steelhead or salmon or saltwater flats. I anxiously await your recommendation. And in case you're interested, my favorite after 40 years of trips, has been steelhead on the Dean River in BC. Thanks again for your podcast.
Tom: Well, Gene, thank you for the information on the Golden Gate casting club. Those are great tips. And I'm actually, at this point, planning on visiting the Golden Gate casting club in April, sometime. I don't know if we have an exact date, but it's a Saturday in April. And if you watch their website, there'll probably be an announcement of that. And I'm looking forward to it. I visited the club many, many years ago, and I'm looking forward to getting back and seeing it again.
So, if I had one final trip to make, where would I go? I think, you know, one final trip, I really love bonefishing. And I think that I would like to go to either the Bahamas or Cuba again. I mean, they're places...I've been there before, but if I had one final trip in me, you know, and still in good shape, I think I'd like to go wade fishing in the Bahamas or Cuba for bonefish. So, I may change my mind about that tomorrow. But today, as I'm thinking of it, that's where I'd like to make one final trip.
All right, another email. This one's from Zachary from Flathead County, Montana, "A few weeks ago, I took a trip to fish the Salmon River, the one in Idaho, for steelhead. I was able to get two hook, but both were subtle takes with a lousy hook set. I hardly noticed either had taken my fly, one on a streamer and the other salmon. I guess it could have taken my rubber legs too before they quickly spit the hook and escape, maybe spending 10 to 15 seconds each on the other end of my line. I thought that I was dredging the bottom with my flies and assumed I just clipped another rock.
I'm lucky enough to live in Northwest Montana and generally fish the Middle and South Forks of the Flathead River. Most of the trout are wild and either take aggressively or don't take, so I'm not accustomed to such gentle takes.
My questions are, when a fish has a subtle take, what are some techniques to set the hook after one discovers it's not just another rock or twig? Additionally, is there any advice you can give to someone getting started for steelhead? I work my way downstream on a pool, swinging once or twice with different streamers, then again, with a couple of nymph setups before moving to different water. I use an Orvis Clearwater, 10-foot, 8-weight, so I think my equipment is adequate. I know they're sort of elusive fish, especially during winter, but I feel like I could be doing something different or better."
Well, I've got a couple pieces of advice for you, Zachary, that I've learned over the years and that people have taught me. The problem with going back and forth between a streamer or swinging a fly and fishing in nymph is that the method of getting that hook firmly in the jaw of a steelhead is they're two different methods, and it's sometimes difficult to adjust.
So, when you are swinging a fly, you don't want to set the hook. As soon as you feel something, if you raise the rod tip, chances are you're going to pull the hook out of that fish's mouth. You really need to wait. You keep your drag light on your reel and let the fish pull a little bit before then tightening up on the line. You don't want to set the hook when you're swinging a fly. And, you know, sometimes you'll be stuck on a rock or a log or something, but that's the way it goes. But you don't want to set the hook.
On the other hand, if you're dead drifting something, like a nymph or an egg pattern, you need to set the hook right away. When that line moves or the indicator moves, the fish has the fly in its mouth. And you do not want to wait. You want to set the hook right away. And in this case, you do want to set with an overhead raise, what we call a trout strike, as quickly and firmly as you can. You don't want to set the hook hard enough to break the tippet, but you do want to be quick. So quick and firm is the way to do it.
So, there's really two different ways of setting the hook. And, you know, don't worry about losing the occasional steelhead. Steelheads are tough to hook and sometimes they get off, and that's what happens. And if you only hook two and you don't land two, well, that's pretty typical in steelhead fishing. You know, maybe, I don't know, two fish landed out of six hooked is a pretty good average, according to most steelhead anglers. So I wouldn't worry about just losing two.
And as far as that nymph fishing, you want to set the hook whenever that indicator or your line, whatever you're using to detect the strike, whenever it hesitates, don't worry about whether it's a rock or a log or not, set the hook because you never know. And it's very, very difficult to tell the difference between a rock and a fish, so don't be shy about setting the hook.
Here's another email from Eric, "I've been fly fishing for about 55 years, but admittedly a beginner at the vice. I was tying up some size 24 flying ants and was really struggling with a whip finish. I also struggled to get a small enough amount of UV cement on the head. Do you have any tips for finishing off real small dry flies?"
I do, Eric, and it's not UV cement. You know, people want to use UV cement on everything. And it's really not a panacea. It's way too thick for putting on a little, tiny fly. So I wouldn't even attempt to use UV cement. The tricks that I use when I tie those small flies is to use as thin of a thread as possible because that's going to give you a little bit more room. And don't forget, don't crowd the eye of the fly. Leave yourself a little room. Even though it looks like you're ending up to too far away from the eye, leave yourself some room and use at least 12/0 thread or finer for those little flies.
And, you know, a three or four-turn whip finish is usually plenty on those small flies. In fact, a lot of people, on those little tiny flies, don't even bother putting head cement on, they just whip finish. But if you are going to use some head cement, what I would recommend is something that's not viscous at all. That's really thin. And the stuff that I use is the Orvis water-based head cement on little, tiny flies, very thin, and you can get just a little drop of it on the end of a dubbing needle and just hit your head with that. So don't try to put UV glue on a little, tiny fly like that. It's just not going to work for you very well.
Here's an email from Chris from northern New Mexico, "Thanks as always for everything you do. I appreciate the recent episode on mayflies with Robert O'Harrow. We anglers need to broaden our conservation focus beyond fish and to entire ecosystems.
Something for your listeners to consider. By my count, only 11 state wildlife agencies in the country have the authority to manage and protect all invertebrate species. This is a symptom of how and why wildlife agencies were initially set up, primarily to focus on game species.
The implication is that resources for monitoring and protecting invertebrate populations are often absent. And many of these critical insects live effectively outside the law, with wildlife agencies unable to even propagate rules for their protection and management. There is a small, slowly growing movement to modernize wildlife agencies and empower them to monitor and protect all species. Anglers have an outsized role to play in the effort to protect the entirety of the aquatic and riparian ecosystems on which we rely."
Well, thank you very much, Chris. That's a really thoughtful note. And the other thing that I might add is that a lot of the fish and game laws, a lot of the fish and game agencies, the rules that they follow are made by the legislature and not a fish and game commissioner in many states. So, you can have a voice in that because your elected state legislators are the people that are making the rules for that kind of thing. So, if your state doesn't have environmental laws to protect all species, then that's the first place to start is with your elected officials.
John: Hi, Tom. This is John in California. Thanks for all you and Orvis do to help us take care of our waterways and become better fishers. I have a tip and product suggestion that's in response to several recent questions you've received.
There's a super easy way to overcome frozen finger attempts to tie flies and tippet in the bitter winter cold, plus it will boost your fair-weather productivity of fishhook per day by around 25%. How? Pre-tie your rigs in the comfort of your house. Store them in the Orvis dropper rig fly box. It's 29.95 on the Orvis site. It has five removable inserts, each of which can hold multiple rigs, foam inserts for the barb, notches on the side secure the tippet, dries or nymphs or streamers.
I typically change rigs six times per day. I rig two flies per rig, I put on two rigs per insert. So 4 flies per insert times 5 insert equals 20 different flies or 10 rigs of the same patterns for those breakoffs. That is 20 flies per Orvis box. That's a lot of flies to try in one day. Also, that saves me 10 minutes per rig. I typically change rig six times a day, so using the rig saves me an hour of fishing per day.
In a six-hour day in the stream, I expect my line to be drifting four hours. So using a rig box produces for me each day one more hour, that's 25% more fishing time. Wow. One more hour means if you expect to hook 12 fish in 4 hours, you hook an additional 3 to 5 more fish, that's been my experience. That greatly boosts your chances of hooking the big one. Who doesn't want to do that?
Tie the first fly on with two to three feet of tippet that you will attach one at the stream to a tippet ring or swivel or to two or three feet of tippet extended below the ring or swivel. Use a blood knot. For even faster rigging changes, I create a loop-to-loop system. It's especially helpful during the frustrations of a wild blizzard hatch when you're madly attempting to get a fish to bite something.
Create a large enough perfection loop to enable you to pull the flies through it on the upper section of tippet where you have your first fly attached, then put a perfection loop on the tippet coming down from the ring or swivel. Now to change, you just do a fast loop-to-loop connection, pulling your flies through the loop to which you're connected.
Like I said, it's super comforting in the winter, and your fingers are too cold to tie and it's great for significantly boosting your summer hooking productivity. Plus, it's great for us old geezers with weak eyes who now have to use threaders to get tiny tippet through tiny hook eyes. Calmly at home, create the rigs for the day, get an extra hour asleep in the comforts of your bed. I fished this system for seven years and find the box super value and handy. It fits in my vest pocket. Take care. Thanks again for all you and Orvis do.
Tom: Well, thank you, John. That's a great tip. Personally, I don't pre-tie any rigs because I don't mind tying knots. But I can understand how that would be very, very helpful for people, particularly if it's cold and, you know, your hands just aren't working the way that you would like them to, or maybe you're fishing just towards dark and it's hard to tie a knot. So that's a great idea of using that dropper rig fly box. So, thank you very much for the tip and the product plug.
Here's an email from Brian, "Thank you for all that you have done to promote fly fishing. I enjoy listening to your podcast on my way to and from work in Southern Maine. I am an avid fly fisherman, and I enjoy striper fishing in Casco Bay, bass fishing in local lakes and rivers, and trout and salmon fishing in the lakes and streams of Northern Maine.
I recently took a weeklong vacation to the Caribbean and enjoyed two half days of guided bonefishing while I was there. This is my first time fly fishing for bonefish, and I managed to catch several bonefish, including my first ever on the fly. What an adventure, and what a fun fish to fish for and catch.
It was also a humbling experience, as my fly casting and line management in the 15 to 20 mile an hour winds was horrible. More times than not, I would end up with my cast 10 feet off target, the fly stuck in my hat or the line onto the boat. Poor casting techniques and/or line management cost me many opportunities to hook up. I will go back again next year and hope to be better prepared for the conditions.
My questions to you are as follows. Can you recommend how to practice casting and line management before my next trip? My only thought is to watch the Orvis videos on fly casting in the wind and improve my technique, double haul in making tight loops. I also plan to go outside this summer and practice casting a few times when I think the wind is too strong to be fly fishing.
Number two. The conditions under foot while wading the flats range from being good, not sinking into the sand at all, to being pretty difficult, sinking to my knees. When walking the flats, my water shoes kept coming off, so I waited barefoot for the majority of the trip. One of my guides recommended buying good footwear so shells won't cut my feet and crabs don't bite them. What footwear do you prefer or would you recommend for wading the flats?
Number three. It seems like I was getting closer to the fish when walking the flats compared to being in the boat. Are bonefish typically caught at a closer distance when wading because you are lower to the water and they can't see you as quickly? Once again, thank you for promoting fly fishing."
Well, Brian, you've asked questions about one of my favorite things to do, as I stated earlier. Yes, you know, regarding your casting practice, first of all, before you even attempt to double haul, practice your standard overhead cast. Practice it at all distances, from 15 feet to, I would say, about 50 feet. You know, beyond 50 feet, it's tougher for most people other than Pete Kutzer to present the fly. So, and practice going from going from like a 20-foot cast to a 50-foot cast with a single false cast, and do that with the wind. Do it with a leader that you're going to use for bonefishing, probably like a 9-foot, 12-pound. And, you know, take a bonefish fly and cut the point off it so that you can practice with the size fly you're going to be fishing.
And just practice it over and over again and watch your technique. You know, make sure that your overhead cast and that your casting arc is proper, that you're coming to an abrupt stop, and all those things that Pete tells you to do in the video. And only then, when you're really happy with your overhead cast, should you work on your double haul. Because the double haul can only make a bad cast worse if your casting arc isn't proper.
And, you know, when you double haul, you don't change your casting style at all other than using that other hand. You should maybe raise your arm a little bit, but you're really not changing those basics of the fly casting stroke. On the Orvis Learning Center, Pete has a really good video on fine-tuning the double haul.
Regarding shoes, yes, you know, just any old shoes aren't going to work well. And wading barefoot, you know, is fun and is nice if you've got just a hard sand bottom. But a lot of places in the Caribbean have really hard limestone and coral, and that can really tear your feet up. So, you need a good pair of shoes.
And luckily for you, the PRO Approach Hiker, the saltwater version, has just been introduced. And this is a terrific boot for wearing on a boat and for just hopping out of the boat and wading. And they won't come off your feet, they'll stay on, they'll give you good support, and they'll protect your feet. So, I highly recommend those new PRO Approach Hikers for your next trip.
And then regarding fishing from a boat versus wading, yeah, you know, actually, I've kept track of this when bonefishing, and I always do better when I'm wading. There's a couple reasons. One is, as you correctly assume, you can get closer to the fish because, in a boat, you're making some waves. You know, unless the guide is really good and the bottom is just right, the poles are going to make some sounds. And, you know, a boat is a bigger object than just your two skinny little legs in the water, and it's got to push more waves, and you're higher up, and you've probably got three people in the boat, you and your fishing partner and the guide, who's standing up on the poling platform. So, yeah, you can get a lot closer to a fish when you're wading.
The other thing is I find that often, when you're fishing from a boat, the boat has not totally stopped yet. It's moving a little bit. It's tougher to see. It's tougher to gauge your distance. And I just find that I can see fish better, believe it or not, when I'm wading than I can when I'm in a boat because I can just stop. When I'm wading, I can stop. And if something moves, I know it's moving. It's not an optical illusion from the boat moving or the tide moving or something.
So, yeah, and I prefer, when I'm bonefishing from a boat, I always try to get out of the boat as quickly as I can and wade fish because I find it better. I find it more effective for me anyway. Even though I'm not very tall, I think I can still see bonefish better when I'm wading. So, yeah, you're exactly right, though. You can get a lot closer to fish when you're wading, as long as you're careful.
Here's another email. Oh, I forgot. I forgot to put the name down. Sorry. Or maybe the person didn't give me the name. Anyway, "Thanks for all you do. I love the podcast and look for it every Friday morning on my way to work.
Short story before my question. I was on my way back from fishing last weekend and my wife called me. She told me one of the dogs had got into my fly-tying room and got into a bunch of feathers. I was stressed the entire drive back. When I got home, she told me the dogs ate most of the evidence. But what she could salvage was on my tying table.
I looked all over for feathers and couldn't find them. Finally, she said, in the back toward the thread rack. Once I looked up, I found a positive pregnancy test and a sign that read, 'New Fishing Buddy Coming Fall of 2023.' It was the best news I've ever gotten. And what a great relief knowing my feathers were safe, too.
This leads me to my question. What safety tips do you have for someone with small children? Any additional cleanup processes you've seen to ensure nothing fell off the table and got lost? I do a pretty good job already since we have dogs, but I can't say I haven't found one where I drop a bead on the ground and go to look for it. I want to continue my love of tying while ensuring it will never be a safety issue."
Well, I think that, you know, I mean, there aren't many things that are either dangerous to a dog or a child from fly tying. Yeah, they're going to put things in their mouths, so you want to make sure feathers and pieces of hair and stuff aren't on the floor. But, you know, hooks and beads are probably the most common thing that you can't see, that get on the floor, and you can't see. So, you know, a magnet, having a magnet around, and I actually have a big magnet that I sometimes just put between my legs on the floor. And, you know, if a hook falls, chances are it's going to stick to that magnet.
They also sell these... I saw one at a fly fishing show once, but I think they're sold in hardware stores or something, it's a magnet on a long, retractable little stick like an extendable stick or pole. And you can just, you know, poke that around under your fly-tying area, and it'll pick up any hooks. And also, it'll pick up beads. And I don't know why it'll pick up some tungsten beads as well. And I didn't think tungsten beads had any iron in them. But they must be not 100% tungsten because it'll pick up beads as well.
So I would recommend, you know, at least for hooks and beads, just having a magnet around and some way to roll that magnet around on the floor to pick stuff up. I remember my daughter when she was very young, probably less than a year old, she was crying and crying and crying and crying, and I couldn't figure out what was wrong with her. And I looked her all over, and finally I found a size 18 dry fly hook stuck in her toe. So that was not a good idea. So since then, I've been very careful about picking up hooks.
Here's an email from Scott, "I'm hoping you can help make some sense of trophic levels for me. I read Phil Rowley's 'The Orvis Guide to Stillwater Trout Fishing,' and he goes into detail about the different trophic levels and their productivity. I was surprised that he states eutrophic lakes are best for good trout fishing.
In my experience, in New Hampshire at least, we have many oligotrophic lakes that I have had success in and have caught large fish. However, the eutrophic lakes are almost always warm, weedy bass lakes. They often have the lowest oxygen levels, too. So I naturally figured deeper, colder, better oxygenated lakes would be the best for trout. Oligotrophic lakes fit this description best.
I understand food is less prevalent in oligotrophic lakes, but I have found almost the opposite of Phil in my fishing endeavors. Is this mostly a product of where I live, varying pH levels? Or is it something else?"
Well, Scott, yeah, it's really a function of where you live. You know, the eutrophic lakes that Phil fishes are often higher in altitude and higher in latitude. It's all about water temperature and enough oxygen for trout. And the eutrophic lakes that he fishes are a lot colder than our eutrophic lakes in the Eastern United States. So, you know, if we had high mountain eutrophic lakes in the Eastern United States, they would be awesome trout water. The problem is that the geology and, you know, the water sources that we have in the northeast are high mountain lakes or higher altitude lakes are almost invariably low fertility or oligotrophic.
So yeah, it's just a matter of where he lives. He's in an area where the water stays cold. And thus, the fish have the best of both worlds. They have lots of food, and they have plenty of oxygen.
Here's an email from Linda in Colorado, "I was honored to meet you in Colorado recently when you gave a talk at the Orvis store and autographed a book for my son. He loved that Christmas gift.
I am headed to Cuba for a week fly fishing and have my gear ready. While reading an Orvis article on bonefishing, the author said it might be better to retrieve with a dominant hand because it is faster. I am right-handed and cast right-handed. My reels are set up to retrieve with my left hand. Should I change them? It seems odd to cast and then retrieve with the same hand."
Well, Linda, there is no right or wrong way there. And anyone who tries to get you to change the way you reel is making a mistake. You should reel with whatever hand is most comfortable for you. And I am right-handed, and I reel right-handed. It's the way I started out many, many years ago. I'm very dominantly right-handed, and I do have trouble reeling with my left hand, but it's probably because I just have never done it. But I'm more comfortable reeling with my right hand. And, yeah, I have to switch hands, but it's no big deal.
But, you know, if you're a little more on the ambidextrous side, then you should be fine reeling left handed. But just put the rod in your hand and see which is more comfortable for you. If you're comfortable switching over, then switch over to right hand. But you probably want to stick with left hand. I don't think it's going to present any problems for you at all.
Here's an email from Matt from the Pacific Northwest, "Thank you for the podcast and everything you do for the fly fishing community. You shared a story in last week's episode of going for an unplanned swim in your waders. I had a similar experience few months ago, thanks to miscommunication with my fishing partner and some fast, deep water. Fortunately, I had seen the Orvis Learning Center videos about wading safety and knew what to do - get my feet in front of me and don't fight the current. It was a bit scary, but other than getting wet and a ruined phone, I was fine.
My question is, why is it not more common for fly anglers to wear a PFD when wading, even an automatically inflating one, which is pretty low profile? When wading bigger rivers, it just seems like a good safety precaution, especially when fishing alone. Is this common or have I just not seen it?"
Well, Matt, I think more people probably should wear PFDs, and you know there's some pretty cool PFDs these days that have nice pockets. I know I have one from Old Town Canoe that's not self-inflating, but it's a solid PFD, but it has enough pockets in it so I can put all my fishing stuff in it.
I don't wear it when I'm wading because I don't often wade really big rivers and I know how to swim and don't typically worry about...but I do wear it when I'm when I'm fishing out of my kayak. So, yeah, more people should wear PFDs. There's no reason not to wear one. And if you're older or if you can't swim, especially when you're fishing deeper, faster rivers, then a PFD is a good idea. And again, more people should wear PFDs when stream fishing. I have a lot of friends who wear them, and they don't seem to bother them one bit.
Jim: Hi, Tom. In your last episode, I heard you ask for phone calls. So you have spurred me to action, and here it is. I am experimenting with Euro nymphing, but before I want to go in and possibly invest in a dedicated Euro nymphing rod, I'm trying to find out with my current equipment whether or not I actually enjoy the technique.
I have a Orvis 9-foot, 5-weight Recon rod and a older, lighter 9-foot, 5-weight DragonFly rod with a very slow action. Neither of those rods really seem to cast properly. I am using a setup similar to the trout-bitten mono rig, and it just doesn't seem to cast properly or load the rod at all.
And so, I'm wondering whether there's a way to make this work with my existing equipment or whether I need to bite the bullet and go out and invest in a specialized Euro nymphing rod. Thank you so much for everything that you and Orvis do for the sport.
Tom: So, Jim there, maybe some misunderstanding about the Euro nymphing technique. You are not going to be able to really cast a Euro rig like you would cast a dry fly, no matter what you're doing, no matter what kind of ride you have. You're really lobbing or flipping those flies. And, you know, you're never going to get the rod to bend and deliver the line with some energy like you do with more mass that's on a fly line. So you're really flipping or lobbing those flies. And you can do that with your 905.
But what you would get in a Euro rod, there's a couple things that you're going to get with a Euro rod. One is you're going to get a rod with a really very, very, very soft tip. And that soft tip will load a little bit with a weight of those Euro flies and flip them out there for you. Again, it's not a standard fly cast. I'd advise you to maybe look at the... On the Orvis Learning Center, there's a whole chapter on Euro nymphing that I did with George Daniel, and it shows his techniques for casting those type of flies. But it's mainly lobbing. And your 905 isn't going to have that super soft tip.
One of the things I'd recommend is that you use a water load. In other words, let the flies hang downstream of you. Let the pull of the current put a little pressure on that rod tip, and then just flick them back upstream. But Euro rod is going to give you quite a bit more flexibility in the tip, and the ability to lob those flies a little bit easier.
There's a couple other things that specific Euro rod will give you. One is that it's typically longer, you know, around 11 feet or so, 10.5, 11 feet. This is going to allow you to not have to brace your arm really high to keep the line off the water. You can keep your arm a little bit lower and more comfortable with that longer rod and still fish a fair distance away from yourself. And then these rods are quite a bit more sensitive, so you can actually sometimes feel the strike or feel the flies bumping along the bottom.
So the Euro rods are really specialized rods. They will cast a dry fly or a dry dropper rig or a small streamer if you want them to. And you can put a standard 2 or 3-weight fly line on them. And it's kind of fun. Again, it's a very slow rod. So it's a different casting tempo. But you can do a standard fly cast. You have to switch leaders and probably put on a different fly line, but they will work that way. So they're really specialized rods, and they're developed just for Euro nymphing. But they will do a standard fly cast relatively well.
So try it with your 905 first. And if you like it, if you really liked doing it, then I'd move on to a specialized Euro rod.
All right. That's the Fly Box for this week. Let's go talk to Joshua about fly fishing with kids.
My guest today is Joshua Simmons, and Joshua and his brother Caleb have a podcast called "Dads On The Fly." And they asked me to be on it a while ago. And I was down in Virginia at the Virginia Wine and Fly Fishing Festival and got to meet those guys and their families, and thought that it'd be good to do a podcast, get you on the other side of the podcast, Joshua, to talk about what you guys have learned because you've talked to a lot of people. How many podcast episodes have you guys done so far?
Joshua: Yes, sir. We are currently on episode, I think, 82 will drop next week.
Tom: Oh, my God, episode... So you have talked to 82 different people about not just dads but moms and, just in general, parents and families on the fly. So you guys have really gained some valuable information on how to get... You know, you're a fly fisher, whether you're a mom or a dad or an uncle or grandfather, whatever, you know, it's a fun thing to do as a family sometimes, not always, but sometimes under the right circumstances.
Joshua: Yes, sir. Yeah, for sure. We started the podcast not knowing, just to be honest, whether or not we were going to be able to get some distinguished guests like we have been able to. We started the podcast, just me and my brother, really talking about our own adventures with our children. And over time, names in the fly fishing industry have been gracious enough to lend their time to us to really just help us become not only better anglers, but better anglers and better fathers for our kids on the water.
Tom: So, tell us some of the things you guys have learned about, you know, families on the water and how to start out and how to initiate your family members.
Joshua: Yes, sir. We started doing was... And I think the most important thing that people need to understand is, you know, Tom, you and myself, we are passionate about fly fishing. We would fish every day if we could. I know, when we interviewed you, you said you try to fish every day.
My brother and I, we both work nine-to-five jobs, and we're pretty busy. And so, sometimes, our fly fishing adventures are on the weekends or on vacations or certain trips. And we're so passionate about it. But anytime you're dealing with kids, especially your own, we've heard from everyone, and we agree with this that, and you said this when we interviewed you, "You can't force kids into fishing." For some, fishing is not for everyone, so you can't force kids into fishing.
But what you can do is have an opportunity to be in the outdoors with your kids. It's something that I think all people, and kids especially, really enjoy. Because kids, it's something new. Being out on the stream, being...even the hike to the stream, all those are moments that they take in from a different point of view than adults do. And they get such great joy sometimes more the walk to the stream or the ride to the stream, more so than the actual fishing.
And so, we've been real intentional to not force it on our own children. And we hear that a lot from people from the industry. Guides, shop owners, different people who do this for a livelihood, they can't, they don't want to force it on their children.
Tom: Yep, yep. Certainly doesn't work with anything really with kids, right?
Joshua: No, it doesn't. It's just like anything else. If you're a professional baseball player or professional athlete or in any other line of work, you know, forcing things on your kids never works. So we try our best to make trips fun.
And, you know, we heard from an early guest on our show, Mr. Jim Klug, who you may know, he said that the best thing to do is get your kids into fishing and make them successful. So, to be honest, the one thing I did this past summer, and we started doing with our kids more, is take them panfishing in warm-water fisheries with popping bugs.
What's more fun than watching a big bluegill come up and explode on a popping bug? They're easy to catch. They eat just about anything. And kids love to fight them. And we've had a blast doing that. We found a local fishery that's just full of panfish. And my kids begged to go back there.
Tom: Yeah, I like it myself.
Joshua: Yeah, you know, I kind of, you know, as a trout bum, I guess, that's how I started fly fishing. I guess, unfortunately, my mishap shunned myself from warm water fisheries for a while because I was just trying for that time of my life and my fishing adventure is just so focused on trout and focused on trout and how to catch trout and how to better catch trout and how to, you know, catch specific trout and which trout bite these days.
You know, we just found this local fishery this summer and started taking our fly rods down there. And I can sit on the bank and feel my kid or watch my son Foster. And he can just... He loves those popping bugs, and he loves just watching his bluegill come up and they fight, and they're fun fish. And it's been a real pleasure to do that.
And, you know, I can remember something you told us, Tom, when we interviewed you that I wanted to make sure and include is, you know, a lot of people say, "Hey, casting," and you worry about casting, but just give them, you know, a Tenkara rod or an older fly rod, and get not worried about them banging on the rocks or whatever. You just let them go at it. They'll develop something for a little while and being able to get that fly out in the water.
And then, when they get older, you can worry about your double hauls and your long casts and all that stuff. When they're starting, they just want to have fun. So let them go out there and sling that thing around. Like you said, "Stand back and see what happens."
Tom: Yeah, yeah. Barbless hook, barbless hook, and sunglasses.
Joshua: Yeah, for sure. Well, there you go. Good tips there: barbless hook and sunglasses.
Tom: Yeah. So what else have you learned about, you know, early experiences with kids on the water? What other tips could you have for people that want to take their kids or their grandkids fly fishing?
Joshua: I think one thing that we've learned over in the last year of just starting this podcast and talking to all these people from around the country is to embrace the short trip. When I started fly fishing... You know, we live here in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, just right down the road, and a fly fishing trip for me, blue lining, would be sunup to sundown. I'd be in the water all day, hiking and much like you like to do in your home waters of Vermont.
Those are long days, and most 3 to 4 or 5, even 8, 10-year-old kids are not all about that. So we've embraced the short trips. Take them for a couple hours. Make sure that, you know, at the end of the trip, they know they're getting maybe get some ice cream or we're going to have a treat on the way home, and just embrace that short trip.
And, you know, we've started, when we have a day with our children, we make it their day. It's not about me catching the fish that day when I take my kids fishing. It's not about...which is hard for me at first, you know, I want to catch fish. I only get so many days to catch fish and only so many days to fish.
But in that case, embrace that trip with them. If they want to show up to the river and they want to fish for 30 minutes and all of a sudden they get tired, we leave the river that day. If they want to fish for two hours, we fish. If they want me to set the hook and then hand in the rod, that's what we do that day. We try to make those trips really about them and just embracing that short trip.
We're very fortunate where we live. We can be on a good trout water. And as I was saying, good warm water and 10- to 15-minute drives and those make for great days. We're all busy as dads. I think everybody understands that. And so just using that intentional time to make a time to fish with your kid, being outside with your sons and daughters is something that they remember. And they learn something, maybe not always about fishing, but from you every time you're out there.
Tom: Yeah. Okay. What else? What else have you learned?
Joshua: So, we've learned that, just as we said earlier, kids go in seasons, right? So your child may love fishing one day, and then they may get into, let's say, sports. And now, they just want you to be their supporter for sports for a while.
And what we heard a recent guest say, which was so cool, was that get them started early in fishing some way. Get them outside. Get them learning about bugs, or flipping over rocks or throwing rocks, and just being out in nature. And when they grow up, they may take a different path for a while. They may be involved in sports, or they may be involved in a band, or they may be involved in any other outlet. They may be writing or whatever form they think to be involved in during those middle school years. But they'll come back. It can be a special thing that you have with them.
We spoke to an author recently, Dylan, that you have also had on your show, he said, you know, his kids are older now, but they still make time every now and then to come back and fish with their father and how important that is. And just to instill it young, just being together.
And it doesn't always have to be about the fishing. Maybe they get to just enjoy looking at the wildlife that you get to see out there on the stream. Maybe they just enjoy hiking and want to watch you fish and being out there. But when you do get them hooked, for no better word, then it's really fun just to see them take on that ownership of, "Hey, I want to cast this fly rod today, Dad. I want to see if I can present that dry fly to that trout and get them to eat." And that's pretty fun to watch.
Tom: Yeah, yeah. That's a great point. That's a great point because they go through stages.
Joshua: We had a great story this summer. We're on vacation, all of us. My kids are 11 and 8. My brother's kids are 6 and 3. And we're all at this kind of park up in a very high altitude park, up in western North Carolina, where we live. And there's a stream that runs through the park. And we've been told by some locals that it holds wild trout.
So we're kind of just sitting around, three of the kids are on the playground. My 11-year-old is...of course, we had a fly out with us and he said, "Let me see if I can cast here in this pool." And we said, "Go for it, not thinking that there would be, you know, any trout there at that moment with people splashing around and all the noise and everything else."
And he presented a little dry fly. And first, a wild rainbow right there in the park with everybody around. And he's laughing and giggling. And we're having a big time. And I'm probably more excited than anybody. And he lands that trout.
And so, that's another thing I would tell dads that, you know, sometimes just right there. It doesn't have to be on a boat somewhere in the middle of this huge river or deep into the Great Smoky Mountain National Park and a two-mile hike. Sometimes, your kids, some of the kids' best fishing memories can be right around the corner or right there with everybody.
Tom: Yeah. Yeah, that's great. How have you learned? Or how do you guys handle...? You know, especially in trout fishing, where you want a little space in between people, right? Let's say, you've got mom and dad and two kids, and you all want to fish, and you're on a trout stream, maybe not a very big one. How do you handle that? How do you spread people out? How do you keep an eye on everybody? So, have you got any tricks for that?
Joshua: Yeah. One thing we make sure and do is, as I said before, if I'm taking both... My kids are 11 and 8. If I'm taking both my kids fishing, which is rare, I usually... I fish with them sometimes together. Usually we fish, either we and my daughter, or we and my son. But if we all three go together, I understand, first of all, that I'm not going to be doing much of the fishing. I may be doing a little casting help and maybe setting some hooks, but they're going to be fighting most of the fish.
And another great thing we learned is have a plan. Like when you're on the way to the river, start talking about, "Hey, Corbyn," that's my daughter, "would you really like to be in charge of the net for like the first three or four fish we catch today? And if Baba hooks things into the fish, would you like to be the net girl?" Like a net and that kind of gets her job.
And so she's kind of hanging out, she'll be here on one side of me, just waiting for fish to be caught. And she's coming in to do the netting, and then my son's fighting the fish. And then, if it goes really good, we might switch. And, "Hey, it's her turn to fish and her turn to catch some fish. And, Foster, now it's your turn to be the net guy."
And, you know, always talk to them, as with everything you do in the outdoors and on a trout stream, teaching your kids safety from a young age is huge. You know how water runs, and, you know, "We're not going to get in that part of the water. We're going to be very careful. Rocks are slippery here, as they are on all trout streams. And we're going to make sure to stay together." And we're kind of like a team. Make it like a team effort.
You know, we're not out here for just me to catch fish or just them to catch fish. But we're a team. So when we get in the car, "Hey, Mom," we get home, "we caught this many fish. We caught this many fish. We did it together, and we all helped each other out."
And that's something that we have found. If they had, take some ownership, and even a small, little job... "Hey, Corbyn, look under that rock. Let's see what bugs are there. Maybe we need to change our flies." They're so inquisitive. Kids are so inquisitive, you know, and they just want to learn. They're lifelong learners. They want just to soak up everything you can teach them.
And no person teaches them better, and they don't listen to anybody, especially at younger ages... I don't know what changes. I happen to teach middle school, so I know that sometimes it changes. But the younger, they just feed off the energy and the knowledge from their fathers and mothers.
So tight streams, I'll be rolling you like out of tight streams around here. I know you do a lot of tight stream fishing too. I usually just take one kid on that adventure. My kids are still a little small for me to say, "Hey, go up, 500, 1,000 yards." You know what I mean?
Tom: Yeah.
Joshua: I want to keep them kind of close beside me. I think as Foster gets older, he went with me on some more on blue streams this past summer. As he gets older, I'm going to be the place where I can say, "Hey, go around this bend. So, I'm gonna keep eyes on you." He can cast and stuff like that. I think with older kids, that's a good thing.
You know, something we do is we carry long-range walkie-talkies in the park and just keep them on low volume. We don't want to disturb other people. But me and my brother, even when we do that, if we split up, we have our kids with us or don't, out of eyesight, we just check in every now and then. So we kind of have a meeting point. I think that's a great thing for people to do.
I know I've listened to a recent podcast with you too about one of your guests talking about just making sure people kind of know where you're at when you're out there by yourself and, I think, just staying in contact. I know I want to get out on the stream and, you know, have my nature moment and be out there. But when I'm with my kid, safety is first, and I want him to be kind of be close, at least within our eyesight, so I can know that he's safe.
Tom: Yeah, that's a good idea. You know, we tend to rely so much on our cell phones these days. But some of these places we fish don't have cell service. And a lot of kids have cell phones these days, but you kind of forget about walkie-talkies. But that's a great idea for when you're in a more remote area.
Joshua: Well, kids... I don't know about when your kids were younger. My kids love walkie-talkies, right? They're big on walkie-talkies. Even when we take my brother and his oldest son and me and my oldest son, we went the other day just to a local stream, not a tight stream, just kind of a larger stream. But we got about 500 or 600 yards without an earshot of each other on the stream. You can't really talk, and the kids just kind of went back and forth. "Hey, are you getting any strikes down there?" Or, "do we need to change our fly?" That's just fun for them. You know, they kind of feel like they're in charge of the show there.
Tom: Yeah. I've got a set, and I don't use them anymore. But I think I'm gonna start taking them out more and using them because it's a great idea. So, let's see. There's got to be lots of other good tips that you've gotten. You've had so many guests.
Joshua: We've been very blessed to have the guests that we've had. One of our guests you've had on as well, Mr. David Coggins, a great author. He made this line that I'll never forget. And we catch a lot of native brook trout here in our west North Carolina waters. And he made this quote, he said, "You know, that native brook trout, when you catch it and you're admiring it, send it back on its way on a beautiful release. It's like that fish belongs here. It belongs in these mountains." I'll never forget he said that.
And it made me to start thinking as we do this. You know, I'm a firm believer that kids belong with their parents, wherever they are. Now, we can't be together all the time. But, man, what a great place to spend time with your kids than in nature. And who better to spend it with than your kids?
Even if they're not all about fishing. I remember you told me that, you know, your son is not a fisherman, but he loves like going out with you and looking for mushrooms and just stuff. You mentioned that in our episode. And I thought, "Man, what a great thing to just...he made that comment about that fish belongs in this water and kids belong with their parents." You can't overstate how important it is to have intentional time, just intentional time.
When you're out there, you mentioned cell phones. Where we fish for trout here, there's no cell phones. So, there's no distraction. Cell phones aren't going to work. So, it's not gonna do any good to bring them anyway, and just to be out there, there's no distraction. The world's kind of away, and it's you, a trout stream or a river, and your son or your daughter, and you're just together. And that feel, it's just such a sense of belonging when you're out there like that.
Tom: Yeah, there is no better bonding experience with your kids than being out in nature away from everything else. Now, how about your podcast? Your podcast is called "Dads On The Fly." How about moms and sons, or moms and daughters, or aunts or grandmothers or whatever? Any differences there in the way you'd approach it?
Joshua: That's right. I don't think... I think that I would encourage moms, grandmas. It's the amazing amount of people we have come on our show, who, yes, there are obviously a lot of stories, "My dad got me fly fishing," right? But there's equally amount of stories where, "My grandma took me." "My mom spent time with me on the water that got me into fly fishing." And these are ladies and gentlemen who have made a living right in the industry. And their parents, not just dads, got them.
And I think what it says to me is that their parents were supportive, whether a mom, whether it's grandma, they were supportive when they were 6 and looking through magazines or when they went to event in town and found out about fly fishing. They came home excited about it, and that parent or that grandparent, they were like, "Wow, yeah, this is great. I'm excited too. Let's do this. I see your excitement. I want to be excited with you. Let's go find you this fly rod. Let me go take you to the stream. Let me drive you to this event."
And a lot of times, Tom, it leads to, "Hey, maybe, I want to do this too." The parent wants to get to it too. The kid got the excitement, and then the parent kind of jumps on board. I would encourage... We've met so many people last week at the fly fishing show that you happened to be at, and you were kind enough to come by and speak with us. We've met so many moms, not just dads. We've got a big sign, right? "Dads On The Fly" at our booth. And then we would have all these moms just come up and talk to us too.
And my brother would be talking to one person. And I would end up talking to the mom and the kids were running around. What a great show that we could just meet families through that. And I would encourage moms, dads, grandmas.
I teach eighth grade, Tom, and there are a large amount of students that are being, in this day and age, you know, raised by single moms, single dads, grandparents, a lot of cases. And sometimes, they just need that encouragement that, "Look, you can do this." It's not... I think we all get into fly fishing because it's like intriguing. That's what it was for me. It was something different. It was intriguing. It intrigued me enough. And then, when I got hooked, I was hooked.
But there's many people who say, "Well, I can't do that because it's intimidating," or maybe, "I don't have the financial means," or maybe, "I don't have the skill set." But I think all that, what we've learned from this podcast is that it's really a false narrative for what we're trying to do.
Being out on a stream, being in a pond, catching panfish, it doesn't take... It's not the most easiest thing in the world, but it's fun. And, man, we have some stories that people will send us messages or send us emails. And "Man, my mom took me today" or, "Hey, I got to take my son" and these are ladies that we are speaking with it well.
And so we hope, as we continue to grow this, we're "Dads On The Fly" because me and my brother are dads. But we want to make sure that we are happy to have... We actually have this season plan to speak with some moms that are going to be on the podcast and going to be given their insight on how they're getting their kids into fishing, and how they have done even family trips revolved around kind of fishing. And that's the focus of the trip.
So we're excited for that this year coming up that we've even included more and more moms in what "Dads On The Fly" is trying to do.
Tom: Yeah. Because, I mean, it's really no different whether it's a mom or a dad, right? I think that...
Joshua: No, not at all. We took our mom on a float trip back this summer. She had a blast, and we were pumped to take her take her. We were so excited. We were like, "Mom, we got to take you." We got a boat like a year ago, like a raft. And you know, my mom has fished with us a lot when we were younger. She took us. My mom and dad were both very supportive of me and my brother in whatever we were doing, and they're very supportive of our kind of adventures in podcasting and fly fishing.
And to get her out in the water and see that joy that she had just casting. And I don't think she'd ever cast a fly rod. And she was like, "You've got to bring one in to the house, I want to start practicing in my yard. I want to get better out here. You know, I'm not doing this again until I can cast better." And she's like into it.
And so, yeah, I would encourage... Just because we're dads on the fly, I would never... That's too our target. A lot of dads listen to our show, obviously, but we also have a lot of moms that we've started to connect with, "Hey, we're trying to fish more as a family. We found some great tips in your show from some of your guests." And we hope to continue as we build it to continue to do that.
And I agree. It's not any different fishing with your mom or fishing with your dad. And as you know, usually most moms we meet are far better casters and more patient, and they learn a lot quicker than dads do.
Tom: Yeah, yeah, as a rule, dads are less patient. You know, sometimes women... Let's say you have a single mom with a son or a daughter, and she wants to take them fly fishing, but you know, women, rightly so, are a little bit more apprehensive about going out in the woods by themselves and, you know, much less with their kids. What kind of suggestions would you have for a single mom to get started in that without having those trepidations?
Joshua: That's a great question. And honestly, it's something that I've thought about more since the Virginia show last weekend. I know there was a great women's symposium there. I'm pretty sure you spoke to them, correct?
Tom: Yeah. It was fun.
Joshua: Yeah, and they did some things. They brought in a wildlife, an agent, and did some sessions on how to better protect yourself in the woods, how to feel comfortable in the woods. I would go back to for sure having some form of communication. I know when you get out maybe on the streams, but I would never encourage anybody to maybe start there.
I would start kind of like what I said, at this warm-water fishery we have. There's a lot of people or a lot of people around, you're not going to feel unsafe, right? There's going to be people all over the place. You're going to see other kids playing in parks and other fishermen and anglers around, so that's gonna feel from that safe part of it.
But, you know, I am a big fan of local fly shops. And I think, sometimes, I'm hoping and I'm seeing this, more people we talked to, that our local fly shops are not talking down to people. They're accepting people from all walks. Does that make sense?
Tom: Yeah, it's....
Joshua: And if those local fly shops are really good when someone walks in, a single mom, like you said with a child, if they embrace that person to make that single mom feel welcomed, a lot of times, that is the first contact that somebody ever has with the fly fishing community or industry when they walk into a fly shop. And so, to make that first conversation unique, to make it authentic is important.
And then I would encourage... I know, a lot of people love fishing by their self. But I love fishing with people. It doesn't mean I'm right beside people all day long. But I love being able to go into the woods, fish for a day, walk back out of the trail with a buddy, talk about all the adventures of the day, sit around the truck after, take their waders off. And I would encourage moms. There's more and more women's fly fishing clubs popping up all over the place.
We got some of our local Trout Unlimited chapters here in the Hendersonville area, which is not far from where I live, their president we met at a recent event, and she is all about fishing. And she is a great advocate for getting women out on the water and pushing more and more females to the sport. And that's something we've seen just the new in this podcast. Man, just so many cool places where we're starting to see some women guides in the area. And that's exciting.
And I would say, "Hey, if you're gonna take a guided trip, take it with your kid, right?" So you're a single mom. I know that maybe everybody making you to do that, but if you've got the opportunity, take the trip with your kid. "Hey, we want to go. I want to watch." But then a lot of times, it ends up you're fishing too. That makes sense because you're seeing how much fun your son or daughter is having and you're out there rocking with them.
Tom: Yeah, a week with a guide is going to be cheaper than a week at Disney World, right?
Joshua: Oh, yeah. Sometimes, you get those guides a day, I think. A day with a guy it's get a good one, and they can just entertain you all day. And it's a blast. We love fishing with guides.
Tom: No, I mean, financially.
Joshua: And I advise people...
Tom: Financially, a week with the guide is gonna be cheaper than a week at Disney World, wouldn't be? Last I checked...
Joshua: Oh, I would think so. Oh, gosh, yes. Actually, we had that conversation the other day. Somebody, one of my friends, was taking their kids to Disney World and then threw out the figures, and me and my brother were sitting, and it's like, "Okay, we could take our whole families probably to Belize on a bonefish straight up, twice for the price it cost." That's kind of where our minds went.
Tom: Yeah, yeah. So, what about guided trips with kids? That's a good point to bring up.
Joshua: Say that again.
Tom: What about guided trips with kids? You know, you talked about panfishing ponds or going out to trout streams. But what about taking a guided trip with the kids? What kind of tips do you have for that, for people taking, you know, a 10-year-old or an 8-year-old on a guided trip?
Joshua: I would say, once again, I hope if we're doing a trip like that, we want that experience. I know in my case, if I'm taking a guided trip and my 11-year-old now, I want that to really be about him. I want him to do most of the fishing, which I know when you're investing in the guide, you're like, "Man, I'm investing in a guide, I want to be doing some fishing" But I want that guide to make his day. And I can sit back and learn.
And guides are...Tom, you know this, they're so knowledgeable, and they spend so much time crafting their craft. Like, they spend so much time researching on how to tie these flies and how to make a better experience. And when you get a really good guide, man, that can just make a day for your kids. So I would just say embrace what the guide's knowledge is, learn all you can from them. And, you know, a lot of times, you will learn some tips the next time you take your kid fishing that you can use that's going to make your experience better the next time you're fishing with them.
Tom: Yeah. Probably it would be a good idea not to go blind into a guided trip. I'm thinking that you know...
Joshua: "Oh, for sure." I think most of your guides are going to communicate with you in front of... Sorry, I lost you there.
Tom: Yeah, yeah. No, I was just stopping because I thought you're gonna say something. But, yeah, you know, you should let a guide know if you book a trip that, "Hey, I've got a 10-year-old come with me." And if they start to kind of say, "Mm, mm." Then you might want to look for another guide, right?
Joshua: Yeah, it's not going to be like fish and paint [SP]. That's exactly a great point. Be upfront with your guide about what you... And don't sell your kid as being, you know, the most amazing caster and, "Look, well, he's caught fish for..." You know what I mean? Like, yeah, sell your honest with a guide about what your kid is. "Hey, man, my kids caught some trout before, but we don't do this every day and so it's going to be a little bit of experience early on. And we just want to have a fun day on the water."
And that goes back to one of the best points, I think, that every guest we talked to, and it goes to your question, expectations. What are your expectations? What are your expectations for that day? If your expectation is to go out and catch a large amount of fish or even a big fish, that's probably not the smartest thing going into it, if you have yourself set on, "Oh, I'm the dad, and my son is going to catch or my daughter is going to catch all these fish today."
Why don't we set the expectation of, "Hey, thank you so much, Guide A, for taking us here today. We want to have a great day together out on the water. Whatever that looks like, we're entrusting you to make that happen." Does that make sense?
Tom: Yeah, no, total sense.
Joshua: Not, we don't have to have this...yeah.
Tom: Absolutely. Yeah. Joshua, those have been some great tips. Before I let you go, are there anything we forgot to mention about families on the fly?
Joshua: No, Tom. I think that our goal is just to do the best we can on our half of "Dads On The Fly" from our show and the more people we meet, it's just to encourage people to do it. Don't be scared to go out on the water. Don't be scared.
And when I say out in the water, I don't mean necessarily in a boat out on the water. Don't be afraid to go to the streamside or a pond in your area and tie into the community. There's Trout Unlimited all over the place. There are great organizations.
Walk into an Orvis. Take a...what is The Orvis 101 Fly Fishing. That's great, what a better way to get started. Then do something like that with your family, with your kids, with your whole family. Take a class, and that gets you started. And once you get started, if anything like our situation, you're hooked for life.
Tom: For sure. Absolutely. All right, Joshua, well, I want to thank you for taking the time today and sharing your knowledge with us. You've got a wide...
Joshua: Well, I don't know...
Tom: ...base of knowledge on, you know, fishing with kids. And if anybody's interested, their podcast, Joshua and his brother Caleb's podcast, is called "Dads On The Fly." And you'll a lot. You'll learn a lot listening to it.
Joshua: Yeah, you'll learn a lot from our distinguished guests. I don't know how much you'll learn from us, but we try our best to make things fun and have a good time with it.
And, Tom, I really appreciate you having us on. It means more than you'll ever know to us that you stopped by our booth last week and said, "Hey," and hung out with my kid for a little bit. And he just had a blast, and he's not stopped talking about it.
Tom: Well, it was great to meet you guys and keep up the good work, and hope to see you soon.
Joshua: All right, man, have a great afternoon.
Tom: Okay, Joshua. Thank you.
Joshua: Thank you.
Tom: Okay.
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