I don't think there is the best age for kids to start learning how to fly cast and fly fish. As soon as kids get interested in our sport it's an excellent moment to get them involved - free of age.
The youngest kids I had in my lessons were between 3 and 6 years old. Some important things should be taken care of:
- You should have a pretty short and light fly rod and a fly line matching it. However this rod (and line) may look like in detail - NEVER tell them this rod/line not to be a real one yet! Echo has the Micro Practice Rod (MPR) which can be a great tool to get truly young kids started. You may replace the original MPR line with a real fly line (low line weight) as well as a short nylon leader coming with a proper visible fluff at it's tip.
- Make sure the kids are having a target. This for example can be to put the fly into a (huge) ring. Offering the kids an easy (fair) target makes them succeed. Success is fun! Much better to have some different exercises of course!
- Don't set out any pressure coming along with whatever exercise you may give them. So pls. don't watch them all the time! ;)
- Have the kids casting with a short line. As we ourthelves kids have a tendency to put out more line as they can "control" yet. An easy mark on the line helps to control. When having several kids in the lesson you better fixate the right length of line for each kid!
- Make sure to praise the kids for their efforts even if the result did not quite match with your expectations.
- Make sure to have proper clothes for the kids matching weather best possible.
- Having something to eat and drink is even more important when having kids in the course!
- Some kids may enjoy the lesson/casting for about ten minutes while others may be fully in it for 2 hours. Usually the older the kids are, the longer they stay in. Make sure to bring some alternatives into the lesson as well. A ball can be a good one here!
- Have a closer look at which hand may work best for the rod hand - left or right. For kids this can be even more tricky as it sometimes is for adults. Of course kids are allowed to use both hands on the rod if it fits them best for the moment!
- Like for adults I usually finish the lesson with having every beginner fighting a fish (me) at the end of their line. Kids mostly love this part of the game! ;)
Finally whenever your kids start to show interest - make time and get them proper tackle to start with. Starting with the wrong tackle easily can lead into a no fun start!
Marina and I will run our next fly casting courses in the weekend - can't wait!
Great first week to all of you!
All my best