Sometimes it really pays off to be spontaneous, “Carpe Diem” as they say! I am lucky enough to live in some of the most stunning wilderness of Northwest Scotland surrounded by beautiful lochs and burns – lakes and streams to the uninitiated – that offer many lifetimes of exploration and spur-of-the-moment fishing adventures.
I am also blessed with a fun-loving and active family, and my now-not-so-wee boy Corwin (about to turn the big one-three) has become quite an accomplished fisher, both of the fly and coarse disciplines. His first fish was a tiny Trout parr on the stream at the back of our croft, on the fly, aged just three years and four months – now that's starting them early! I had made a 'mini fly fishing set' for him comprising of a 1.5m telescopic ice fishing pole, a tiny metal reel and an off-cut of old fly line. Sticking a little beaded nymph – barbless essential – on the end of a two-foot leader and chucking it into the deeper pools on he stream quickly produced his tiny but momentous wee fish. One of 'those' moments for sure. Wonderful.
He turned out to be a fast learner and, after watching daddy for a bit, was confidently throwing out casts of twelve feet plus onto the lochs and having great fun landing the occasional Trout. But it was always the wee burns that had his attention and still do to this day.
The exploratory nature of clambering upstream, the wonderfully varied nature awaiting discovery and the prolific fishing are the perfect environment to nurture a young fly fishers interest and passion and, if |I'm completely honest, that's where my real fishing passion lies as well – exploring he countless miles of tumbling, twisting, thundering, gliding peaty waters is a truly magical experience.
You might be surprised how close you are to a bit of water like this – a hidden, winding, unassuming, overlooked and overgrown watercourse – that could hold a surprising number of small, yet incredibly beautiful, hungry fish of many different species (although it is all Wild Brownies in my area). As long as the water is fairly clean, the chances are there will be something finny making it home and, as mentioned, some of the best fishing trips ever o be had are those 'exploveries' of seeking out new and unlikely places... And it's even better if you take the kids!
Keeping outings with younger kids short and interesting, or varying the activities and locations throughout a longer day is the key to holding their attention and making it an experience they will be keen to repeat again and again. Making it not all about the fishing but looking for bugs, talking about ‘survival techniques’ and generally mucking about all become part of a wonderful experience.