Monday, September 17, 2012

Introducing my daughter to tenkara

My daughter has always been enthusiastic about my tenkara endeavours but had yet to go out with me fishing. By that I don't mean our family trips to RMNP where I would wet a fly for half an hour while my daughter would play in the water. I mean my daughter actually picking up a rod and casting trying to catch a fish.

Yesterday was the big day she and I ventured out to a bluegill pond for some daddy/daughter fishing. An added incentive was that the pond was also located strategically close to a playground. When we got to the pond, I let her first unload some of her energy on the playground and sure enough, 20 minutes in she announced "Daddy, let's go fishing now!".

Well, let me tell you that the attention span of a 5yo is fairly short especially if there is so much more than "fishing" to explore at the pond. We got maybe a good 5 minutes of actual fishing when she announced that she rather watch me fishing while she is playing with sticks, mud and "allergies" (algae for us grown-ups).

She got very excited every time I hooked and landed a bluegill, she wanted to touch and hold them but got a big squeamish (or just excited?) once the fish started wiggling in her hands. More than once we had to "rescue" a bluegill from dry land and release it back into the pond.

I think our first real fishing outing went well, she already announced that she wants to go fishing again.

I also got to test a new furled line (16ft long) I made the day before. In short, it was too light, I had a hard time casting it and turning the fly over. Also, this was my first outing with the new Tenkara Universal Rod Cap that I got from TenkaraUSA this week.  This gadget goes over the top end of the rod when the rod iscollapsed instead of the top plug. You can keep the rod rigged (i.e. with EZ keepers) while keeping it protected (I once broke a rod and lost a line while bushwhacking keep the top unprotected). It also is bigger (obviously) than a top plug and hence it is somewhat easier to keep track off when you drop it. There is a rubber patch on the inside and rubber band that secures the cover around the rod which makes it very unlikely to slip off. The only downside I can think of that the cover itself is clear plastic; I would have preferred some sort of a hi-vis color to make it even more easier to track when dropped.

Lastly, I also learned how NOT to attach traditional lines. Recently, I have been fishing almost uniquely level lines and hence did not need a knot in the lilian (see also an interesting post here). However, when attaching a traditiona line with a girth hitch, an overhand knot in the lilian is required or else you will loose your line - this happened to me twice within 20 minutes yesterday. I sure was lucky that there was no fish on the other end or otherwise the line would have been gone.

Tight Lines, Karel


  1. I will have to find a playground closer to the places where we go fishing....seems to be a good strategy. I have 6 and 3 year old girls and they like to fish but their attention spans are a little on the short side.

  2. The rod cap is very interesting. Last time I lost the plug, I ordered two. If I get down to one, I think I'll check out the cap. Darn plugs are hard to find in the bushes.

  3. Chris - Attention span for small kids is everything, you need to find the right moment to introduce them and let them do their thing with it, even if it means that they want to do something else 5 minutes later. They'll come back to it.

  4. Mark - I agree, although I only lost one plug so far. The big cap should make it easy to keep track of it.

  5. Hey, that's great! Good job, getting your little lady interested in fishing.

    She'll be back for more, you bet.