Q My 6-year-old wants to start fly fishing. What equipment should I use to get her started? She has shown an understanding of the sport and is a tireless fisherman, but I don't want to give her an outfit that is too big or heavy and will cause her to lose interest. I live in Jupiter, Florida, and make regular trips to Islamorada. I am thinking Spanish mackerel is a user-friendly fish to start on.
I have taught hundreds of young boys and girls to cast a fly rod. Generally, a boy or girl who is under 11 doesn't do well. They can be intelligent and strong enough. The main problem is attention span. After a few minutes they start looking around and want to get involved in something else. Having said that, let me tell you of a young boy I met at Montauk Point, New York, who I'm sure was no more than 7 or 8, and he wanted to be as good as his brother several years older. In less than an hour he learned to cast beautiful loops and the double haul. But he was focused!
If your daughter is as focused as this lad, she can do it. I would recommend a 5-weight rod, but load it with a 6-weight line. She will not be casting long distances in the beginning, and a line one size heavier than the rod will help her load the rod better. Good luck to you.