The little dude turned one a week ago and after a year of parenthood I feel that its high time that I share what I’ve learnt about fly fishing with infants.
1- Get someone else to look after the baby and leave them at home
Its cheating, but it is by far the easiest, most enjoyable fishing option for both you and the bub
2- Take up spin fishing
Its much much easier. So put the fly rod down and dust off the spin gear. If you are desperate tie on a bubble float, I don’t know, I don’t own any spin gear.
3- Start small with small trips
Micro trips to urban creeks are a great way to test the waters (and may be your only option if the bubs still breastfeeding)
4- Go camping and take someone with you who can look after the baby.
The closer you are to a “safe place” the easier its going to be. Go camping with your partner and when you’ve set up camp and the baby is happy strap them in and go for a fish. When they get bored, head back to camp. Easy. If you are really lucky you might even be able to sneak off fishing without the baby at some point.
5- Be prepared.
To ensure that everything goes smoothly you will need to be prepared. Get a good rucksack and start putting things in it. Nappies. Check. Baby wipes. Check. Breastmilk, some ice packs and a cooler bag. Check. Formula, a bottle and sterilized water (even if they are breastfeeding you will need this just in case). Check. Food. Check. Other food for when they won’t eat the other food you brought. Check. Even more food for when they also refuse to eat the backup food. Check. A mat for them to hang out on for a bit. Check. Sunscreen. Check. Hat. Check. Toys. Check. More toys. Check. Dummy. Check. A few changes of clothes. Check.
The more prepared you are the more likely it is that everyone is going to have a good time.
6- Don’t forget your fly gear and pack light.
You’ll need that as well. Its best to pack light given you’ll be carrying a baby and a whole bunch of baby gear.
7- Don’t fish double tungsten nymph rigs.
I mean you can, but its generally easier not to. De-tangling is exponentially more difficult with a baby attached, especially a grabby one. Also, just in case, its best to fish barbless
8- Don’t get too carried away with actually catching fish.
Truth be told, fly fishing is actually kind of slow and boring if you are a baby. Of course if you have one of those babies that just sleeps all the time
%$#* you it won’t be a problem and you should be able to fish to your hearts content. If you don’t, then its going to be pretty stop and start. Fish a run. Get the baby out. Do some stuff. Fish another run. Get the baby out. Do some stuff. You can fish a remarkably small amount of water in a surprisingly large amount of time this way. But it is much better than not fishing, so you know.
9- Enjoy the bits that aren’t fishing.
These are actually the best bits. There is nothing like a bit of one on one bonding with the bub. It is a lot of fun taking them on adventures and experiencing the world through their eyes. Its not going to be anything like a normal days fishing, so its best to just go with the flow, enjoy the down time and the play and the dirt and the leaves and the trees…. and when you can, enjoy the fishing.
This is what has worked for me, but all babies are different, with a bit of trial and error you should figure out something that works for you. So get the carrier, time the drive to coincide with a nap and hit up your local. It can be a lot of fun.
Note: Dylan Hannah has set the bar. Be inspired.