Bought a Whip!

So I have been thinking recently about how to get the boy interested in fishing. I have heard far too many stories about how fathers can stuff their hobby down their kid’s throat and thus put them off it totally. I certainly do not want to do that. I suppose there is no real correct or wrong way to get kids interested in fishing (one guy who shall remain nameless told me that his fishing mad son was that way due to being neglected every weekend while he was away fshing) – the general consensus with fly fishing is that when they are 8 or 9 they are ripe to learn how to cast a fly. But what can I do just now to foster some kind of interest?

The boy like puddles - don't argue with that!

The boy (eldest who is 2) has been out walking with me a few times on the canal when I have been casting for Pike and enjoys waving the rod about a bit however has never actually had a go himself obviously. I have a pal who has a son the same age and he has been out watching him catch trout from a back pack and this would be ideal if I did not fall over all the time.

Listen bud - I like your effort however that happens to be a 9 weight!

Interestingly I think I may have solved the issue and will get some fun out of it as well – I have seen some huge shoals of roach down my bit of the canal and was going to target them on the fly. I came home on Thursday and told him it was time to buy his very first fishing rod – he was pretty excited – we went down and after a bit of advice bought a 4m Whip. For those of you that have absolutely no idea what this is it is essentially a long stick with a bit of string on the end. Of course we anglers have turned this into a long pole with a ring on the end where you tie your line and to the end of this a hook and then to the end of that……the horror – a maggot (or any other weird “bait”)

Someone suggested I get a Tenkara rod however personally I think that is just a fad – plus a Telescopic carbon fibre Tenkara rod costs £100 and a telescopic carcbon fibre whip costs £10 so you do the math.

Anyway, with a Whip the idea is seemingly is you plop your maggot amongst the fish and then you lift them back towards you when they take – it is really only used for small fish so do not go getting excited. I will tell you something though – I was excited, I could not wait to try it out – it is like a whole new way of fishing that I have never tried. Someone even said in the forum there are Rudd in the canal – a Rudd? I have never caught one of them in my puff.

Anyway, the first time we went out was a disaster – we walked down the canal and found the shoal of Roach – I threw out some maggots and then got the whip together.

Obviously you cannot tell from this picture however there are hundreds of Roach just under the water..

I cast out the wee float and then waited on a bite while the boy held the whip. Another “angler” walked past us with wife and three kids in tow – he was carrying a spinning rod with an orange bubble float. We said hello (he asked where I got the maggots) and then noticed the shoal of roach, he walked up the bank a couple of yards and then Whoooooooooosh an orange bubble float whizzed past me over the shoal – he immediately caught a couple of Perch which he then dragged through the shoal. All the kids thought this was great and I was left looking like a chump as the shoal scattered in panic. “Its only wee ones” he stated to the kids giving me a wink .

I wanted to punch him in the face, break his rod and throw him into the canal! – I decided that telling him to bugger off would have made me look like a proper dick.

As it was I smiled and moved on to try and find some more Roach – we did not.

A whip can be used as a weapon!

Anyway, cough – I am going to dig up some worms next and try and catch a Perch on the Whip.  Meanwhile as I stated in a previous post I am gonna catch one of the pesky roach on a fly.


  1. dougie · July 26, 2011

    I had my 4 year old daughter out fly fishing on a local burn the other day, with assisted casting she caught her first ever trout, 9 inches. She loves it and is always asking to catch slippy fish as she calls them, I was thinking of getting her a whip and set it up tenkara style for heer to fly fish with, easier than casting a fly line. You should get some roach on small weighted nymphs, usually on the drop, make sure you have a good sight for the takes.

  2. Alistair · July 26, 2011

    I may well head out again over the next few days – thanks for the tip Dougie!

    I know I am well ahead of the game with a two year old – by four and half your daughter will be double hauling 😉

  3. ChuckG · July 26, 2011

    I’ve also got a 4 year old girl, same as Dougie. I happened to read this book a few years ago, “Fly-Fishing With Children: A Guide for Parents,” by Philip Brunquell.

    and in the book he basically says to use whatever type of rod it takes to get your child hooked (no pun intended) on fishing. The first time I took my daughter out (at 3) we used a pole SHE picked out at the store. Of course it’s a Barbie pool, but it catches fish and she like using it. It’s a spin casting style set up, with a closed face reel. We used worms as bait and caught small blue gills. From my experience, I’m lucky if I can get her (and sometimes her friends) to sit about 2-3 hours to fish. After that we will take a break hiking, and on a rare occasion we’ll fish again later that day.

    Mostly she likes to see the bobber go under water, reel the fish in, to study the colors and then touch the fish. She gives each one a name (I won’t tell you about the time she wanted me to kiss one good bye) and we then release them back into the water.

    If my advise is worth anything, let them lead the way & never force fishing on them. I always carry her Barbie pole if she’s with me when we’re around water, and if she says she wants to fish, we fish. What I never try to do is to take her fishing with me and work her fishing into my schedule. She gets frustrated, and of course I never get to fish. 😉

    By the way- your Whip pole is the same as the cane rod I started with. I think that with pole and some line on the end lets them feel the ‘bite’ better. You also better have that camera ready when he catches his first one so you can gloat!

  4. StephenM · July 26, 2011

    Hi Alistair, on my 2nd cast at Harelaw a few weeks ago I managed a double hook up of perch on a bibio and a Kate Mclaren.(although I think they would have taken anything thrown in front of them)

  5. Thomas · July 26, 2011

    Hello. hope your son get to getr a fish on the whip. hope i steered you in the right direction as i am sure it was me who sold you it. Unfortunatly i am not as good a person as you and i would have made myself look like an idiot and told the guy to clear off. but i suppose it was the better action to let it pass on your sons first attempt as you say you wouldnt want to put him off it.


  6. Alistair · July 26, 2011

    You certainly did steer me in the right direction – thanky ou very much Thomas.
    I am actually amazed we walked out of the GAC with a full angling outfit for the canal for under £15 and that was including buying a tub of maggots. It seems a lovely way of fishing and wonder why more people ditch the spinning rods and give it a go.

    I am kinda used to folk being non curteous and it does not really bother me much anymore however the thing that really got me this time was it was the first real time I was out with the boy – next time I should really head further “upstream”


  7. @thetroutfly · July 26, 2011

    This is a blatant plug of one of my own articles so sorry for that, but it is related to this topic at least:

  8. ChuckG · July 26, 2011

    Dear @thetroutfly,

    I liked your article on going inexpensive for FlyFishing. I actually own a tenkara rod, but I bought it for very small tight streams. I wouldn’t recommend it on any stream wider then the length of the rod.


  9. Alistair · July 26, 2011

    Hey thetroutfly – I enjoyed that too – where on earth did you get a whip for £1? I did see one in a pound shop once, it was tiny you could probably fit it in your pocket.

    I would love to see how many differences there are between a whip and a tenkara rod – I reckon they must be pretty similar, except for the price 🙂

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