Fishing With Kids – Fins and Feathers Bozeman
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Fishing With Kids

My Crackheads

Winter has always been one of my favorite times of year to slip away for a day with buddies or by myself on the waters of Southwest Montana. As my kids have gotten older though, those days seem to be further and further apart than I would have ever guessed. The last couple of weekends, however, may be a blueprint for how the next couple years will look like – and its actually a lot more fun than I would have guessed.

Matthew Swank first fish on his new rod and reel

My youngest son, Matthew, is one of those kids that is just really excited about everything. He’s started fishing Tenkara rods maybe 4 years ago and now, at 8 years old, has moved to typical western fly-fishing without much work. He is a blast to fish with as he has inherited my innate ability as an effective smack-talker. He and I spent the weekend before last on the Missouri, chasing trout in the wind and rain from the jetboat. It was just an awesome time with him as I shared in his excitement as he put on his own pair of waders and boots, and caught his first trout of the year on his own rod and reel.

I spent this past weekend with my 17 year-old son, Alex, running around the Bighorn on a windless, 70 degree day. He has never been particularly excited about fishing, but goes with me every once in awhile to keep the peace and me entertained. Typically, we only go out when it’s windy, rainy, and the fishing sucks, so I think he felt conflicted on Friday night as we reflected on the day and he realized that he had a great time, hanging with dad on the water.

Alex Swank dropping a load

Fly-fishing is a lot of things to me, but first and foremost, it’s something that keeps me connected to the world I live in – both the people and the places. As a kid, the times I felt closest to my dad were always on those days in the duck blind or the bass boat. Our relationship was different at home and in the “real-world”, but those moments gave me insight into my dad and how much I always knew that I could count on him first and foremost as I faced my many challenges over the years. I think that my kids might even see a little bit of my dad in me when we are on the water and I guess that makes me feel pretty damn good about the prospects ahead.