or, perhaps Olive the Woolly Blogger...

Tag: fly fishing books (Page 1 of 2)

Take Kids Fly FIshing

There’s a new kid on the block, or rather there’s a new kids site on the internet…Take Kids Fly Fishing.

The site is, or is destined to become, a comprehensive hub of information for all things kids fly fishing related. From the ABOUT page:

Getting kids into the wonderful sport of fly fishing is an exciting endeavor, and one that comes with the need for certain equipment and helpful information.  For parents it can be a daunting challenge because you cannot walk into most fly shops and find a wide selection of gear for kids. Searching the internet can be frustrating because again, there isn’t one single location that sells all manner of gear for kids.

At Take Kids Fly Fishing we hope to simplify your quest for kids fly fishing gear by providing a comprehensive listing of manufacturers of all manner of gear, from rods and reels to waders, boots, clothing, accessories, books etc. We also aim to bring you other helpful information that will help enhance your kids fly fishing experience.

If you are a manufacturer, a guide or casting instructor, please contact us so that we can add you to our listings.

Please bookmark this site for future reference.

Stay tuned, tightlines, and take a kid fly fishing!

Word on the street is that there will be a kids contest in the near future, with some seriously excellent prizes for several winners.  Sounds like a win-win for everyone so bookmark Take Kids Fly Fishing and stay tuned!




Olive at the American Museum of Fly Fishing

My friend Leland Miyawaki, who is the fly fishing manager at the Orvis shop in Bellevue, WA (and father of the infamous Miyawaki Beach Popper), was recently in New England for the annual meeting of all the top dogs at Orvis (and apparently they invited the fishing managers as well).

Leland writes:

Last Monday evening, I attended a reception with all of Orvis retail execs as well as we fishing managers at the Museum. To the left under the staircase in the bookstore on a shelf was the Olive display. I was surprised and quite proud of our boy Kirk…Yes indeed. Kirk Werner and Roderick Haig Brown.

Olive on display at the American Museum of Fly Fishing, photo courtesy of Leland Miyawaki

Roderick Haig Brown is a god in terms of fly fishing literary history, so that’s an outrageous statement. But I’m certainly very proud that Olive found her way into the bookstore of the American Museum of Fly Fishing.

For those who do not know, the Museum is located in Manchester, VT— roughly 500 feet from the Orvis flagship store, (and just a bit further from what appears to be The Bean Mexican Eatery and Bar, at least according to Google Maps). The museum was established in 1968 by a group of interested anglers, with the purpose of preserving and exhibiting the treasures of American angling. Fly fishing obviously has a very rich heritage in New England and it seems fitting that the region is home to such a treasure trove of fly fishing memorabilia.

I’ve never been to that part of the country. You can bet it’s on my ever-expanding bucket list.

Thanks to Leland for the report, and thank you to the folks at the American Museum of Fly Fishing for letting Olive be a small part of your gift shop.

Olive is #1 (and #3 and #6)

I was recently informed that Olive the Little Woolly Bugger is ranked 1st according to sales in the category of Childrens Books & Videos with Angler’s Book Supply,  the leading supplier of books and videos about fly fishing, fishing and hunting to retail stores world-wide.

Olive and The Big Stream is ranked #3 and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride is ranked 6th.

While this is obviously the kind of good news an author likes to hear, Olive can do better.

These sales figures show that the first book is outselling the others, which on one hand makes sense because it’s the first in the series.  I’d like to see the other two books sell just as many copies as the first.  It is, afterall, a series.

So remember, if you purchased Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, and you liked it, there are two more available and they’re equally as fun, engaging and “edutational”.

Thanks for the support from all of you who have gotten hooked on Olive!


Long live the (printed) book

A recent article Angling Trade (March 2011) featured an interesting article about books and how they factor into the fly fishing industry.  The article, titled “Now Read This” by Chris Santella, takes a look at how books factor into the revenue stream of fly fishing industry. It also examines the technology trends in e-book readers and how that is changing the book industry, and to some degree the fly fishing book segment of the market.

I’m a bit of a traditionalist when it comes to books.  While I acknowledge the benefits of e-readers I still prefer the organic appeal of a printed book.  I like the smell, the texture, the physical cover art and the tactile ability to dog-ear a page when I can’t find my book mark.  I am not a complete technology dinosaur, mind you, and even bought my wife a Kindle for her birthday this year.  It’s a neat little device.  But I don’t want one.

Some of my reservation stems from the fact that as an author of printed books, I feel just a little threatened by ebooks. Not enough to cause me to lose sleep over it, but enough to make me to pay at least some attention to the trend.

For kids books, however, e-readers such as Amazon’s Kindle and the Barnes & Noble Nook are not the platform. Even as they build color technology into the readers, the screen display is too small to provide the experience of a large format, illustrated picture book (emphasis on picture).  There are e-publishers who specialize in creating books for the Apple iPad, but even that screen is small by comparison to an 8.5 x 11 or larger format of a printed book. Like any piece of software, an e-book does have the ability to build in interactive features to further enhance a child’s reading/learning experience, and I even went so far as to talk to one such publisher for the iPad. I was disappointed that the publisher wanted to limited the length of their childre’s titles to 15 pages and build in gratuitous animations that were limited in scope and didn’t add anything of significant value to the book. As a former software artist/animator I suggested interactive, animated games and lessons. The publisher said it would be too expensive to build those features. And that is the extent of my experience with e-book publishers for kids.  If I’m going to have my books published on the e-platform, I do not want them to be scaled down or devalued in order to fit a certain software development template.

Then I stumbled upon a Publisher’s Weekly article by Bill Henderson that speaks to another aspect of e-books that many may not have considered: the negative environmental aspect of producing these battery-operated devices.

Some think that the e-reader will save trees. Soon, according to a recent New York Times article, we will possess over 100 million e-readers. What a savings in our forests, right? Wrong.

We often think of the traditional publishing industry as a waste of trees, water and energy sources; chemicals and inks used in printing as bad stuff.  Well, more and more printers are greening up their printing practices by using non-toxic inks and bleach-free recycled paper stocks, etc.  I don’t know enough about the global practices of the printing idustry, but the manufacture of e-readers makes the printing process, to me, seem rather benign by comparison. From the Publisher’s Weekly article:

Here’s what an e-reader is: a battery-operated slab, about a pound, one-half inch thick, perhaps with an aluminum border, rubberized back, plastic, metal, silicon, a bit of gold, plus rare metals such as columbite-tantalite (Google it) ripped from the earth, often in war-torn Africa. To make one e-reader requires 33 pounds of minerals, plus 79 gallons of water to refine the minerals and produce the battery and printed writing. The production of other e-reading devices such as cellphones, iPads, and whatever new gizmo will pop up in the years ahead is similar. “The adverse health impacts [on the general public] from making one e-reader are estimated to be 70 times greater than those for making a single book,” says the Times.

Like I said, I’ll stick to printed books. I like reading them and writing them.

So go into your local fly shop and ask for Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream, and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride.  They should have them in stock, and if they don’t they can get them through their distributor.  Just don’t expect to find the Olive series in an e-reader format anytime soon.

That’s my story and I shall stick to it, all the way to the poor house.


A Little Angler

I was recently fishing the Yakima River in Central Washington. Despite being a beautiful day with moderate temperatures, winter still had the fish firmly in its grip. If there were fish in the river they were hunkered down deep, nearly comatose. The result was that catching wasn’t real good. In fact, it was non-existent.

As I was returning to the truck to call it a day, I observed a little girl, who appeared to be about 7 years old, and her dad with fly rods in hand, doing their best to entice a fish to come to their offerings.  The little girl was all business as she flailed her rod wildly back and forth. Her strike indicator looked  to have been wrapped around her rod so that her fly wasn’t even getting out on the water.  That didn’t seem to dampen her enthusiasm as she kept at it while dad watched from a safe distance. I hope he stepped in and gave her some assistance with her tangled line. 😉

Watching this little girl having fun, spending some time with her dad on a beautiful day served as a reminder that fly fishing is about more than catching fish: it’s about getting outside, enjoying nature, spending quality time with friends and family. I was tempted to holler to her as I crossed the foot bridge, “Hey, little angler- have you gotten hooked on Olive the woolly bugger, yet?”

I opted not to interrupt her fun.

Another Reader Review

I’m absolutely privileged to post a reader review of the Olive the Woolly Bugger books. My favorite reviews come not from fly fishing magazines, official book reviewers, or adults – the best reviews come from kids! Not all fans of Olive hail from a fly fishing family, either, which supports my contention that Olive is for everyone, whether you’re a fly fishing veteran or you’ve never wet a line

The following photo was sent to me from Carla, whose daughter, Hannie, has developed a certain fondness for Olive. Carla writes:

“I have to tell you that out of hundreds of books (I’m a teacher…I have HUNDREDS) my little Hannie, who’s 3, wants to hear about “Olive” ALL the time. 🙂 ”

I love seeing bent corners on books, a clear indication that they’re getting lots of use!  Thank you to Carla and Hannie for getting hooked on Olive the Woolly Bugger!

Get kids started with the Redington Minnow

A while back I listed a few fly rods geared toward young anglers. There are many offerings worthy of consideration, with prices that range from below $100 up to nearly $200.  Undoubtedly any of these rods will serve your child well as they enter into the world of fly fishing.

With the Holidays now upon us folks may be looking for that perfect gift for a young angler in their lives. I’d like to highlight the Redington Minnow, which is targeted at kids ages 6-12.  It’s not just a rod, but a complete outfit that includes a two-piece, 8-foot graphite rod with a line weight designation of 5/6 and a Redington Crosswater reel. The Minnow Outfit retails for $99, which is a very attractive price point for a rod, reel and line. As a whole I’m very impressed with Redington as a company. They combine quality with affordability, and their warranty covers the cost to repair or replace the Minnow rod and Crosswater reel for one year. Check their website for specific warranty information.

Eight feet is plenty long enough to cast efficiently, but it’s just short enough to not be overly cumbersome in the hands of a young angler. The two piece rod makes sense for youngsters as it’s less to worry about. Face it, younger kids are not always detail-oriented, so only having to align and secure two rod sections simplifies things and reduces the chances of ferrules coming apart when casting. Redington thoughtfully includes alignment dots on the Minnow, which is a nice feature I wouldn’t mind having on my rods! Another nice feature of the Minnow is its shortened cork grip that makes the rod easier to keep a hold of for smaller hands. A 5 weight is widely considered the all around rod for most fly fishing, and it’s safe to say that if a person is going to have only one rod, a 5 weight is the right choice. The Minnow is heavy enough to handle good sized fish, but light enough to still feel the tug of smaller quarry.

The Redington Crosswater reel included in the outfit is described as “tough and unfussy”. It’s a large arbor design which makes for easier and quicker retrieves, and it converts easily for left- or right-handed reeling. It has a strong, disc drag system should your small fry hook up with a big fish. The Crosswater comes spooled with Rio backing and Weight Forward fly line, and also includes a knotless leader. Right out of the box, your child will be ready to tie on their favorite fly and hit the water. The reel and line alone retail for $59, which makes the Minnow Outfit really shine as a value-added package.

The Minnow comes with a rod sock but not a hard case, which really should be something you’ll want to get in order to protect the setup. You have many suitable choices available, so ask your local fly shop for help with selecting a case.  It might be a good idea to choose one that is capable of storing the reel attached to the rod (be sure to have your child inspect the reel seat before each outing to make sure it’s locked securely).

I’ve not personally cast the Minnow, but I have cast other Redington rods and they all feel good in different ways, based on the type of action each rod possesses.  The Minnow is a medium-action rod, which is easiest for beginners of any age.  New casters will be able to feel the rod load, which makes it much easier to develop a proper casting stroke.

The Minnow box includes cut-out targets to a make learning to cast fun, and also includes additional tips, techniques and games to get kids started. The goal of this entire package is to make it fun for kids to get started in the sport. Getting kids into fly fishing is very important to Redington. Kids are the future of the sport and will become stewards of the resource one day.  We need kids to become fly anglers, and that’s exactly the point of my series of children’s fly fishing books featuring Olive the Woolly Bugger.

Conveniently, each Minnow outfit includes a coupon for ordering Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride at 50% off retail (that’s only $6.47 each)!

Get your little fishing buddy a Minnow Outfit from Redington, a set of entertaining and educational books, and they’ll be hooked for life. You’ll be giving the gift that will pay back dividends for years to come!

Check out the comprehensive listing of kids fly fishing gear, including more from Redington, at Take Kids Fly Fishing

Olive is Crushing it!

Until I saw the video below I had no idea that I was “crushing it”, let alone what the term, in this case, means. There are instances where I’ve heard the term used to describe other things such as when one smashes their finger with a hammer (“Dude, I just crushed my finger!”); when stomping grapes in the wine-making process (“Dude, come on over and let’s crush some grapes”); or when a really great day of fishing is enjoyed (“Dude, I totally crushed the browns”).

Apparently “Crushing It” also means maximizing one’s online presence to promote a business, product, or idea. In the book  Crush It by Gary Vaynerchuk, the author talks about many ways the social media revolution has changed the way we live our lives and conduct our business, and the book gives you the tools to take advantage and WIN.

I hope my crushing it will mean that people find out about my kids fly fishing books.  I’m also going to remain hopeful that Oprah will finally hear about the books as well. If I never hear from Oprah I’ll be disappointed, but not completely crushed.

Thanks to my friends, Kathy and Jenn over at Ovaleye Web Solutions for the shout out in their vblog.

Reader reviews: Olive the Woolly Bugger series

I recently received a nice email from Aileen, mother of McKenzie, age 8.  Aileen happens to be the talent behind MK Flies and was one of two recent winners of my book giveaway contest. She and McKenzie received personalized copies of all three Olive books: Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream, and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride. Here’s what mom had to say:

Kirk, I was so excited when the “Olive the Woolly Bugger” series arrived.  My 8 year old daughter never finishes books she reads until she got a hold of the Olive books. If I may quote my daughter, McKenzie:  “It’s a really, really, really good book. I can’t stop reading them! It’s very fun.”

As a mother, I am thrilled to discover that my daughter actually loves to read…we just didn’t find the right books until now. Thank you so much.  She’s almost done with the second one, and will soon be reading the third.  When is the next book coming out?

Thanks, Aileen and McKenzie! I love to get feedback like this. To answer your question, Aileen, I’ve written two more books and hopefully the next adventures of Olive will be available before too long.

A very cute McKenzie gets hooked on Olive.

If you or your child has read and enjoyed the Olive books, please tell all your friends about them. The best form of advertising comes from word of mouth recommendations.

I’ll be posting more personal “reviews” on occasion, so if you know a child who is hooked on Olive, please send me a photo of them with a quick comment about the books and I’ll post it here on the blog for all to see.  You can contact me via email here.

Fly fishing rods for kids

Let me start by saying that I’m no expert teaching kids to cast a fly line. I’m always amazed that some folks seem to think that just because I’m an author of fly fishing books for kids that I know a thing or two about teaching kids how to fly fish. Remember the old adage: If you can’t do something, write about it. Or something like that ;).

That being said I wish some of the current kids’ fly rods were available when I started my own son out on his journey into fly fishing. He began by using a 9 foot 5wt graphite rod that had been relegated to backup status in my quiver rods. I was a bit hesitant to have him use this rod partially because it might’ve been a bit long for him to handle at first. But I’ll be honest:  my real hesitation lie in the fact that I was worried he’d break or otherwise trash my equipment! Fortunately my son has always had a knack for anything involving movements of the arm that resemble a throwing type motion (rocks, baseballs, etc).  He was always pretty coordinated as a youngster, and the basics of fly casting came fairly easily to him and my gear suffered no serious damage. He was 11 years old when he first went fly fishing with me, and while he could have done so earlier, I felt this was a perfect time to introduce him to the sport.  Maybe it was the perfect time for me to introduce him to the sport. He already liked fishing (catching, that is), and I felt that he had the patience to deal with the inevitable pitfalls of fly casting: line tangles.

Today’s kids have a selection of quality offerings specifically geared toward the younger angler. Something shorter than the “standard” 9 footer can make a rod more manageable in the hands of a child, and a medium action blank ensures that young casters can feel the rod loading (that is if you can get them to slow down and “feel” the rod!).  At first, my son just started to wave the stick back and forth without regard for what the rod tip, and subsequently the line, was doing. This is probably something most youngsters will do at first, but giving them a good piece of hardware that isn’t a broomstick will greatly improve their casting once they get the hang of it. If you have kids you know that they like having their own stuff, so if a fly rod to call their own makes them more excited to get out there and use it, I’d say that’s a good thing.

I’ve assembled information about several good bets for the budding young fly anglers in your lives. These are not fly rod reviews, as I have not tested any of these products. The point here is to offer a few good options for you parents to consider, and I recommend you visit your local fly shop to check out their selection of kid’s rods first. Please note than any information included here about these rods/outfits comes directly from the manufacturer’s/retailer’s websites and do not reflect the opinion of this reporter.


REDINGTON offers two different outfits geared toward young anglers. The Minnow is targeted at kids ages 6-12, while the Crosswater Youth is aimed at pre-teen/teen anglers.


Length: 8′
Line weight : 5/6
Number of sections: 2
Includes Reel:  Yes
MSRP: $99

The Minnow outfit was precisely designed and tuned to meet the needs of a younger, beginner angler. The goal is for these kids to have fun and success when fly fishing so they want to continue with the sport. The packaging design is kid and parent friendly with additional tips, techniques and games for kids to get started fly fishing.


• Updated cosmetics
• Alignment dots
• Targeted for ages 6-12
• Easy casting 2-pc 8’ 5/6 wt. graphite rod
• Tough and unfussy Crosswater reel
• Quality RIO backing, WF fly line, and knotless leader pre-spooled onto the reel
• Includes fun casting games and cut out targets in the box design
• Red rod sock included
• Each Minnow outfit includes a coupon for ordering Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride at 50% off retail (that’s only $6.47 each)!


Length: 8′ 6″
Line weight : 5/6
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel:  Yes
MSRP: $139.95

Similar to the Minnow, the Crosswater Youth Outfit was designed and tuned to meet the needs of a younger, beginner angler. However, this outfit is a little larger in size for the pre-teen/teen angler. The packaging and rod/reel case was designed to attract the teenage angler. The entire package is a legit fly angling package to a teen, but looks cool and “not like dad’s.”


• Medium-fast Action
• Attractive trim details and cosmetics on outfit and packaging for younger demographic
• Alignment dots
• Versatile 4-pc 8’6” 5/6 wt. graphite rod
• Durable Crosswater reel
• Backing, RIO Mainstream WF fly line, and knotless leader pre-spooled
• Rod/Reel Case included



Length: 7’9″
Line weight : 4/5
Number of sections: 3
Includes Reel: No
MSRP: $99

Echo Gecko Fly Rod helps to make fly fishing easy for kids was Tim Rajeff’s goal. The Echo Gecko rods have a special diameter handle and a small 2″ long fighting butt that allows the smallest anglers to use two hands to cast. A bright yellow blank and a fun colored handle make these rods as much fun to look at as they are to cast. No longer do children have to learn to fly fish with a rod that is too long or too stiff or use a rod with a handle designed for adult hands. The rod is a great length for trout, pan fish, and bass. The rod can handle a short belly WF5 or a standard WF4 line. A great fly rod for children and kids just beginning.


• Three piece travel design
• Alignment dots for quick assembly
• Wild colored EVA extra small diameter full wells handle w/small 2″ long fighting butt
• Fuji style fast-tighten reel seat
• Bright yellow gloss blank with orange thread wraps
• Hard chrome snake guides
• Rod sock and sturdy rod case
• Super durable rod design



Length: 7’6″
Line weight : 4
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: No
MSRP: $119

The Journey® youth series fly rod is the only fly rod designed for youth anglers, by youth anglers. Instead of taking an adult sized rod and trying to fit it into a youth sized package, we took everything we’ve learned from fishing with our own children and designed the Journey series from the ground up; arriving at what is arguably the finest youth fly rod ever built! The rod is a 4wt. design so it can be fished on most types of water, but the length is only 7’6″ so it is easy for a youth angler to control. In addition, the premium grade cork handle is crafted to perfectly fit a child’s hand and allow for comfortable casting without fatigue. This 4-piece rod series helps families to introduce their children to the sport of fly fishing with the right sized equipment, and without breaking the bank. The Journey series proprietary R-1 graphite design is a medium-fast action taper that is perfect for any casting style, and forgiving for those anglers just starting out. These are smooth casting rods that are sensitive, precise and effortless to cast; making it easier for youth anglers to learn the sport of fly fishing.


• Ross proprietary R-1 graphite design
• Medium-fast action rod taper, perfect for youth anglers
• 4-piece design – great for travel!
• Smooth casting, sensitive and precise
• Titanium oxide, super strong guides
• Rod piece alignment dots
• Anodized aluminum reel seat
• Youth sized half wells handle
• Cordura rod case
• Available in blue, pink
• Lifetime Warranty



Length: 7’9″
Line weight : 5
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $198 (on sale at the time of this writing for $159)

A fly rod and reel combo specifically designed for the junior angler. 7′ 9″ Mid-Flex rod is the perfect length and weight for smaller frames. Rod features smaller and shorter grip tailored for smaller hands. Clearwater® III Reel. 150 yards of 30 Dacron® backing. WF5 chartreuse floating line and a 9′ 2X leader. Just add a fly to this kids rod and reel combo. Ages 13 and older.



Length: 7’9″
Line weight : 4
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $199

Offered in blue and pink. This outfit will have your little one throwing darts and dreaming of fly fishing adventures! Trust us, you’ve never seen a youth rod and reel like this.



Length: 7′, 8′, 8’6″, 9′
Line weight : 5 and 6
Number of sections: 2
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $80

At L.L. Bean, we’ve always been committed to introducing newcomers to the sport of fly fishing – in the easiest and most affordable way possible. Our Angler Fly Rod Outfit comes loaded with backing, a floating line and a leader – just tie on a fly, and in minutes you’re ready to fish. We worked closely with both beginning fly casters and our Fly-Fishing School instructors to develop a smooth medium-action rod that makes it easy for anyone to learn the graceful art of fly casting. A quality composite reel with a click and pawl drag and high-quality graphite ensure that you, your kids and your grandkids can learn from the same outfit. Includes handy rod carrying tube for storage and transport. Imported.



Length: No information available
Line weight : 5/6
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $95

This Trout Fly Fishing Outfit includes a high quality 4-piece 5/6 weight graphite rod for smooth and easy casting. Preloaded disc drag reel ready to fish with the specific line and flies designed to work well for panfish.  Also includes a special 2 in 1 DVD with “Fly Fishing Made Easy” and “Panfish and Bass with Larry Dahlberg.”

Included in this kit:

• 4-piece, 5/6 weight graphite rod
• Lightweight for smooth and easy casting
• Pre-Loaded Scientific Anglers Concept 2 Fly Reel Loaded with backing, Scientific Anglers fly line and leader, and is ready to use
• Fly Box with Flies
• 2-in-1 Instructional DVD (the contents of both of the DVD titles below are included on a single special-issue DVD)


Based on these offerings from reputable manufacturers, young anglers don’t have to fish with junk equipment that’s little more than a colorful toy, and parents don’t have to break the bank to get quality gear for their kids.  Kids are the future of the sport, so get them away from their video games, get them a rod they’ll be thrilled to call their own, tie on a woolly bugger, and take ’em fishing! You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.

Check out the comprehensive listing of kids fly fishing gear at Take Kids Fly Fishing. In addition to rods and reel outfits, the site lists waders and boots, vests, hats and clothing, books and DVDs as well as fly fishing camps and clinics for kids and kid-friendly fly fishing guides. It’s a tremendous resource!

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