Sports & Activities
How to Choose Kids Fishing Poles
Choosing the best fishing rods for your kids can help you catch some family fun.
Building a fishing starter kit for your little angler can be a fun activity for both of you to enjoy. Gearing your child up for a fun day on the lake, river or surf can be a great way to teach them about the ins and outs of fishing, along with what type of equipment is necessary for a lifetime of future success. One key fishing essential is your kids’ fishing pole. Having a fishing rod that’s best for their skill level and physical stature can help make their time – and yours – outdoors more fun than frustrating.
Kids fishing rods are essentially scaled-down adult fishing poles that cater more to the child profile. When searching for a fishing pole for your child, there are a few qualities you should look for to ensure their equipment is kid-friendly, yet effective at the same time. You should consider traits such as length, weight, usability, and durability. But first, you need to decide on which style of reel your child’s fishing pole should pair with.
When it comes to compatibility with beginner fishing poles, there are two preferred styles of reels. One is open-faced (spinning reels) and the other is closed-faced (spincast or “push-button” reels). Baitcast reels are also fantastic fishing options and might be the reel of choice for your adult fishing setup. However, they probably aren't the best beginner option due to their more advanced components and required skill level.
- Spincast reels are attached to spinning rods and feature a push-button mechanism that activates the reel’s line release. This can make for an easy and simple casting process with little complications. As a result, many beginner fishermen often start on this closed-faced style. This angling option is very user-friendly and a great choice for children under 6 years of age or kids who can’t regularly practice their casting. You can easily find spincast reels individually or featured in rod and reel combos designed specifically for children. Some rod and reel combos even come with designs featuring popular cartoons and characters, so your little angler can add some personality and flair to their fishing setup.
- As your child advances in their expertise and learns to cast with greater ease, you can then move them up to using an open-faced design. Spinning reels, best suited for children over the age of 7, can be a great option for youngsters whose interest in the sport of fishing grows with age. Having your child use a spinning reel can also make for an easier transition to more “adult” fishing setups and can give their equipment more of a mature feel.
BONUS PRO TIP: Spinning reels can be the better option for beginner fishermen taking to saltwater. They are much easier to clean and the reel’s open design features less surface area for salt deposits to collect and cause mechanical problems.
ROD LENGTH AND MATERIAL
Once you have the reel style chosen for your child’s fishing pole, you can then focus on the rod length. While your little angler might want to cast that 10-foot surf rod, as humorous as that may be, you want to aim for a rod length that is just long enough so that your kid can comfortably handle the equipment. You don’t want to sacrifice their casting capabilities with a rod that’s too short, but you also don’t want to squash their fishing confidence by stocking them with gear that they can’t maneuver properly or efficiently. Most kids’ fishing rods will be roughly three to four feet in length, allowing for a fine balance between comfort and performance. As your child becomes more experienced, be sure to adjust their rod length accordingly.
You should also look to gear your kids up with fishing equipment that will survive, well, your kids. Children can put a toll on gear, so having a durable rod is key to extended fun on the water. Lightweight-yet-tough materials such as graphite, fiberglass and composite blends can be great options for young anglers learning how to fish, as well as parents who would rather not purchase rod after rod all fishing season.
KID-FRIENDLY FISHING ACCESSORIES
A pint-sized fishing rod should also include kid-friendly add-ons, right? To accent your child’s fishing pole, be sure to pick up some items like a casting plug for practice, as well as some snap swivels and bobbers to fill your little angler’s tackle box. There are even bobbers that cover the hook end of your fishing line through the cast, adding some additional safety precautions to your child’s fishing ensemble. Many child rod and reel combos may come with some fishing accessories but adding to their tackle assortment can always be another fantastic learning and bonding experience for you and your child.
Understanding how to choose children’s fishing poles can help you take one step closer to hooking into some unforgettable family moments this year. Use these Pro Tips to help you gear your little angler up for a lifetime’s worth of fishing fun.