A wonderful way to bond with your child is to take them fishing. There’s nothing like the outdoors, fresh air and catching a first fish that makes a spring, summer or fall day complete. But before you hand them one of your old fishing rods from when you were a kid, it’s worth buying a new one just for them.
Choosing the right fishing rod will make all the difference when it comes to a successful fishing trip. While it won’t guarantee a catch, it will, in fact, increase the chance of getting that first fish.
If you aren’t sure which fishing rod to choose, we’ve got a list of the best fishing rods for kids that will sure to have them catching a big one in no time. There are a variety of fishing rods on this list for a variety of ages and as a bonus, most work for even those on a tighter budget.
Let’s take a closer look at what to look for when choosing a fishing rod for your child.
Choosing a fishing rod for your child
Whether you are an experienced angler or a beginner yourself, let’s take a look at a few things to keep in mind when choosing a fishing pole for your child.
Open-faced vs closed-face reel
Closed-face reels, also known as spincast reels, are a great choice for beginners. A spincast reel has a push button that makes it easy for kids to cast.
Open-faced reels, also known as spinning reels, are better for kids who have some fishing experience and are over the age of 7.
Length of rod
For most children, the fishing rod should between 3 to 5 feet long. You want to make sure that the fishing rod isn’t too long so that your child can control it when casting off and reeling in.
A lightweight, flexible rod makes it easier for young kids to handle. But keep in mind, while plastic is a lightweight material, choosing a durable yet light material such as fiberglass, will ensure that the fishing rod will last for fishing trips to come.
There’s no need to break the bank when it comes to a good fishing rod. Like we mentioned before, the fishing rods on this list are all very affordable.
The Fishing Checklist
If you have experience fishing, you know that you and your child are going to need a lot more than just a fishing rod. Whether you choose a fishing rod that includes all the accessories or you choose to buy the accessories separately, here’s a list of all the supplies you and your child will need for your fishing adventure.
Fishing rod and reel. This is the first thing you’ll want to pack for your fishing trip. Make sure you have a fishing rod for both you and your child.
Fishing license. Check with your state laws to learn more about obtaining a fishing license. Some states require anyone over a certain age to have a fishing license. You can purchase a license online, over the phone and at certain retail stores.
Fishing Line. Six-pounds fishing line is a good place to start. This type of fishing line works for a variety of fish.
Hooks. Different fish require different hooks, so we strongly recommend you purchase a variety pack. Bait hooks are a great choice for beginners.
Bait or Lures. You have one question when it comes to bait: will it be real or fake? The most popular live bait options are worms and crickets.
Lures, on the other hand, are made of plastic and are made to look like fish or even crabs. One other option that works great for kids is simply using a balled-up piece of bread.
Floats or sinkers. As you can guess by their names, floats help float the bait while sinkers help sink the bait.
Pliers, gloves, and a bucket. You’ve caught a fish! Now what? You’ll need a pair of gloves and pliers to get the fish off the hook. And of course, you’ll need a bucket to put your catch of the day.
Miscellaneous supplies. Other supplies you’ll want to strongly consider bringing with you include sunscreen, bug spray, and towels. It’s also a good idea to pack snacks and drinks, especially for your young angler.
And finally, don’t forget to bring a camera. You’ll want a picture of them with their first catch!
Tips for Fishing with Kids
Now that you’ve prepped all your gear, here are a few tips to make your fishing trip with your child a successful one!
Choose a great spot. Kids want to catch a fish and catch it ASAP. Try to find a spot that has plenty of fish for kids to catch. Also, choosing a spot that has a bathroom nearby if possible is a wise choice.
Have everything ready to go. Make sure you have all your gear organized and ready for when you get there. You don’t want to have to run out for missing tackle or bait. And as we mentioned before, don’t forget to pack drinks and snacks!
Patience is key. Fishing requires patience, which is something some (*ahem* most) children might not have a ton of. Lead by example and show them how to be patient. Use the time to talk with your child and teach them all there is to know about fishing.
Remember to have fun! Stay flexible and take breaks when needed. Have kids explore the immediate area and come back to fish if they get bored.
Best Fishing Rods for Kids
Now that you know what you need in order to go fishing as well as what to look for in a great fishing rod for kids, it’s time to see which are the best of the best! Here are our top 10 favorite fishing rods for kids.
1. PLUSSINNO Kids Fishing Pole Combo
The PLUSSINNO Kids Fishing Pole comes with everything (and we mean everything) you need to start fishing. The telescoping fishing pole and spincast reel are lightweight and easy to use, perfect for the budding fisherman.
This set is available with a 4-foot rod or a 5-foot rod and also comes in two color choices, blue and black. The convenient travel bag holds not only the fishing pole but all the included accessories kids will need on their fishing trip including hooks, beads, soft lures, hard lure, swivels, jig heads, bobbers and more.
- Includes travel bag and all the fishing accessory kids will need.
- Easy to use spincast reel.
- Affordable price.
- Quick set up.
- Great for beginners.
- Nothing! We love everything about this set.
2. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2
Don’t let the name fool you. There’s nothing “ugly” about the UglyStik GX2. This high-quality fishing rod and reel combo is a thing of beauty and perfect for older kids who are eager to cast off.
The UglyStik GX2 is available in different sizes and weights including a 4’8” ultra-lightweight rod, a 5-foot lightweight rod, all the way up to a 7-foot lightweight rod. This 2-piece rod is super durable since it’s made out of made of graphite and fiberglass. And for those extra big catches, the EVA grips were effective so hands won’t slip when reeling in a big fish.
- Multiple sizes are available.
- Durable fiberglass and graphite rod.
- Effective EVA grips.
- A great choice for older kids and beginners.
- Reel quality isn’t as great as the rod. May wear prematurely.
3. Zebco 404 Spincast Combo
Looking for a fishing rod for a beginner but on a tight budget? The Zebco 404 Spincast Combo is a great choice. The fiberglass rod and all-metal reel are durable and it even comes with a pre-spooled line.
This rod is 6 feet long which will work for slightly older kids. We also like the built-in bite alert and hook keeper. And for the price, it’s hard to beat.
- Very affordable.
- Durable fiberglass rod and all-metal reel.
- It comes with a pre-spooled line.
- Built-in bite alert and hook keeper.
- The reel is a little heavy.
4. Kid Casters Tangle-Free Fishing Pole and Spincast Combo
Made specifically for kids, the Kid Casters fishing pole and spincast combo set are super lightweight and easy to use, but we know kids will especially love all the fun character design it comes in.
Choose from characters like Despicable Me, Shimmer & Shine, My Little Pony, Paw Patrol and more. Not only does the fishing rod look fun but the overall construction makes fishing a little easier thanks to the fishing line being in the shaft of the rod to prevent the line from getting tangled.
- Plenty of fun character designs to choose from.
- No-tangle fishing line design.
- Pre-spooled with a six-pound monofilament line.
- Great for extra young fisherman.
- May not withstand a ton of use.
5. IEBIYO Rod
What makes the IEBIYO such a great choice for kids is the ergonomic handle and collapsible design. The handle is soft and comfortable to hold but does not lack in the durability department. The collapsible design makes it portable and easy for kids to carry.
This IBEIYO rod comes with fishing line, so kids can start fishing ASAP. The carrying case has plenty of room to carry all the accessories needed (but not included) for fishing.
- Durable carrying case with plenty of space for accessories.
- Ergonomic handle makes it comfortable to hold.
- Includes fishing line.
- Guide rings protected by a plastic cap.
- Not strong enough to hold up to catching larger fish.
6. Shakespeare Youth Fishing Kit
When you think of a little kid’s fishing rod, this is the type that comes to mind. This super-affordable fishing rod by Shakespeare is simple to use and it comes in character designs your child will love.
The rod is 2’6” and has a thumb button extension to make it easy for kids to cast. This is a reel and rod combo, which means no assembly required. And when it comes to choices, they have plenty of character designs to choose from, like Barbie, Captain America, Frozen and much more.
- Smaller size perfect for little kids.
- Simple design makes it easy to use.
- It comes in a variety of fun character designs.
- Affordable price.
- Won’t work for kids who are lefties.
- It doesn’t float.
7. YONGZHI Spinning Reels Kids Fishing Pole
This telescopic fishing rod by YONGZHI packs away quickly and compactly and extends to 60” long. We also like that the reel can be switched from being a right-handed handle to a left-handed handle.
Included with this fishing pole is a drawstring backpack, tackle box, fishing lures, fishing line and more. Perfect for freshwater fishing, this affordable set is a great choice for beginners.
- The telescopic design makes it easy to pack away.
- It comes with all the accessories kids will need to fish.
- Affordable price.
- It comes with instructions to teach kids how to cast.
- The handle can be switched for right or left hand.
- May not hold up well to a ton of use.
8. Zebco 33 Spincast Combo
This is a tried and true fishing rod loved by experienced and beginner fishermen alike. The Zebco 33 Spincast Combo is a durable, well-made 5’6″ fishing rod that breaks down into two pieces for easy transport.
Included with the Zebco 33 is a tackle “wallet” as well as 100 yards of fishing line. The handle can be switched from right-handed to left-handed and the pole has a convenient built-in hook holder.
- Includes 100-yards of 10 pound Cajun line.
- Great for beginner or experienced fishermen.
- Includes a tackle wallet filled with tackle as well as fishing line.
- The handle can be switched for left to right-handed.
- It may take a little time for kids to learn how to use it.
9. Lanaak Kids Fishing Pole Kit
The Lanaak fishing pole kit for kids travels well and is super compact in the included carrying case. It includes a total of 37 pieces including a tackle box containing floating bobbers, hooks, jig heads, plastic worms, and crankbait lure.
The push-button design makes the fishing pole easy to cast. Still need a little help? This set includes a fishing starter guide and even includes links to their instructional videos to get kids fishing on their own.
- Includes everything kids will need to fish include a fully stocked tackle box.
- Pre-spooled reel.
- The easy push-button design makes it easy to cast.
- Includes a starter guide for kids.
- The compact carrying case makes it perfect for travel.
- Reeling in the line isn’t smooth.
10. Play22 Fishing Pole for Kids
Like the Lannak fishing pole set, the Play22 set includes a bag, net, and tackle box as well as the fishing rod and reel itself. The difference? The price is so low, you’ll have no problem buying one for each of your children.
The telescopic fishing pole breaks down to a mere 14 inches and packs away in the included carrying case. The tackle box includes soft lure, hard lure, sinkers, beads, barrel swivel, bobbers, dual alert bell and more.
- Super affordable price.
- Tackle box has everything kids need to fish.
- Everything fits into the included carrying case.
- The included tackle box is pretty small for the number of accessories included.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What types of bait should my child use?
A: In general, the best choices are worms and crickets. Worms are a classic choice and are readily available for purchase at any fishing store.
Crickets are also a great choice but are not always available at bait stores. However, many fish love them more than worms!
Bread is also another good option, especially for kids who don’t want to hook a worm. Simply roll into a small ball and place it on the hook. However, not all fish like bread.
Q: What type of fishing line should I get for my child’s fishing pole?
A: Stick with a lightweight line, anywhere from four- to eight-pound line. This will allow kids to catch a variety of fish. Anything more than eight-pounds line will be too heavy for kids.
Q: How long should I go fishing with my kids?
A: For kids under 12 years old, especially kids who are just fishing for the first time, keep the trip on the shorter side, around four hours. Anything more than that, kids will probably get bored.
And as we mentioned before, don’t be afraid of taking breaks.
Out of all the fishing rods on this list, the PLUSSINNO fishing pole kit is hard to beat. Not only does it come with a great fishing rod, but it has everything kids need for their fishing trip. We also love that it comes in both 4 and 5 feet so it works for a variety of kids.
But if you have an extra young tot who is excited to fish with you, don’t pass up the super affordable Kid Caster tangle-free fishing pole. The fun color and design choices, as well as the tangle-free line design on top of the price tag, make this a great choice for little ones.