Teaching a kid to fish might be one of the most quintessential adult/youth experiences. There’s the joy of landing that first fish—and all the other fish that will follow. But it’s also about the experience of the whole activity. Learning to cast, baiting the hook, waiting and watching the line, and enjoying simply being on the water with friends and family before you have to deal with the first strike. Angling also teaches kids the core values of learning a skill set that requires dexterity and patience, which is why you want to find a rod that will encourage them to love the sport, rather than frustrating them into quitting after the first miscast.
Best Overall: PLUSINNO Kids Fishing Pole Combo for Youth Fishing
One of the most popular options on Amazon, the PLUSINNO Kids Fishing Pole Combo includes almost everything you need to introduce your little one to the sport. The highlight is the telescopic fishing rod, which measures 3.94 feet in length and weighs just 2.2 ounces. It features a non-slip EVA foam handle that’s just the right size for little hands; and folds down into a compact 14.5-inch package perfect for storing in the toy cupboard back home. The combo also includes a spincast reel, which can be mounted for right or left-hand use.
The reel’s simple design is ideally suited to teaching young kids to cast. It’s less complex than a baitcaster and less prone to line twists and tangles than a traditional open-faced spinning reel. The 5.2:1 gear ratio gives budding anglers just the right blend of power and speed. The combo also comes with fishing line and tackle, including a selection of crankbaits, float bobbers, jig heads, soft lures, swivels and sinkers suited to a range of different fishing situations. A tackle box is also offered for an additional fee.
Best for Beginners: Shakespeare Catch a Monster Spincast Combo
The bright, eye-turning graphics of the Catch a Monster Spincast Combo from Shakespeare are sure to appeal to young anglers looking to dip their big toe into the sport. Available in either purple or orange with a fun monster graphic illustration on the pre-spooled reel, this all-in-one combo comes with a 2 foot, 6-inch rod and clean spincast reel with an easy-to-operate round knob. An extended thumb button that you press to cast and then release to lock isn’t easy to accidentally trigger, while the finger loop at the handle provides comfortable control over the rod.
It even includes a bright blue practice casting minnow to get the kids used to the idea of casting before they handle hooks or bait. The included line is rated to 6 pounds, and provides a moderate overall action that’ll foster easy fishing, rather than frustration.
Best for Older Kids: Shakespeare Ugly Stik Youth 2-Piece Fishing Rod/Reel
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Youth Two-Piece Fishing Rod is a 5 foot, 6-inch medium-action spinning rod ideally sized for older kids. Its graphite and fiberglass construction makes it both durable and lightweight; while the brand’s Clear Tip design allows for added responsiveness to even the lightest nibbles and strikes. The latter leads to a better success rate, increased confidence and a greater chance of your kid becoming a lifelong fishing fan.
The EVA split grip is specially designed for smaller hands. The rod breaks down into two pieces for easy transport and storage and includes a spinning reel with a sturdy anodized aluminum spool and one ball bearing for smoother casting and retrieval. You can adapt the handle to suit right or left-handed users. With a 6-pound line, the reel has a maximum capacity of 145 yards. This increases to 255 yards when using lighter found-pound line.
Best Complete Kit: Lanaak Kids Fishing Rod & Reel Combo Kit
While all rods on this list include a reel and various accessories, the Lanaak Kids Fishing Rod Combo Kit incorporates everything your child could need for a fun-filled day by the water. As well as a telescoping rod and spincast reel, this 47-piece set includes a minnow net, a beginner’s guide to fishing and a tackle box with equipment to suit all occasions.
Little ones will love learning when to use the floating bobbers, jig heads, plastic worms and crank baits; while hooks, swivels and split sinkers make up their tackle box essentials. The net can be used for catching live bait. The rod measures 5 feet, 1 inch in length but folds away to just 17 inches for storage in the included carry bag.
So, only grab from the above-mentioned best kid’s fishing gear.