7 Best Kids Fishing Poles: Rods Reviewed For Children

by Andrew

7 Best Kids Fishing Poles: Rods Reviewed For Children

by Andrew

by Andrew

Fishing has always been one of the best ways to have wholesome family fun together. Everyone remembers their first fishing rod and the people who taught them how to use one. Check out this guide to find the best beginner fishing rod for kids to get your little ones started.

Preview

Product

Recommended Ages

Rod Length

Handle Type

Check Price

Shakespeare 1402959 Disney Mickey Kit

Shakespeare Youth

4+

2’6”

Full Grip

Zebco Dock Demon Spinning Reel and Fishing...

Zebco Dock Demon

5 - 14

2’6”

Full Grip

ODDSPRO Kids Fishing Pole, Portable...

ODDSPRO

6 - 12

3’9”

Split Grip

Kid Casters Paw Patrol Fishing Kit

Kid Casters Paw Patrol

4 - 10

2’5.5”

Full Grip

Shakespeare USYTHSP30CBO Youth Ugly Stik GX2...

Shakespeare Youth Ugly Stik GX2

7 - 15

5’6”

Split Grip

Zebco 33PL602M, 10C, NS3 Zebco 33Pl/plc602m...

Zebco 33

10 - 16

6’0”

Split Grip

PLUSINNO Kids Fishing Pole,Light and Portable...

PLUSINNO Youth Fishing

8 - 14

4’11”

Split grip


How to Choose the Best Fishing Rod for Kids

Ease of Use

Just like spinning reels are a bit easier than baitcasters, some kids' fishing rods are more straightforward than others. Some work with spin casting reels, and others have smaller approximations designed specifically for children under 10. The best fishing rod for 12-year-old anglers is likely to be a bit more complicated than the one for 7-year-olds. The trick is to find a fishing rod that is easy to use but still challenges the child to sharpen their angling skills.

Child-Friendly Design

Some kids want to see their favorite movie or television character on their fishing rod, and others want a rod that mimics the rods they see their parents and other adults using. That largely depends on the child’s age. Once they get to be around 12 years old, the child will probably leave the Toy Story, Paw Patrol, or Frozen characters behind for a more mature design. Luckily, there are kids fishing poles with both kinds of designs.

Rod Weight & Length

Kids’ fishing poles are generally shorter than the ones meant for adults for obvious reasons. The rods built for kids heading into their teenage years are probably a bit longer than the rods for the under-10 crowd, but even these rods will be between 5 and 6 feet. Investing in a 5’6” rod or longer for kids is a great idea because there will always be some applications where they can continue to use a rod of that length.

Durability

Kids love to smash and drop things, on accident or otherwise. Some cheap kids’ fishing poles are built with plastic and won’t hold up to abuse, but they’re also inexpensive and easily replaced. More durable rods for kids who are serious about their angling are a better bet and usually prepare them for casting regular fishing rods much better. The more sophisticated graphite or fiberglass rod blanks are also more likely to be covered by a warranty.

Rod Type

Most kids’ fishing rods aren’t designed for use with complicated baitcasting reels, but there are other varieties for use with spinning reels or spin casters with push-button operation. These rod styles usually differ in the location of the reel and line guides, as well as the rod blank performance. It's likely easiest for kids to start them on a spin caster or push-button reel at a young age and progress them up to spinning reels when they're ready.

Extra Tackle Included?

The fastest way to get out on the water is to buy a kids’ fishing rod with all the tackle included. If there’s also a carry case and tackle box, so much the better. The youngest kids are likely to fling soft lures into the water and injure themselves on sharp hooks, but there are also plastic casting minnows for these little ones to practice. Older kid anglers will love to have extra tackle and learn how to use it.

Price Vs. Experience

There’s no need to get a realistic spinning rod and reel for children under 10 who have never fished before. These are usually the more expensive rods as well. The youngest and most novice children are probably going to destroy their first rod somehow, which is why cheap kids fishing poles are the most common starter rod. More serious kid anglers will love the sense of accomplishment when they graduate to the more expensive spinning combos.


7 Best Fishing Poles for Kids Reviewed

1. Shakespeare Youth

Best Beginner Fishing Rod for Kids

Recommended Ages

4+

Rod Length

2’6”

Rod Weight

Unspecified

Handle Type

Full Grip

Best Feature

Minnow casting plug

Although it looks like nothing more than a plastic toy, Shakespeare has designed this kids fishing rod with a few features that make it a fully functional rod for sunfish and other small targets. For one thing, it’s weighted so that it feels more like a real rod. It also comes with a little plastic minnow attached that makes smooth, so practice is more realistic. It’s possible to secure a hook instead of the practice minnow so kids can even catch smaller species like perch. 

If there’s one drawback to this Shakespeare kids fishing pole, it’s that it sinks like a rock. It doesn’t even wait to take on water; it just plummets through the water. That can be troublesome when a kid drops it, but the addition of a simple wrist strap solves this problem completely. Cheap kids fishing poles like this usually don’t last very long, but this Shakespeare kids fishing pole is surprisingly durable.

The reel handle is the best for little kids to keep a grip on. It’s made out of EVA foam, and it’s oversized so small hands can grip it more easily. There’s also a thumb button extension and a finger guard to simultaneously introduce some of the functionality of a baitcaster and prevent injuries. This Shakespeare kids fishing pole comes in popular designs, including Toy Story and Frozen, to make it appealing for all genders and interested. 

Pros
  • Casts great
  • Oversized reel handle
  • Thumb bar included
  • Realistic casting
  • Inexpensive
Cons
  • Sinks in water

2. Zebco Dock Demon

Best Spinning Fishing Rod for Kids

Recommended Ages

5 - 14

Rod Length

2’6”

Rod Weight

Unspecified

Handle Type

Full Grip

Best Feature

Spinning reel

The Dock Demon is one of the most realistic spinning rod and reel combos for kids. The spinning reel is just the same as they make to adults, even if it’s not as effective. It can be set to spin in one direction or both forward and backward. The rod is short, but for kids it’s perfect. They can cast out, and the rod is powerful enough to haul in some pretty good-sized walleye and bluegill. Everything on this kids’ fishing rod works well, considering how inexpensive it is, although the line that comes with it tends to break too easily.

Replacing the 6 lb. test that comes on this rod with something a bit stronger will save lots of wasted time and energy. The spinning reel can hold up to 135 yards of 6 lb. test, and the rod blank is made of Z-Glass, a proprietary variant of fiberglass. While an adult-sized rod might be too flexible if it were made out of this material, it gives this smaller kids fishing rod just the right action.

If you’re used to using a regular spinning reel, then the drag on this kids reel will not impress you. That being said, it can still bring in some fish, and it's one of the most practical introductions into spinning reels for kids who have no experience using one. Although it’s meant to be a kids fishing rod, even adults can have lots of fun using this combo for kayak or ice fishing.

Pros
  • Realistic spinning combo
  • Great action
  • Holds plenty of line
Cons
  • Weak stock line
  • So-so drag system

3. ODDSPRO

Best Telescopic Fishing Rod for Kids

Recommended Ages

6 - 12

Rod Length

3’9”

Rod Weight

1.23 Lbs.

Handle Type

Split Grip

Best Feature

Tacklebox

This kids’ fishing rod is an excellent all-in-one setup. It’s super portable because the rod collapses and fits into the included carry case, which is lightweight even when everything is packed up inside it. It also comes with a tackle box with all the hooks and lures a kid might need to go fishing, including crankbaits, float bobbers, jig heads, fishing lures, soft lures, and swivels, and sinkers. Getting out on the water with the kids has never been easier.

It’s also an excellent primer for kids who will one day get into baitcasters. The reel in this combo is a spincaster, but it will introduce the thumb movement needed to cast and feather with a baitcasting reel later on. More experienced anglers might generally prefer a fast action rod, but the medium action of this kids fishing rod is perfect for youngsters just beginning their fishing careers.

Having a split handle on a kids' fishing rod is rare, but that’s just one way this rod beats most of the plastic competition. The reel seat holds the reel just as well as any adult fishing rod, and the line guides let the angler maintain great line control. Most kids might not be able to tell the difference, but they’ll still have much more fun with this kids’ fishing rod because it will help them catch more fish. It’s the best fishing rod with kit available, not just for its convenience and portability but also for its outstanding performance.

Pros
  • Portable
  • Everything included
  • Split handle
  • Softer action
Cons
  • Closed reel

4. Kid Casters Paw Patrol

Best Cheap Kids Fishing Poles

Recommended Ages

4 - 10

Rod Length

2’5.5”

Rod Weight

0.6 Lbs.

Handle Type

Full Grip

Best Feature

Spincast Reel

This Kid Casters fishing pole is one of the more simplistic models, but it works dependably for kids as young as 4 years old. It could easily be mistaken for a pool toy, but if you attach a fish hook, it can still pull in small sunfish, bluegill, perch, or any small species like that. It also comes with some plastic fish so kids can practice casting in the backyard if they want to. There are about 40 yards on the reel, which should be plenty for most kids’ angling needs.

Just like other kids fishing rods that have a spincaster attached, this one does a great job introducing the importance of thumb movements during casting and gives children a great way to practice. This spincast reel is particularly useful thanks to its easy-to-grip handle and the ease with which it dispenses line.

Many people like to buy a Kid Casters fishing pole to play a kids fishing rod game, but this one will also catch some smaller fish with a bit of luck. It’s a bit too lightweight to give a real impression of what casting should feel like. That being said, this is still one of the best beginner fishing rods for kids who have no experience whatsoever, and especially for little tykes younger than 10.

Pros
  • Grippable handle
  • Ideal for casting practice
  • Simple spincast reel
  • Paw Patrol branding
Cons
  • Too lightweight

5. Shakespeare Youth Ugly Stik GX2

Best Rod and Reel Combo for Teens

Recommended Ages

7 - 15

Rod Length

5’6”

Rod Weight

Unspecified

Handle Type

Split Grip

Best Feature

Ugly Stik Rod

Depending on their experience level, this Shakespeare Youth rod might be suitable for kids as young as seven. Any children who have some experience with smaller kids fishing rods and are ready to graduate or have outgrown shorter rods will have lots of fun with this combo, based on the Shakespeare Ugly Stik that adult anglers are likely already familiar with. Just like the adult version, the Ugly Stik rod included in this combo is practically unbreakable and has a beautiful action that helps set the hook cleanly.

The blank of the Youth GX2 is made of a fiberglass and graphite composite that gives it a stellar performance and lightness to prevent fatigue. There’s also a clear tip at the end of this fishing rod that gives it strength and responsiveness. The spinning reel is a bit lackluster compared to more professional-grade models, but for beginners, it’s a great introduction for spooling the line and flipping the bail manually. It has a smooth operation and a strong spool, so it won't give out when there's a fish on.

One other advantage of having a Shakespeare Ugly Stik rod as a beginner is that they have a significant amount of sensitivity. It can be challenging for newcomers to feel when they should set the hook, but this rod will be a great learning tool for that. The line guides are also much tougher than you would expect on a kids' fishing rod.

Pros
  • Glass & graphite composite
  • Strong line guides
  • Useful length
  • Great sensitivity
  • Durable rod blank
Cons
  • So-so spinning reel

6. Zebco 33

Best Spincast Fishing Rod for Children

Recommended Ages

10 - 16

Rod Length

6’0”

Rod Weight

0.9 Lbs.

Handle Type

Split Grip

Best Feature

All-metal construction

For the intermediate period, when kids are too big or prefer not to be using plastic Paw Patrol rods, but they can't quite hack it with an adult-sized fishing rod yet, you have the Zebco 33.  The all-metal construction of this rod and reel combo make it feel much more serious than any of the kids fishing rods yet mentioned in this guide. For all that metal, though, this rod is still reasonably lightweight. Even younger anglers likely won’t have any wrist or arm fatigue after casting this rod throughout the day.

Spin casters are great because they aren’t as intimidating as baitcasters but still prepare kids for using their thumb during a cast. Upgrading to this rod is kind of like taking the training wheels off a bike. It can hold up to 100 yards of 10-pound test, much more than kids fishing rods aimed at younger and less experienced anglers. The rod is also longer - long enough for adults to use, really.

Carrying this rod around is fairly easy since it breaks down into two separate pieces. It has a medium action that is very forgiving, which is great for beginners. Small bass and rainbow trout can be reeled in with this setup without any issue. Kids with smaller hands might have some trouble with it, but most 10-year-olds and over will love it.

Pros
  • Lightweight
  • Higher line capacity
  • Durable
  • Great castability
Cons
  • A bit large for under 10s

7. PLUSINNO Youth Fishing

Value for Money

Recommended Ages

8 - 14

Rod Length

4’11”

Rod Weight

0.14 Lbs.

Handle Type

Split Grip

Best Feature

Spinning Reel Placement

Another kids fishing pole for anyone who wants an all-inclusive package, this PLUSINNO youth rod has a convenient telescoping design and a rod blank that can handle small- to medium-sized fish. For that matter, with some skill and luck, it might even pick up six or seven-pound targets. All the tackle required is included with purchase, from the tackle box to lures and tackle like crankbaits, float bobbers, sinkers, stoppers, jigheads, soft lures in both red and green, rolling barrel swivels, and fishing beads.

Even though it costs a bit more than some of the other options in this guide, the PLUSINNO isn't that much more expensive. Its design is appealing for children who want a rod that looks like the ones mom and dad have. The included reel works just like any other spinning reel, making this a great instrument for teaching kids.

The handle and reel are just the right sizes for smaller hands and fingers. The reel holds plenty of line, and you can swap out the line and reel just like you would with any other spinning combo, which means you can start introducing the concept of different line weights and lure options to the kids. Measuring in at just under five feet, this rod is an ideal length for smaller kids, but teenagers who want to practice longer casting might be better suited with a longer rod. Still, this is probably the best fishing rod for 12-year-old kids who are just getting into fishing.

Pros
  • Telescopic construction
  • All tackle & box included
  • Authentic spinning reel
  • Durable rod blank
Cons
  • Shorter rod

5 Questions to Ask When Buying a Kid’s Fishing Rod

  • How old is your child?
    Some kids will be ahead of the curve, but usually, plastic rods are the best choice for ages 4 - 8, and kids above that age are more likely to use graphite and glass rods the right way.
  • How much experience does your kid have?
    Most kids take time to get used to fishing tactics. It will always depend on how often they get to practice, so finding a kids fishing rod that can let them practice in the backyard is always the best choice.
  • Are they usually destructive with their stuff?
    Most kids are accident-prone, and others are purposefully reckless. Whichever the case, buying a sensitive and expensive rod should wait until the kid can take care of it.
  • Which types of water do you plan to fish in?
    If you fish in choppy water or off a kayak, you should be ready for the kid to drop their rod in the water at some point. Saltwater rods should be able to stand up to corrosion.
  • What kind of fish are you planning to target when fishing with the family?
    Smaller sunfish, bluegill, and even walleye and small bass are all possibilities. But the kid's rod should be able to handle at least the smallest kind of target or fish found in the same location.

Tips for Teaching Kids How to Fish

First of all, be ready for some zany questions. Do fish sleep? The kids are probably going to ask. Practicing at home will also help keep them focused. Make sure they hold the rod in their dominant hand and understand the flicking motion of the cast.

A kids fishing pole game using a small pool at home is the best way to introduce the sport to really young kids. Ensure they understand safety issues like life jackets, how close they can stand to the water, and how to swim and handle hooks if they’re old enough.


Additional Features for Fishing With Experienced Kids

  • 2-Piece Rod
    For more portability, some rods break down into two or more pieces. This is a great way to make sure smaller kids can carry their gear.
  • Push Button Spincast
    Spincast reels are a great introduction for new anglers of all ages. Many kids rods have a thumb button that will help kids get used to the casting action of a baitcaster.
  • Pre-Spooled Reel
    Save time with a pre-spooled reel. Just remember that the stock line might be weaker, and changing it out before you get on the water is the wisest move.
  • Closed Reel
    Open-faced reels are more prone to line tangles, but closed reels make it harder to fix line tangles when they do happen.
  • Changeable Retrieve
    Fishing reels tend to have a reverse action for certain methods. Kids’ reels might also have an auto anti-reverse and only spin in one direction.

People Also Ask (FAQs)

What is the main difference between an adult and a kid’s fishing rod?

The most apparent difference is the length of the rod. The rod action is almost always slower on kid’s rods because it’s more forgiving for beginners. Rods for the youngest children are unlikely to come with sharp hooks included.

How do you rig a kid’s fishing pole?

Rigging a kid's fishing pole is just the same as rigging one for an adult. Some simpler rods come ready to fish right out of the box. For more complicated versions, just spool line on the reel by winding it backward and then feed the line through the rod’s line guides.

How do I determine the right length rod to get for my little one?

It should be proportional to both the child's height and weight, as well as how far they’ll likely be casting it. Older kids should get longer rods since they’ll be able to cast them out a good distance while smaller kids are fine with rods that are only a few feet long.

Where can I fish safely with my child?

With the right safety equipment and a watchful eye, kids can fish from just about anywhere. Of course, the smaller rods for young children won’t reach the water from the deck of a boat, and the lakeshore or dock is probably going to be a better spot.

Where can I find the best fishing pole for little kids?

Amazon has the widest variety of kids fishing rods and the most frequent sales. Many of the Amazon sellers are the products' manufacturers anyway, so the warranty will still apply if there is one in place.


Conclusion

A kids fishing rod should be easy to use but still be able to catch some fish. The Shakespeare Youth rod has both of these features, and it's one of the best ways for new anglers to practice casting, which makes it the best kids fishing pole on the market.

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