Fishing was precious family memory making time when I was growing up. We enjoyed taking fishing trips close to home as well as trying out locations far away and even deep sea fishing. I have fond memories of spending hours on end fishing from a motor boat with my father and grandfather. Not only did we make some fantastic catches, we also had some conversations that impacted my life.
I always planned on enjoying fishing with my own children. We were going to have blissful fishing adventures where everyone caught loads of fish and had a great time being together. Enter reality… The first several times we took our kids fishing were complete disasters. We used my grandpa’s old fishing gear, which I thought would be nostalgic but instead was a huge headache.
Our young kids were trying to use equipment that was made for experienced adults. They couldn’t possibly cast, and we spent most of the time dealing with tangled line. The kids were whining and crying, and my husband and I were completely frustrated. We vowed not to take the kids fishing again until they were older…much older.
A Beginner Fishing Pole Makes All the Difference
Our oldest son, in spite of our failed fishing attempts, loved to fish. One day he received a beginner fishing pole as a prize from school. He took it out of the packaging and began to practice casting. I was surprised at how easy it was for him to cast, and it made me realize there is an option between a toy fishing pole and an expert level pole.
This discovery has led to many more family fishing outings which have resulted in great memories and lots of fish caught. Rather than dreading going fishing, my kids now are constantly begging to go. Here is what we have discovered is most beneficial when looking for a fishing pole for kids. It also helps to have some good beginning fishing tips.
21 Starter Fishing Poles for Young Kids
|Zebco Roam 3Sz|
|Zebco 202 Lady Spincast|
|Zebco Kylo Ren|
|Eagle Claw Pack-It |
|Ugly Stik GX2 |
when a fish is on the line
|Ugly Stik Spinning Kit|
|ODDSPRO Fishing Set|
|QudraKast Kids Fishing Pole|
|Zebco Dock Demon|
|Shakespeare Youth Fishing Kit|
|Kid Casters Fishing Kit|
|Zebco Splash Junior|
What to Look for in a Kids’ Fishing Pole
Closed reel for beginners
I typically don’t love open reels for kids because it is easier for them to tangle up the line (and I don’t have the patience for extra tangles). Some people argue that starting a child out with an open reel forces them to be more careful. Those people haven’t met my kids…
Lightweight rod and reel
You don’t want to have extra weight to haul around when fishing with your kids so stick with a lightweight pole and reel.
Push-button spin cast
This makes casting so much easier for kids. Simply push the button to release the line and cast. That is a definite plus!
This is a must for kids. You want the option of pulling the rod apart while your child is walking to or from your fishing spot. With my energetic boys, I can’t imagine how many broken poles we would have had without a 2-piece rod.
Technically, the fishing “rule” is that the taller you are the longer your rod should be. There are other factors to take into account, though (what type of fishing you are doing, the weight of the fish, etc.). Basically, you want something short enough to let you have good control but long enough to give you a good cast capability. The poles on this list are good for kids about 6 and older. They would even work for adults.
If your kids are anything like mine, as soon as they get a new fishing pole they will be begging to go fishing immediately. Buying a pre-spooled reel saves you the time and added expense of changing out the line. All the poles on this list come with fishing line that is adequate for a child to use.
If you have a left-handed child, make sure you get a pole with a changeable retrieve so your lefty doesn’t have to fish right-handed.
Here are good beginner fishing poles that will do the job and not break the bank.
1. Zebco 33 Spincast Combo
The Zebco brand lives up to its quality reputation with the 33 Spincast Combo.
This is a step up from the Zebco 404. It comes with 100 yards of 10-lb line.
The retrieve can be changed for right or left-handed anglers.
Like the 404, the 33 comes with all metal gears and quality housing. Smooth and easy casting are another plus that makes the 33 Spincast Combo a good option for a kid’s fishing pole. The Zebco 33 also comes in a lady version that is pink, which would make a great fishing pole for a young girl.
The 33 also comes with a cheap small tackle box with low-quality tackle.
2. Zebco Roam 3Sz Spincast
For a child or a beginning angler, the Zebco Roam 3Sz is a great choice. This 6 foot fiberglass rod comes in three colors: orange, green, and pink. It has a closed reel and comes pre-spooled with 10-lb. line.
Like some other Zebco poles, this one comes with a changeable retrieve so it can be used by a left or right-handed person.
The gears are all metal, making this reel higher quality than other options. It also has soft touch handles and a soft thumb button, which make manipulating the reel more comfortable.
Easy to assemble, the Roam can be put together by kids who have a little experience. It offers a smooth cast, and that can be the difference between a good fishing trip and a miserable one.
This rod is good for light to medium fish weights.
3. Zebco 202 Lady Rod and Reel Combo
This is another good option for a beginner fishing pole but built perfectly for the girl or young woman in your life who wants to learn to fish. It comes with push-button spin cast reel, which makes casting easy. The closed reel makes it easier for a beginning angler to avoid tangles. This pole has an auto bait alert that lets you know when a fish is on the line.
Don’t let the pink color fool you into thinking this pole is just a toy. The Zebco 202 Slingshot can handle any freshwater fish. Like the other two poles listed above, this one comes in two pieces and extends to 5’6” when assembled. Any girl would have a good fishing experience with this pole. You can’t go wrong with a Zebco!
4. Zebco Star Wars Kylo Ren Spincast Combo
My son loves both Star Wars toys and fishing, so this was the perfect birthday gift for him. He has loved fishing with this pole. It is a great themed pole, with the rod in the shape of Kylo Ren’s lightsaber. The reel is a right hand retrieve and is not changeable, so if you have a lefty this is not the pole you want.
When assembled, the Zebco Star Wars Kylo Ren Spincast Combo measures 5’6″, which is a good for both kids and adults.
Adjustable drag, prespooled 6-lb line, and a great theme make this an excellent choice for a fishing pole for tweens.
This pole isn’t as good quality as the other Zebco poles on this list, but the Star Wars theme makes this a fun pole for kids.
5. Eagle Claw Telescopic Rod Combo
This is another good option for someone who likes to go hiking or take their fishing pole with them over a long distance. It’s also a good one for a family that is going on a short fishing trip. A telescopic rod is a one piece fishing pole that goes from a small length to full length. This Eagle Claw Rod goes from about a foot to a full 5′ 6″, which is a great length for kids or adults.
The reel is made of fiberglass and lightweight aluminum and comes pre-spooled with 10-lb line. This version does have a push button and a closed real making it much easier for kids to cast with this pole.
6. Zebco 404 Spincast Combo
This is a great choice for a beginner fisherman, especially for a child. The rod comes in two pieces, totaling 5’6” long.
It comes with 75 yards of 15-lb line.
Unlike some other rods in this price range, the 404 Spincast Combo has adjustable drag and an on/off anti-reverse, which are great to help kids become more independent anglers.
It is very lightweight, which is a nice bonus when you are hauling fishing gear for the entire family.
The 404 Spincast Combo is easy for kids to cast and reel. This fishing pole is comparable in price to a toy pole, but it is so superior. It comes with a small filled tackle box. However, the tackle is quite cheap and doesn’t equal the quality of the pole. The tackle aside, this is an excellent pole at this price.
7. Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Rod and Reel Combo
The Ugly Stik GX2 is made of lightweight graphite and fiberglass. The grip is designed specifically for a child’s smaller hand. The tip is very responsive, so your angler will know when a fish is on the line.
It comes with a pre-spooled, closed right-handed reel and cannot be changed to be left-handed, so go with a different option if your child is left-handed. This reel is not super high quality, but it is removable so if you decided to change it to a different reel it is easy to do so.
The pole, however, is great quality and will last for years. It is a 2-piece rod that measures 5’6″ when assembled.
Another good fishing pole for young kids is the Ugly Stik Dock Runner. The 36″ rod is a combination of fiberglass and graphite, which makes it strong but still sensitive.
Be aware that this rod comes with an open reel. If your child has some experience casting and is comfortable fishing, the open reel might be a good choice. However, the open reel can lead to a lot of big tangles (which means a lot of time for parents to untangle or cut the line).
The reel comes pre-spooled with 140 yards of 6-lb line. Cork and EVA grips make holding the Dock Runner more comfortable. We find this pole is best for kids under age 8. However, some experienced fly fishermen enjoy using the Dock Runner.
8. Shakespeare Ugly Stik Spinning Fishing Kit
The Shakespeare Ugly Stik Spinning Fishing Kit includes a lightweight, graphite fishing rod that is geared for kids. It comes in two pieces and is five feet long when assembled.
The Ugly Stick has an open reel which can be switched from left to right-handed. A downside to this pole: It is very much a kid’s pole. The other poles on this list are for any beginning fisherman and can be used for a child or adult.
This one isn’t so versatile. It is shorter than the others and is suited to catching smaller fish. It comes with a 64-piece tackle set, but once again, the tackle is very cheap. Be careful when casting this one. The rod can separate so be sure to check that the pieces are assembled tightly before casting or you will have a surprise (and possibly a big tangle) on your hands.
9. Zebco Rambler
This is another great Zebco pole! This 5-foot 3-inch pole is prefect for teens and for all experience levels. Zebco recommends ages 10 – 14, but it is really big enough for a small adult. It collapses down to 24.5 inches which makes it ideal for kayakers, hikers, or campers. One unique feature this pole has is the built-in carabiner. I love this because it can clip to anything so you don’t have to worry about losing it.
The Zebco Rambler has a no-tangle design and a simple push-button that makes this pole great for beginners. The spincast reel is constructed with all-metal gears and has an incredibly smooth retrieve. Maybe best of all is the QuickSet anti-reverse feature that stops the handle from moving backward. This creates a solid hook set in the mouth of the fish so there will be no stories of the “one that got away!”
10. Zebco Wilder
Here is another great Zebco fishing pole. . . you know we love these!
The Wilder fishing pole is perfect for kids between 6 and 9. We love that it can be extended to match the growth kids have during that age. It can extend up to 4’3″ – which is great because you won’t want to replace this pole. You can choose between the Spincast 2 piece Reel or the Telescopic – depending on what you will be using it for. Both poles come with a carabiner, making it possible to keep hands free while you are taking poles to that great fishing hole.
The best thing about the Wilder is that it is made out of fiberglass. And the gears are made out of metal. It is durable enough to withstand a lot. The only thing you might want to watch is the line – it comes with line that works great for smaller fish (4 – 8 lbs) but you can easily replace it with a heavier line if you plan on going after that whopper!
11. ODDSPRO Kids Telescopic Fishing Pole Set
If you want a complete fishing set for a beginner, the ODDSPRO telescopic is a good option. It comes with a telescopic pole, a stocked tackle box, and a carrying case. Available in 4 different colors and 3 different lengths, there is sure to be one that your budding angler will enjoy. Kids love the bright colors and their parents love that this fishing pole is made of quality, safe materials. The rod is lightweight but strong and comfortable to hold.
The reel is closed and comes pre-spooled. Included in the tackle box are bobbers, hooks, swivels, lures, and sinkers. This is a great complete set for a beginner. All you need is bait and you are ready to go. This popular set is great for all fishing adventures. Note that this set is for right handed anglers only; there is not a reversible retrieve.
The DaddyGoFish Fishing Pole is a great set for kids who are just learning to fish. This set has it all: a portable telescopic rod with a pre-spooled reel combo, a collapsible chair, a rod holder, a net, a loaded tackle box, and a nice bag to carry it all in. It not only comes in 14 different colors, but you can choose between a 4 ft and a 5 ft rod.
The tackle box alone is worth getting the set. It has 10 soft lures, a hard lure, 6 float bobbers, 6 jig heads, 4 hooks, 6 treble hooks, 4 swivels, 10 shot sinkers, and a bite alarm bell. The bell will keep young fishermen excited about catching fish. It has a covered reel and the line is tangle free.
But the things I like the most about this set are the chair nice to have a place for little legs to rest and the quality of the equipment. It is durable and well constructed, especially for the price. This really is a great set for beginners.
13. YONGZHI Kids Fishing Pole Set
This is another good telescopic fishing pole set for kids. Complete with a stocked tackle box and carrying case, this set has everything your young fisherman will need. It also comes with extra fishing line and an instruction booklet.
Telescopic up to 60″, this pole is great for kids of any age, and since it shrinks down, it is easy to carry around. The retrieve is changeable, so you can use it for either right or left handed kids.
Be aware that this comes with an open reel so it might be hard for young or beginning anglers. Consider a closed reel for those in that category.
14. Play22 Kids Fishing Pole Kit
The Play22 Kids Fishing Pole is made of a carbon fiber/fiberglass composite material. A telescoping rod, it extends to 65 inches and collapses down to 14″, small enough to fit in a backpack.
This comes with a closed reel, so it is suited for an angler of all ages. Not only can you use this kit to catch a fish, but you can use it to catch bait with a great minnow net.
In addition to the fishing rod, this kit includes basic tackle (spinners, lures, hooks) and a bag to carry it in. Like most of the other tackle included with the kits on this list, this tackle isn’t great quality.
15. QudraKast Kids Fishing Pole
This is a great pole for young kids who are learning fish. The first step in introducing young children to a new activity is, of course, to create excitement. QudraKast knows this and that is why the pole has cute marine animals in a cartoon pattern which kids love. They will be so excited to go fishing!
I love that this pole light weight and easy to use. It has a push-button style of reel and casting, which makes a fishing outing so much more enjoyable for everyone! It doesn’t take up much space, is easy to transport, is durable, and performs quite well. You will definitely get your money’s worth on this pole!
16. Lanaak Kids Fishing Pole and Tackle Box
If you are looking for a good fishing package, the Lanaak Kids Fishing Pole and Tackle Box is a good option. This 37-piece set comes with a rod and reel as well as a tackle box containing hooks, bobbers, sinkers, swivels, and plastic worms.
It also comes with a net so your kiddo can catch minnows or other small fish or insects to use as bait. A small beginner’s guidebook is also included. All parts of the set fit nicely into the included carrying case.
The rod in this set is a good quality telescopic one; it extends from 17″ to 65″. The closed reel has a right-handed retrieve (so look for a different pole if you have a lefty). It comes pre-spooled with 200 feet of 8-lb line. Since it is easy to cast, your child shouldn’t get frustrated easily with this pole.
Be aware that the included hooks are quite large, and the tackle isn’t great quality. Most kids love having their own equipment, though.
17. Magreel Kids Fishing Set
This fishing kit comes with a telescopic fishing rod, spinning reel, fishing line, fishing tackle, and a travel bag which have everything you need to get started. It’s light weight so it’s easy for beginners to handle. I love that it’s collapsible because it easy to store or to take on a trip.
This rod is well made of fiberglass; it not only looks great but it doesn’t wear out like some other poles do. There are 2 sizes to choose from (3.9 ft and 4.9 ft) you can choose from depending on the size of your child. And while we all know that fishing will help develop patience in both child and adult, the spincast reel is made of ceramic, which cuts down the risk of getting your line tangled. That means less frustration. Just the opportunity to sit and enjoy!
Fishing Poles for Pre-Schoolers or Pets
18. Zebco Dock Demon Spincast
A very young angler would do well with the Fishing Dock Demon. This 30″ rod is not only cute, it’s also functional. It comes pre-spooled with 6-lb line. The closed reel is necessary, as young kids will be trying to learn to cast.
This reel is not changeable, so if you are buying looking for a rod and reel for a left-handed child, go with one of the other choices on this list. You can adjust the drag on this reel with the dial.
Although the reel tends to stick a bit, this is still a decent option. However, it’s only good for kids about 6 and under.
19. Shakespeare Youth Fishing Kits
This option is for very young beginning anglers and is not meant to catch big fish. It is more of a practice pole. Kids can learn to cast without the danger of a hook, as this pole comes with a small plastic fish.
The Shakespeare Youth Fishing Kits make fun gifts for kids 2-5 years old. These kits come with a character pole. Options include Ironman, Captain America, Disney’s Moana, Frozen, and Thomas the Train, among others.
Don’t expect the same quality from this pole as the others on this list. It measures 2’6″ and comes with a pre-spooled reel. If you want a pole that your 4-year-old can use to get excited about fishing, this is an excellent choice. It is inexpensive and fun. Compared to other similar preschool fishing kits, the Shakespeare Youth Fishing Kits are superior.
This pole also makes a great fishing pole to play with your pet. Your cat or dog would love to fetch a plastic fish.
20. Kid Casters Youth Fishing Kits
Here is another option for preschoolers who are interested in fishing. Like the Shakespeare kits, these are not for serious fishing. The Kid Casters come in character versions including Minions, Paw Patrol, Shimmer and Shine, Ninja Turtles, and more.
The closed reel comes pre-spooled with 6-lb line. It also includes a caster plug in the shape of a fish. This is fun for young kids to practice casting. Pets also love chasing around the caster plug!
If you are looking for more of a toy fishing pole, this is a good option. However, it is not as high quality as the Shakespeare kits above.
21. Zebco Splash Junior Combo
As you can tell by now, we are big fans of Zebco fishing products! We have presented several Zebco poles already but our list wouldn’t be compete without including the Zebco Splash Junior Combo. This combo was made with preschoolers in mind. Anyone 3-4 years old will find it the perfect size! And not only is it affordable but also durable.
The Splash Junior is fully equipped to bring in some small fish. It’s very user friendly – all you need to do is tie a hook, put some bait on, then throw the line out. Best of all, the pole comes apart for easy storage.
All in all, this is a great training set for any young child wanting to join in on the fishing fun. A lot of people appreciate the fact that the rod can come apart on this set so you can you it for a bigger pole when you’re ready to upgrade. You won’t be disappointed with this option!
What to get for your first fishing pole?
Fishing with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Spend a little money to get a good quality fishing pole and reel combo, and you can be making great memories fishing as a family regardless of whether you are fishing from a floating lake dock, or along a stream. Don’t forget to get a license before you go fishing. Don’t forget your life jacket if you need one.
Fishing Checklist for Beginners
- Fishing license
- Fishing rod or reel (closed reel for first time fishing)
- Pliers to pull the hook out
- Fishing hooks (we’d recommend at least 8)
- Extra pole in case of snags or problems
- Sinkers and bobbers
- Check fishing regulations and limits before you go
- Check weather and always put safety first
- If boating make sure to bring a personal flotation device
- Start by fishing in the morning or the evening
Can young kids go fishing?
As long as they are accompanied by an adult, young kids can definitely go fishing. There are good fishing poles for kids that will make fishing fun.
What are important things to look for in a kid’s fishing pole?
For a beginner, look for a closed, pre-spooled reel. This will help minimize tangles. If you have a left handed child, look for a pole with a changeable retrieve. You’ll also want a lightweight pole and possibly a telescopic rod, as they are easier to transport.
What do you need to take on a fishing trip?
Some of the important things to take are a fishing license, a fishing rod and reel, bait, pliers, and a stocked tackle box. You’ll want sun protection–sunscreen, a hat, and possibly a long sleeve shirt. A jacket is also a good idea. Additionally, depending on where you are going and for how long, take food and water.