Top 5 Best Kids Fishing Pole Reviews (2024 Buyer’s Guide)

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When it comes to getting kids into fishing, making sure they have a rod they can handle is the best way to keep them interested.

Any kind of frustration with the gear, and you’re already in a losing battle.

Here are our favorites from the kids fishing pole reviews…

It’s got to be fun, easy, and hopefully, they’ll be hooked for life when they are catching fish.

Finding the best kids fishing pole isn’t so easy though and there are a lot of things to consider.

The Top Three…

Here are our top three choices from the lineup, each one in its own category.

This is so you can have a variety to choose from depending on your needs.

Our Best Fishing Poles For Kids

Here are all the top fishing poles for kids we reviewed…

What Is A Kids Fishing Pole?

Fishing poles for kids are the same as a standard fishing rod, just shorter and lighter than usual, making the fishing pole easy to use and simple for them to handle.

Some fishing poles for kids also come as a rod and reel combo, along with some lures in a tackle box to get them started. You can upgrade them to a proper beginner’s fishing pole if they decide they want to get into the hobby more.

The reels are often a bit simpler to help kids avoid tangles too.

What’s The Difference Between A Rod And A Pole?

To be quite frank, nothing. A fishing rod is a fishing pole and a fishing pole is a rod.

People just use the different terms as they like, but they usually mean the same thing.

In some UK pole fishing, you don’t use a reel and the line is tied to the end of the fishing pole.

Instead, you have to break the fishing pole down in sections as you fight the fish to land it.

But let’s not confuse ourselves with that.

It is best you think of poles and rods as the same thing because 90% of the time, they are.

The Differences Between Kids, Youth, and Adult Fishing Poles

To start off with, let’s discuss what’s similar.

All of them are normal rods with guides and have a reel seat at the bottom.

What will differ is the length and weight of the fishing rod.

The younger the fisherman, the shorter the fishing pole will be.

Fishing Pole Length

Kids

A kids fishing pole is likely to be around 3-5 feet long, very light, and simple to use.

Youth

A youth fishing rod is going to be a little longer rod because they are a little taller and stronger than kids.

They are usually around 5-8 feet in length, a little heavier, and start to be quite similar to an adult rod.

Adult

Adult fishing poles can be anything from 5-12 ft long, depending on the type of fishing being done, and the longer the rod the heavier it will be.

So the only differences between kids, youth, and adult fishing rods are their length and weight. The rule is; the shorter the fisherman, the lighter and shorter the fishing pole should be.

This rule ensures that the fisherman can handle their rod properly. Imagine a 4-foot child trying to cast 12-foot poles , it’s a recipe for disaster, better to have a 5-foot rod and enjoy it.

Are Kids Fishing Poles Safe To Use?

Yes, they are absolutely safe, the only real danger is a kid hooking themselves.

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This can happen for several reasons, and we’ve all been there.

Hooks have been in my ears, hands, and once even in a stranger’s sweatshirt which was very embarrassing for my dad who was fishing next to me.

Part of the Learning Process

Hooking yourself is just part of learning to fish, and it doesn’t take long for you to stop doing it because it does hurt.

The times when this is most likely to happen is when a kid is casting, landing a fish, or pulling their hooks out of a snag.

Proper Guidance

But, under proper supervision, this can all be avoided.

It tends to happen more once a kid or youth is more confident and starts to fish on their own.

I would recommend de-barbing the hooks, that way if they do end up in the wrong place, they’ll be easy to take out.

Can A Fish Pull A Child Into The Water?

Yes, a child can get pulled into the water by a fish, but a lot has to go wrong for this to happen.

When a child hooks a fish and the fish runs, the line will come off the reel, therefore, ensuring the child stays on land.

If the line was to tangle around the child’s hand, and the fish was considerably stronger than them, they could be pulled in the water.

Unlikely Scenario

But, chances are the line will be very light and snap before this happens.

Another scenario is that if the line tangles around the fish rod when the fish pulls and the child chooses not to let go, they could get pulled in.

But again, the light line should break before this happens.

The chances of a child being pulled in are minimal, and I have never in my 20 plus years of experience seen a child get pulled in by a fish.

A Buyer’s Guide For Kids Fishing Poles

What Kind Of Fish Should Kids Target?

The best species of fish for kids to target are small ones they are likely to catch.

This way, they will get a feel for fishing and the joy of the success that goes with it.

The best fish to go after are crappies, bluegills, trout, and bass.

If you need tips, here’s a great guide on how to catch bluegill.

If you’re sea fishing, fish off a pier or go bottom fishing from a boat to target snappers and other small species.

What Environments Should Kids Fish In?

The environment should be kind and gentle, not a raging river, rough seas, or giant surf.

The last thing you want is for a young angler to be scared of his environment.

RECOMMENDATION

Target freshwater fish that live in slow-flowing rivers or lakes, and if you’re sea fishing, go into some inshore lagoons, off a pier, or go bottom fishing from a boat on a calm day.

How Old Is Your Child? How Big Are They?

The size of your child will dictate what size fishing pole they can handle.

The taller a kid is, the longer the fishing pole they can confidently use.

And as they grow taller, they should progress to larger rods, allowing them to improve their skill level.

Age

As a general rule, kids between the ages of 3-7 years old should start with a fishing rod around 3 feet long.

Between 7-13 years of age, you can hop up the ladder a bit to a 5-6 feet fishing pole.

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From 13 onwards, it’s time to use an adult rod ranging between 8-10 feet long depending on the kind of fishing they are doing. And if you need one, here’s my Shakespeare fishing rods review.

NOTE

Naturally, these rules aren’t set in stone and if your kid gets the hang of fishing quickly or is particularly tall, you can progress them up the ladder a bit faster than usual.

Does Your Child Have Any Fishing Experience?

I started fishing when I was 3 and if you had tried to hand me a 3ft kids fishing pole when I was 5, I would have been quite insulted.

The key to ensuring your child loves to fish is by showing them good fishing and ensuring their fishing gear matches their skill level.

Match Their Level

You need to keep them interested and one can do this by ensuring their tackle is upgraded now and then, that they use their tackle often and that they are successful when fishing.

The best kids fishing poles are the ones they get satisfaction from using, can cast well with, and catch fish with.

NOTE

Make sure to watch your kid’s skill level and as they progress, ensure they are challenged. A new rod, a new species, a new environment are all things that will keep their appetite flowing.

What To Look For In The Best Kids Fishing Poles

Rod Reel Combos

You’ll quite often find a rod reel combo when searching for a kids rod.

A rod reel combo is a great place to start for any beginner as you get a rod with a reel that is quite often pre spooled with line.

Great for Beginners

This makes starting out really easy, and all they have to learn is how to set-up the pole, thread the line through the eyes and tie on a lure before they start fishing.

In fact, quite often the rod reel combo will come with lures and a tackle box too.

The reel that usually comes in a combo will usually be a spinning reel or a push-button spincast reel, both of which are very easy to use. Rods that are easy to travel with can also be a good option.

Things To Watch Out For In Combos

In essence, a combo is a great idea…

I mean, what beginner wouldn’t want to get everything they need with one purchase, it makes life easy. But, not all parts of a combo are created equal.

Mismatch

Quite often you get a great fishing pole and a terrible reel.

So don’t be surprised if you have to upgrade your reel. In fact in some cases, it’s better to just buy a separate reel with it.

Weak Lines

Also, be wary of reels that come pre-filled with line.

The line is usually terrible quality and will have sat on the reels for a long time. As soon as your kid goes to use it, it’ll start coiling around itself and the reels body, causing tangles and frustration.

Not the ideal start for any child using their new fishing pole.

RECOMMENDATION

Make sure to take any pre-filled line off and add some new, quality line. I would recommend braid or mono with low memory.

Cost

Luckily most kids or youth fishing rods aren’t costly and you should expect to spend between $15 and $50 on a fishing pole or rod reel combo with lures.

This is ideal as kids can lose interest quite quickly or break their tackle by mistake.

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So, whatever happens, you haven’t broken the bank on a nonstarter, and replacing any tackle won’t be expensive either.

Length

We have already discussed what length a kids fishing pole should be depending on their age, size, and skill level.

  • For young, small beginners, start with a short fishing pole (3 feet).
  • Taller, older, or more experienced kids can hit the middle ground (5-7 feet).
  • And any child becoming a teenager should be using a light adult fishing pole and progress from there (8 feet plus).

Durability

The materials for the best fishing pole for kids are carbon fiber, graphite, and fiberglass.

Carbon fiber is a little too expensive for a kids fishing pole so graphite and fiberglass are the main players.

Both fiberglass and graphite are great materials and will last a long time if treated well. Fiberglass is a little bit bendier and heavier than graphite, which is light and stiff.

Prioritize Fishing Rod Length

I wouldn’t focus too much on the materials to start with and would advise you to choose the best fishing pole for your child based on length.

Once they progress, then it’s definitely time to ensure they have a graphite rod over fiberglass, and it will perform a lot better.

Reeling Up

These are all good fishing poles for kids. Just follow my tips before purchasing a kids fishing pole then you won’t run into a problem and remember to keep the fishing fun for the kids.

If you haven’t made a decision yet, here’s a quick look at our top three poles to help you with your decision.

Top Pick

If you’re after an all-rounder that is fun for the whole family then the Zebco Dock Demon is the one for you.

Light, fun, good for casting, simple to use, and durable as hell, it’ll endure whatever your kids put it through and come back for more.

Best Value

If you’re looking for a value kid fishing pole, then the Dock Runner rod is a good place to start for a youth fishing pole.

You get a stik that’s pretty much unbreakable for a fantastic price, that can be used by any child no matter their age or height. The Runner is a lot of fun to fish with and will teach a beginner the core basics of fishing.

Editor’s Choice

I enjoy throwing everything into the deep end and would pick the Ugly Stick GX2.

Also unbreakable like the Dock Runner, it’s as close to an adult set-up as you can get, so the learning curve might be steep at the beginning, but it’s all clear from there.

It’s the right size for any child to use, but some extra time and instruction will be needed at the start.

There is no bad purchase among the best fishing poles included in the review. Choose the best kids fishing pole according to your needs. Also you might also need the best fishing rod, you wouldn’t want a bad fishing rod that would ruin your fishing trip with the kids, right?

I hope you enjoyed reading my article and learned a thing or two. You can also read my article about the best kids fly rod if you’re taking your kid on a fly fishing trip.

Don’t forget to share this with other adult anglers who want to take their kids on their next fishing trip and feel free to check out my other reviews and guides about fishing.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>