suggested rod/reel for kids

Last weekend I was paddling and fishing with my 7 year old daughter. We have tried several of the cheap plastic rod/reel combos for her. All seem to jam up just when we want to use them.

Does anybody have any sugestions for a better quality poduct that is still easy to use by little hands?


She’s not too young to teach how to use
a spinning reel. My oldest son learned at six. Taught him at a trout farm…not a good idea unless you’ve got a lot of money. He caught four trout all over 3lbs. You buy what you catch.The other alternative is one of the adult Zebcos. Another company may make a decent closed faced spinning reel, but none I’ve tried have been as good.

Easy fix
Before getting rid of what you have, put on a quality line like Berkley Trilene. A large problem I see is that all these cheap rods and reels have tons of memory (coils) in the line, causing more foulups than you can shake a stick at. Shimano makes decent stuff inexpensively for beginning casters. If you would prefer to fish conventional (saltwater for bottom fishing) I suggest an old Penn reel, they never die.

Hands down
…the best rod for a kid is ol’ reliable…the Zebco 33 I’ve used one since I was a kid and I still use one when fishing the river.

wally world has “cartoon character”
… rod and reel sets for kids (by Shakespear) for $10. I got them for my kids and they are well sized and reliable. I agree that the key is to put good line on it right from the start.

been there done that

– Last Updated: Jun-07-05 2:07 PM EST –

My sons are 10 years apart in age. Tried a lot of kiddie outfits with the older one when he was little and most were junk. Second one benefitted from our earlier mistakes. I found that decent regular adult sized gear worked much more reliably and was easier for him to learn and use than the pint sized stuff. A regular 5-5 1/2 ft rod and smaller ultra light reels made fishing much more fun the 2nd go round.
Zebco 20/10 and Model 11 are a couple of smaller reliable reels and most other manuf probably have similiar models.

Starting my 4 year old with
a 4’6" micro-lite spinning rod and a Zebco trigger spin reel. She’s got the coordination to do it, but not the listening skills to take verbal directions. You see, she already knows how to do everything. Now I wonder where she could have gotten that trait…

  • Big D

Zebco 33 reel and ugly stick rod
Get a zebco 33 reel (it’s not their cheapest) and a 5 or 5.5 foot Ugly stick Rod (about $30) and you’ll have a quality rod that anyone can use. The will also last a lifetime because of it’s tough tip. The real will last about 10 - 20 years with lots of use and regular oiling.

Thanks for the suggestions
I’ll look for a Zebco 33 or perhaps 11.

I caught my first bass on a willow
branch with fishing line, hook, no bobber or weight and a worm for bait. Don’t tell anyone, but it was from a salmon ladder in Oregon. Probably illegal as hell, but I was from Texas and didn’t know any better. Anyway, for those wanting to teach kids how to fish, the cane pole is the easiest of all, and cheap. Used to teach mentally challanged folk how to do it and they learned.

Don’t bother with cartoon rod.
I bought My 4 yr old the “spongeBob” rod thinking that he could use this when we went fishing. He can cast it about 40 ft using the included “Plankton” casting weight but thats all this rod is really good for. The drag has never worked, either it is locked solid or it slips so bad that it cant be reeled without slipping. The hardware in it rusts at the first sign of water even using an anti-corosion spray. And you will have to respool before using… the loops and tangles that came out after 3 casts were unbelievable.

On a positive note: he has learned the coordination needed to cast with a closed face reel, I just wish I had bought a Zebco and an ugly stick the first time insted of getting him attached to SpongeBob who can’t be used to actually fish with.

Thats exactly the problem
I’ve got two of the cartoon combo’s and another that I thought was better quality, but not much. Kids don’t have much fun when dad is constantly untangling their line.

Rod and reel
My 8 year old daughter is using a shakespear ugly stick combo ultra light 5 1/2’. It is an open face spinning reel. She has been doing very well. You have to expect a few tangles here and there. I prefer the open face design it allows you to see the line and remove the tangles without removing a cover. I was very suprised as to how fast she picked up the casting technique. If you prefer a shorter rod, pickup a rod that is designed for Ice fishing. They are typicaly 2-3 feet in length and accept a spinning reel. Nothing against the old Zebco 33’s and 202’s those were some of my first reels and suited me just fine. I think that teaching kids to fish is great gift to give, and will make a lasting memories.