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The Best Kids Fishing Poles for Pint-Sized Anglers

Getting the kids out on the water? This is the fishing gear to get them started.

Forget shivering on the ice or sweating it out during the summer — ask any seasoned angler the best time to start a kid fishing, and the answer will always be the autumn. It’s the season with the most comfortable weather, and the fish are on the feed, which provides a more exciting outing for screen-dependent youths. The best fishing poles for kids facilitate casting, are reciprocal to the child’s own miniature dimensions, and often include a few hooks to spare, affording for the inevitable snags and break-offs. But there’s more to the best kids fishing poles than just numbers and features; the tackle represents a portal to outdoors adventures, as well as quality time between you and your child and a lifetime of lessons.

“There’s just no better way to build a child’s confidence and get them to be more independent,” says Hernan Santiestaban, owner of the fishing authority We tapped this expert for for tips on what to look for when considering your child’s first or next rod and reel and then a few suggestions for each. 

The Best Kids Fishing Poles: What to Look For

When introducing kids to fishing, focus on making the experience as positive as possible — and be patient with the initial interest level. “If you can incorporate other activities like swimming or boating, great, because the progress on the fishing side might be slow at first,” says Santiestaban. Second, don’t get too intimidated by all the jargon and gear out there — you can have an amazing day on the water (and still catch a lot of fish) with a basic setup. Start with finding a good kids fishing pole. 

When choosing a kids fishing rod, pay attention to length. It should be just long enough for your little angler to handle it with ease, so about 3-4 feet in length. And because kids break stuff, get them rods made of graphite, fiberglass, and composite blends, so you won’t need to replace them every month.

For toddlers, consider a “no-tangle” kids fishing rod with a line that runs inside the shaft rather than along the exterior via stubborn metal eyelets. For kids in the four to six range, think about a rod with a closed-face, push-button “spincast” design — this will teach your child a modified but effective casting technique. For coordinated seven-year-olds and above, the sky’s the limit as long as they’re willing to put up with the occasional few minutes of frustration. But hey, that’s fishing.

Above all else, make fishing a fun, holistic experience for your child. These kid’s fishing rods will help things go a little smoother.

Every product on Fatherly is independently selected by our editors, writers, and experts. If you click a link on our site and buy something, we may earn an affiliate commission.

The Best Kids Fishing Poles for Small Children

This this kit's neon pink color means it's not serious? Think again. A bright color means it's harder to accidentally leave behind after a long day on the water. And if you happen to end up in the water, it floats, ensuring you won't have to buy it twice. Its oversized push button and handle make it easy for small hands.

Hey, the Sistine Chapel wasn't built in a day, and your young angler isn't likely to go from zero to 60. That's why we like this telescoping spincaster package from Kid Casters. Besides a few basic lures and a tackle box, the kit also includes a variety of training aids, including a casting plug, a plastic safety hook, and three sponge lures. Set up some buckets in the backyard first and you'll have more fun when it comes to the open water.

With playful graphics and a big fat button for easy casting, spincast combos like this one are the gateway drug to real fishing. The finger guard keeps little digits out of harm’s way, and it comes with a plastic minnow so your kid can practice launching man-sized casts into the middle of the lake

Part of a new breed of kids' fishing poles, Lil' Anglers' design features a spincasting reel for beginner ease, but where it differs is the rod itself. Its telescoping design is great to save space, and by bringing the line inside the shaft, it helps prevent children from snagging it on things. It also includes a small selection of tackle, which should get you through the first day at the lake, at least.

As far as little beginners, if he or she can work a Nerf blaster, he or she will be able to handle this pump-action design. Simply squeeze the trigger and it launches bobber and bait out up to 25 feet. Children then reel it in like normal. While it won't teach them the basics of casting, it's a hell of a lot of fun for a first time out.

With a 30-inch fiberglass rod, this is both manageable for young children and still whippy enough to cast a bobber and worm to the drop-off. An EVA foam handle makes it more comfortable with new anglers. Pre-spooled with six-pound-test, that lake lunker will probably break your child off, but for panfish and the vacation trout pond, he or she will have all the power needed.

The Best Kids Fishing Poles for Bigger Kids

There's one great reason so select a telescoping rode like this one by Steinhauser: space. Whether you're concerned about where to put it when not in use or just transport to the body of water you're fishing, this package retracts to 18 inches. Upon arrival, pop it out and your child will be casting with a 30-inch spincaster loaded with six-pound-test line (good enough for most freshwater species).

Not only does this include a more advanced spinning rod and reel by Zebco, but it adds an all-in-one tackle kit. With hooks, swivels, sinkers, and bobbers, along with a host of artificial lures, your child can progress from live bait to more advanced presentations. At the most, all you'll need is tub of worms.

Many a kid, beginning in the late 1940s, has learned to fish on a classic Zebco rod and reel. At 6 feet, this is a heftier rod but still manageable for older kids and gives them plenty of room to grow as they hone their skills.

Made of a combination of graphite and fiberglass, this rod is easy for kids to handle. It comes pre-spooled with six pound line. It's 5 feet 6 inches long, so this one is better for older kids with some level of experience.

Long known for its precision, this Japanese brand is a great step-up from that first beginner rod. Its cork grips are usually found on more expensive rods (despite being the industry standard), which is a treat, while a three-bearing reel to cast out and an adjustable drag to land the big one make this a smart combo for your young angler.