Fishing is more than a sport or a hobby; it’s cultural.  Die-hard anglers can’t wait to introduce their little ones to their passion as soon as they can lift a rod.  And kids love it.  They pick right up on their parents’ excitement, and will volunteer to handle bait or sit dutifully for hours watching their bobber.  Those who had the chance to fish as little kids remember the excitement of the fish hitting your line, or seeing the bobber submerge.  Frantically reeling yielded a slimy and squirming prize, and big grins all around.  We will outline some beginner kids fishing gear, kids fishing poles and tips to get you started.  The important part is getting to the nearest water and dropping a line with your loved ones.  I bet that even the professional bass anglers still treasure memories of youth fishing with family.

Kids Fishing Rod and Reel

Just like the lacrosse player’s stick or archer’s bow, the kid’s rod and reel combo connects them to the activity.  It is their personal extension or tool that opens access to a new world.  The kid must be taught to handle their beginner fishing pole with safety and pride.  Only practice can work out the kinks, until they can cast smoothly without knotting the line.  The beginner fishing pole typically comes as a rod and reel combo.  Manufacturers appeal to kids by featuring Scooby Doo and Spiderman, so use your judgement on what your kid might like.  Starting at 3 years old to 5 years old, the Kid Caster provides all you need for that first cast.  This 34” beginner fishing pole for kids has a swivel to prevent line twisting.  A plastic hook and training lures also helps safe casting practice.  You may want to replace the 6-lb line.

The small kid’s rod and reel above can catch perch or sunfish.  When moving up to bass, trout or walleye, we recommend the Zebco 33 Spincast Combo.  This beginner rod and reel combo has long established itself as a number one option for beginners.  Zebco also has a top notch reputation for making quality fishing poles for kids.  The 66 inch length allows plenty of room for growth for the youth fisherman.  The set includes a tackle wallet and the reel is spooled with 10-lb line, but still keep a stock of better line and more hooks and tackle.  This rod and reel have the perfect qualities for catching larger freshwater fish such as bass, pike and crappie.  For the price, you can’t beat the Zebco 33 to get your kids fishing.

Kids Fishing Gear

After you have found the right beginner rod and reel, kids need a little more gear to make their first trip as safe and enjoyable as possible.  Sun hats and fishing shirts help cover skin for extended periods in the sun, but sun screen lotion is still a must!  They may enjoy a youth fishing vest.  Sunglasses, especially those polarized with UV protection, can help them see through the water and prevent headaches from squinting.  A good pair of pliers come in handy for handling fish and retrieving hooks.  You should be aware of what fish and other marine life you might net or reel in.  Some fish have teeth or sharp fins and some catfish have very poisonous ‘whiskers’.  Finally, a small tacklebox with various hooks, lures, weights, bobbers, and swivels should be easy to acquire and can make the difference between a slow day and an unforgettable one.

Youth Fishing License

Please check with your state’s Parks and Wildlife department for rules about fishing with your kids.  Every state requires that adults have a valid license to fish their public waters, with some exceptions.  Kids below the age of 17 are often exempted, but this may change if they aren’t a resident of that state.  Licenses are usually less than $50, but this is a lot if you’re only fishing for one weekend.  Special rules apply to school kids and disabled kids.  Then, some fish must be released.  Some fish can be kept depending on their length.  Catching frogs and turtle meanwhile require a hunting license and aren’t covered by a youth fishing license.  Of course, national parks have still a different set of rules.  Researching before you fish can save you from a sizable fine.  The rules are ultimately in place to preserve the wildlife that we all treasure.

Why to Fish with Kids

There is our list of all the beginner fishing gear for kids you need to get started!  Fishing teaches important lessons about our dominant place in the food chain, and why that requires respect and stewardship to other life.  Baiting a hook with a night crawler, grasshopper, or leech is a life skill and will make for a less squeamish kid.  Also, few things satisfy like catching, cleaning and cooking your own tasty meal.  They will also be proud of their kids fishing gear and show it to all their friends.  Whether you are nearest to the vast Gulf of Mexico, the scenic rivers of Montana, or just grandpa’s pond, your kids will cherish the chance to go fishing with you.