You’re likely counting down the days until your little angler gets their first fish. You’re probably frustrated if you have searched for a rod that’s more expensive than a toy for your kids.
If you have ever pulled the trigger on one of these toys, then you are well aware of the difficulties involved in keeping them fishable. You’re familiar with the basics: tangles, loose drags, broken gears, and all that comes in between.
Are you looking to catch your little angler? We would love to help you!
We have done extensive research on the best fishing rods so we can bring you kid-friendly fishing rods that perform just like yours.
Best Fishing Rods For Kids
- Odds Kids Combo
- Shakespeare Ugly Stik Dock Runner Spinning Combo
- Combination of Ugly Stik and Spinning
- Zebco Dock Demon Spinning Combo
- Zebco Z–Cast
Best Fishing Rods for Kids Reviewed
Odds Kids Combo
Length: 3.94′ / 4.92′
The Odds child-friendly rod makes it easy to introduce young anglers to the sport. This telescoping rod is right-sized and comes in two lengths. Depending on your choice, it can have three to four eyes.
The camouflage pattern and split EVA foam grip provide plenty of non-slip space, making it ideal for small hands.
A rod and a spin casting reel are included, already spooled and with line. As a bonus, the rod also comes with a small tackle box, as well as a carrying bag. The rod comes with a crankbait and a bobber as well as a slip flopper, a few jig heads, hooks, and a selection of soft plastic bugs.
Although it is not a toy Disney rod, it can be used as a filler between them and other options, it can still be a great place to get started for kids who are just starting fishing. Even parents who are not anglers will appreciate the fact that it includes enough tackle to get their child started and a telescoping design to make it easy to store.
This combo is a good choice for older children.
Shakespeare Ugly Stik Dock Runner Spinning Combo
Length: 3′ (one piece)
Shakespeare’s Ugly Dock Runner is a rod, not a toy. This is a great choice for young anglers who want to fish seriously, as well as parents who also love fishing.
This rod’s heart is a small fiberglass blank. It’s made of Ugly Ski fiberglass and is as tough as nails. This is a huge plus for kids as it means that you won’t be able to bang the rod around too much.
Four guides made of stainless steel distribute the pressure across the blank. It’s sensitive enough at the tip to pick up tiny nibbles.
It’s perfect for precision castings and short casts.
It has a cork/EVA-combination handle that is short and easy to use.
It also comes with a decent spinning rod that has been pre-spooled. This reel is not very powerful, but it’s still a decent reel. If you are passionate about fishing, we recommend that you upgrade to an ultralight reel.
It’s best to view this rod like a piece of real tackle but sized down for children.
Combination of Ugly Stik and Spinning
Length: 5′ (two pieces)
If you are looking for a lighter, longer action rod to catch panfish, Ugly Stick’s spinning combo is a great option. This combo is great for kids who are interested in fishing, but not big enough to handle adult tackle.
Ugly Stik is a Dock Runner-like character. This rod will not withstand a few slaps on the rail or pier. The light, fast blank makes catching any bluegill, perch or sunfish feel like Moby Dick!
Casting is quite easy for such a small rod. It’s also a great option to teach fishing basics.
It comes with an EVA foam handle and is basically an adult rod reduced to child size.
The package includes a spinning reel pre-spooled in line, a small storage box containing various jigs, jig heads, and two bobbers. The reel is not designed to do miracles, just like the Ugly Stik combo.
This combination is another great piece of real tackle. Any young angler will love to use this rod and reel for fishing.
Zebco Dock Demon and Spincast Combo
Length: 2′ 6″ (one piece)
Zebco’s Dock Demon is basically their answer to Ugly Stik Dock Runner. You can expect a rod that young anglers can catch fish with, just like the competition.
The Dock Demon is a little shorter than the Dock Runner and features a 6-inch fiberglass blank measuring 2 feet, 6 inches, and three guides. Although it should be tough, I would give credit to the Ugly Stik for their legendary durability.
This liner is designed to take lines of between 2-6 pounds and everything in between.
The EVA handle is comfortable and provides ample grip for small hands.
The Dock Demon is a great choice if casting with a spinning rod is too difficult for your child. It comes with a pre-spooled spinning reel and is a great first rod.
As with all cheap combos, however, you shouldn’t expect too much from the reel.
Length: 5′ (two pieces)
The Z-Cast ultralight by Zebco is made to hold a spinning reel. This rod is affordable and can be used by older children. It’s also a good alternative to the Ugly Stik spinning combination (although it doesn’t include a reel).
The Z-Cast has a 5-foot fiberglass blank. It’s perfect for catching panfish such as crappie, sunfish, and perch. With line on the heavier end, it’s more than capable of catching small bass. The Z-Cast will provide memorable moments that your child will share with their friends due to its power and action.
The blank is distributed by the force of a fight through four guides and the tip. The tip can feel light strikes with its sensitive sensor, while the rod near the handle provides enough support to muscle fat crappie.
It can cast quite well for its length making it an excellent choice to teach beginner anglers basic skills.
The EVA foam handle is a great choice for advanced children.
How to Choose the Best Fishing Rod For Kids
Size, age, and skill
Take your kids fishing with you to have fun. They’re more likely than to be frustrated by a fishing rod or a broken toy fishing toy.
A spin casting rod or reel is a great option for young children who lack the coordination to cast with a spinning tackle. You can teach your child the basics of casting, hook-setting, and fighting with a rod that is not too tall.
The Zebco Dock Demon is the ideal choice for them. It is easy to use for most children, as it is only a little longer than other toy rods, but still capable of setting the hook and fighting any crappie or sunfish.
Older kids might want to move up to spinning tackle or longer rods with longer casting distances. For more experienced young anglers, the Ugly Stik Spinning Combo may be ideal.
It’s long enough to cast, but it’s also small enough that it can be used for smaller hands and arms. It’s an excellent rod that I would fish with, and it comes with an ultralight reel. You might even want to give it a go!
To keep things interesting, match your angler’s skill, age, and size to the rod or reel.
You can go ahead and give your child a rod if Spiderman or Frozen’s princess is all that you have.
Keep in mind, however, that the majority of children’s rods are toys. You won’t be able to cast the reels and you will need some luck to catch a fish with the rod.
Instead, we have focused on rods that can fish and even the Oddspro Kids Combo, which is the least skilled rod on our list, can catch fish.
Our recommendation is to get them started with a competent combo the more serious you are as an angler.
It is magical to share the joy of angling with your child. A good rod is vital to make the most of these shared memories.
We hope you found our reviews helpful and that you have made the right decision for your young angler.
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