BlogOctober 2022

How to Choose the Best Kids Fishing Rod

How to Choose the Best Kids Fishing Rod

By Debbie Hanson

Oct 13, 2022

List of tips for choosing the best kids fishing rod for beginners to catch panfish on a local freshwater lake or pond with family, which rod features to look for 

Selecting the best kids fishing rod for catching panfish on a local freshwater lake or pond will help make early fishing memories good ones for young beginning anglers. In other words, the right kids fishing rod and reel combo ensures that family time on the water is fun versus frustrating.

When looking for the best fishing rod for kids, there are a few key things to keep in mind. Use these helpful tips for selecting kids fishing rods that are easy to use, durable, and functional.

Spincast Reels for Young Kids

Closed-faced freshwater spincast reels have simple push-button designs that are easier for young anglers (4 to 6 age range) to use. Most spincast fishing rod and reel combos come pre-spooled with 6-pound-test line. Look for quality reel components that will hold up, such as all-metal gears. Otherwise, you’re probably going to spend a fair amount of time untangling bird’s nests from inadequate reel mechanisms.

Consider No Tangle Rods

A no tangle or tangle-free kids fishing rod is a special “kid friendly” design that allows the monofilament fishing line to run inside of the rod shaft rather than running through metal rod guides along the exterior of the rod. These types of fishing rods for kids are usually around three to four feet in length and come paired with a spincast reel as a combo. If you choose a no tangle or tangle-free rod, look for one that is durable (kids can be tough on tackle), but sensitive enough for kids to feel light bites from panfish.

Look for Non-Slip Grips

Comfortable, non-slip rod grips are important. The best kids fishing rod will have grips that are designed for smaller hands and are easy to hold onto when reeling in a bluegill or sunfish.

Durability Matters

Look for lightweight, but durable materials like graphite, fiberglass, and composite blends. These freshwater spincast rod materials are good options for young anglers who are learning how to fish.

Spinning Combos for Older Kids

If you are looking for a fishing rod for kids who are over the age of 7 or who want to saltwater fish, you can introduce them to an open-faced spinning reel design. Spinning rod and reel combos are also the best option for beginning anglers who want to fish saltwater because open-faced spinning reels are easier to clean, and the design allows for easier rinsing and cleaning (fewer opportunities for saltwater to collect and cause mechanical problems within the reel).

Choosing the right kids fishing rods and reels can make fishing easier, less frustrating, and more fun for young anglers. Once kids practice using a spincast rod and reel combo, they might want to learn how to use a kids fly fishing rod too. There are always new fishing skills to learn and practice, it’s one of the reasons why fishing is so much fun.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.