I grew up doing a lot of fishing with my dad and grandpa. My grandpa was an expert fisherman. He passed away when I was only nine-years-old. My most treasured memories of my grandpa were of spending hours together talking while we fished.
When I had kids of my own, I looked forward to creating our own special memories as we fished together. However, our first couple fishing trips with our kids were a total nightmare. We took my grandpa’s old fishing gear, which happens to still be great if you know what you’re doing.
For my kids, though, it meant they couldn’t possibly cast on their own, and once my husband and I finally untangled their mess from failed casting attempts, they couldn’t reel the line in.
We decided it was time to get something a little more kid-friendly. We let the kids pick out some cute rods decorated with their favorite cartoon characters. Again, we had a nightmare fishing trip. The line was flimsy, the rods ended up breaking, and everyone had a terrible time. After that trip, I decided we were finished fishing until our kids were much older.
Our oldest son, in spite of our failed fishing attempts, loved to fish. One day he received a beginner fishing pole as a prize from school. He took it out of the packaging and began to practice casting. I was surprised at how easy it was for him to cast, and it made me realize there is an option between a toy fishing pole and an expert level pole.
In the time since, we have tried a few different beginner fishing poles. I typically don’t love open reels for kids because it is easier for them to tangle up the line (and I don’t have the patience for extra tangles). However, some argue that having a child start learning on an open reel will force them to learn to be careful. Here are five good beginner fishing poles that will do the job and not break the bank.
5 Good Beginner Fishing Poles for Kids Under $50
Zebco 404 Spincast Combo (Under $25)
This is a great choice for a beginner fisherman, especially for a child. The rod comes in two pieces, totaling 5’6” long.
It comes with 75 yards of 15-lb line.
Unlike some other rods in this price range, the 404 Spincast Combo has adjustable drag and an on/off anti-reverse, which are great to help kids become more independent anglers.
It is very lightweight, a bonus when you are hauling fishing gear for the entire family.
The 404 Spincast Combo is easy for kids to cast and reel. This fishing pole is comparable in price to a toy pole, but so superior. It comes with a small filled tackle box. However, the tackle is quite cheap and doesn’t equal the quality of the pole.
Zebco 33 Spincast Combo
The Zebco brand lives up to its quality reputation with the 33 Spincast Combo.
This is a step up from the Zebco 404. It comes with 100 yards of 10-lb line.
The retrieve can be changed for right or left handed anglers.
Like the 404, the 33 comes with all metal gears and quality housing. Smooth and easy casting are another plus that make the 33 Spincast Combo a good option for a kid’s fishing pole.
The 33 also comes with a cheap small tackle box.
Shakespeare Lady 5’6″ M Spincast Rod and Reel Combo
This is another good option for a beginner fishing pole, but it is more expensive than the Zebco 404 Spincast Combo or the Zebco 33 Spincast Combo.
It is convertible for those who are left or right handed. It comes with 80 yards of 6 lb. fishing line, a closed reel, and a multi-stop brake system.
Like the other two poles listed above, this one comes in two pieces, and extends to 5’6” when assembled. This pole is sure to give your child a good fishing experience, though at a higher cost than the above poles.
Shakespeare Ugly Stick Spinning Fishing Kite
The Shakespeare Ugly Stick Spinning Fishing Kit includes a lightweight, graphite fishing rod that is geared for kids. It comes in two pieces and is five feet long when assembled.
The Ugly Stick has an open reel which can be switched from left to right handed. A downside to this pole: It is very much a kid’s pole. The other poles on this list are for any beginning fisherman and can be used for a child or adult.
This one isn’t so versatile. It is shorter than the others and is suited to catching smaller fish. It comes with a 64-piece tackle set, but once again, the tackle is very cheap.
South Bend Worm Gear Spinning Fishing Combo
This is another good option for an open reel beginning fishing pole. It comes in three different colors–green, blue, or orange. Like the other poles on this list, the Worm Gear comes in two pieces. When assembled, it measures 5’6″long, which is a great length for kids or adults.
The reel is made of graphite and stainless steel and comes pre-spooled with 10-lb line. Because this doesn’t have a push button for casting, it is much harder for kids to cast with this pole. It is probably better suited for an older child or teenager.
Fishing with kids doesn’t have to be a nightmare. Look beyond the cute pictures on the poles labeled for kids and go with a beginner pole. Spend a little money to get a good quality fishing pole, and you can be making great memories fishing as a family.