Teaching a child to fish is a fun process. Using large fishing poles makes it very hard for kids to get involved even though they want to be fishing. Little kids do not care if they are catching a 5 lb bass or a three-inch bluegill, they just want to catch lots of fish! The key is to bring them to places where they can get bites immediately. This is where pond fishing comes in. There are almost always loads of bluegill and sunfish right near the shore in most ponds and lakes and they will eat pretty much anything put in the water.
Starting out it is best to use scented baits such as a worm on a hook while using a bobber to keep the bait off the bottom. As kids get better at casting artificial lures can be used. At age two most kids can only help reel in a pole but by age seven they should be able to catch fish and tie on lures with little assistance. I still remember catching my first bass using zebco reels and mepps spinners after practicing in the yard with yellow plastic plugs that did not have hooks. Below is a list of the best five lures and associated gear to get kids fishing.
Kids Fishing Pole with Hook and Bobbers
Eagle Claw Snap-on plastic bobber floats in different sizes.
These bobbers are perfect for fishing with small kid fishing poles. The heavy weight of the bobber makes casting easier and allows the bait to be cast far from shore. Large bobbers also make it easy for kids to see when they have a bite and the added resistance when submerged helps apply tension to the line to hook the fish.
Eagle Claw Baitholder circle hook. Size 4 to 12 with size 4 being the largest hook. Size 10 is good for bluegill and sunfish and size 4 is good for bass.
Baitholder circle hooks are perfect hooks to use on bobbers. The barbs hold on to the bait when the fish is tugging on it. With circle hooks, the hook is not supposed to set by jerking up on the pole but instead steady pressure should be applied slowly. The circle hook should get caught in the corner of the fishes mouth. When using j-hooks there is a greater chance of the fish getting hooked deep in the stomach where it is hard to remove and that can cause serious harm to the fish.
Gamakatsu Treble Hook size 14 to 18 with size 14 being the larger hook. Size 14 and 16 are good for bluegill and sunfish.
Treble hooks are another great hook to use with bobbers. These are the same hooks that are used when trout fishing with Powerbait. The three hooks on the treble hook make it more likely that the hook will catch the corner of the mouth and not get swallowed. It also works great at holding and hiding small amounts of bait. Large amounts or bait are not needed for panfish as they will bite almost any scented bait even if it is really small. Smaller baits allow more fish to be quickly hooked. This results in more fish being caught while also making it easier to remove the hooks.
Best Kids Fishing Poles and Zebco Reels
Along with using the right bait and lures the right size pool and reel makes it easy for kids to fish. These are not expensive relative to most fishing equipment and will make for a much more enjoyable experience for young anglers.
Shakespeare youth fishing pole with push button reel for toddlers. Two feet six inches tall and includes a plastic practicing plug. These come in a variety of awesome cartoon characters. It says ages 4 plus but even two-year-olds like playing with the fishing pole.
This is a classic pole that has been know to catch bigger fish than desired on such lite gear. The reel only has three or four-pound line which helps it get more bites than big poles with heavy line on occasion. This is a must-have item when fishing with kids under five years old. We have had to fish the barbie pole out of the lake a few times because big fish bite and pull this lightweight fishing pole right into the water.
Zebco the lady 202 combo girls fishing pole with push button reel. This 5 feet 6-inch pole comes spooled with 10-pound fishing line. Also included are bobbers, hooks, jigs and a small tackle box.
Zebco ready tackle boys fishing pole with push button reel. This 5 ft 6-in two piece rod comes spooled with 10-pound monofilament fishing line. This pole comes with bobbers, hooks, jigs and a small clear plastic tackle box.
The 5 ft 6 in zebco fishing poles with push button reels are perfect for kids aged 4 to 10-years-old. Using a push button reel is much easier for kids than an open face spinning reel. This larger pole makes it easier to cast than the 2 ft 6-inch Barbie pole.
Zebco Omega Z03 7 bearing spin cast push-button reel. This reel comes spooled with 85 yards of 10-pound fishing line.
Ugly Stik GX2 casting two piece fishing rod. There are several options here. A 6-foot medium light or medium action is good. A one-piece rod would be good if you have a boat or truck to transport the fishing pole. A two-piece rod is nice so it easily fits in a car.
The Ugly Stick pole and Zebco Omega reel are for the avid youth fisherman. This is a quality setup that should last for many years. The other poles are good for occasional trips but will surely break over time. After this rod and reel are used for a few years it will be time to upgrade to a quality spinning reel.
Kids Fishing Rod and Reel Comb, 3 ft 3 inches in length. Also comes with hooks, floats, jigs and a small clear plastic tackle box.
This is a spinning reel, not a push button reel. Recommended age is 8 and up. A coordinated 6-year-old could probably use it though. Kids always surprise me with how fast they can learn. If kids are taught to use a spinning reel it will also allow them to help catch fish on larger poles. This will likely allow them to transition faster to a full-size pole with a spinning reel.
Kids Fishing Tackle and Tackle Box
South Bend Worm Gear Kids Tackle Box with bobbers, hook disgorger, non-lead split shot, swivels, hooks and a stringer. Comes in blue, green, orange and pink. Dimensions of the tackle box are 8.9 x 6.1 x 7.3 inches.
Plano Kids Tackle Box with dimensions of 13.5 x 7 x 6 inches. Tackle includes bobbers, hooks, jig tails, plastic worms and a stringer.
Kids love having their own tackle box and this makes a great gift. There are a few other essential items needed for a tackle box which include a needle nose pliers for removing hooks and fingernail clipper to safely cut fishing line. A lip gripper is a great tool to have when catching fish that have teeth such as pickerel, pike, trout and walleye.
TEKTON 4-1/2-Inch Precision Needle Nose Plier. The small size of the pliers makes it great for kids to use. The long tapered nose is good for reaching deep gut hooks. It also has a cutter that is good a cutting monofilament fishing line. With braided line, it is better to use a fingernail clipper.
Fingernail and toenail clipper for cutting fishing line. These clippers have a hole toward the back where a lanyard can be added to allow for quick easy access to the clippers. Be sure to have a release clip on the lanyard if a kid is using it so that it will be easily released if it catches on something while a child is wearing the clippers.
Mustad Big Game Fish Lip Grabber, foam handle with strong string. This locks tight on fish jaws and provides an easy way to hold the fish while removing hooks and taking pictures. Once a fish grabber is used it quickly become apparent that this an essential item. If fishing in saltwater make sure a good fresh water rinse is done at the end of the day because otherwise, it will rust quickly. We have been through a few of these due to corrosion but this gripper is a great tool have when fishing.
Kids Fishing Lures and Jigs
Panfish Magnet Kit by Trout Magnet, 1/64 oz jigs with tails, 85 pieces total.
Panfish magnets are the same as trout magnets with longer jigs. Either jig works great on Panfish. The best way to fish these with kids is on a bobber or float. A small scented piece of bait such as a worm or crappie nibbles helps to get the fish to bite more quickly and aggressively.
PowerBait Crappie Nibbles .9 ounce jar comes in pink, white, yellow and chartreuse.
Crappie Nibbles work great on other panfish as well such as bluegill and sunfish. These can be applied to the tip of a jig or used on a single hook or trouble hook. This is a good alternative to worms. All colors work good, it is really the scent that gets them to bite.
Ready2fish panfish jig kit with small tube, shad minnows and twister jig tails.
The ready2fish kit has lots for great jig tails in a variety of colors to try to see what gets the most aggressive bite. The action of these tails often gets panfish to strike at least on the tails of the jigs. The tube jigs can be filled with crappie nibbles or other scented bait to encourage fish to bite.
Soft Plastic Baits for Kids
Zoom Bait Finesse Worm, 4 1/2 inches long, watermelon red and green pumpkin red are great colors for bass.
Gamakatsu Offset Shank Round Bend Worm Hooks for soft plastic worms. Size 2/0 hooks are best for the 4 1/2 inch worms.
Zoom green worms can catch little bass and big bass. This is great for kids because they do not need lots of action to catch fish. Casting them out and letting them sink for about 10 seconds is good. Twitching the bait on slow retrieve works best. Using the small worms with larger hooks makes it so there is a good chance the bass will get hooked. The worm is meant to run along the length of the hook, not through the hook. If you are not familiar with putting plastics worms on offset hooks watching a YouTube video would be a sufficient way to learn.
Spinning Lures for Kids, Mepps and Rooster tails
Mepps silver spinner number 3 with a red and brass color body and tail, 1/4 ounce.
Rooster tail flash black and flash white. 1/16 or 1/18 ounce works good for panfish and 1/4 and larger works good for bass. Bass will bite the smaller spinner but the lighter lure cannot cast as far which gives the heavier spinner the advantage of being able to cover more water.
Using spinners is a great way for kids to fish. They are constantly busy reeling in the pole which makes fishing more fun. Before being able to use a spinner the fisherman needs to be good at casting and reeling. These practice plugs can speed up the process by being able to practice even when kids are not by water.
Eagle Claw Rubber Practice Plug, these say rubber but the ones I had were a hard plastic. These are a great way for a kid to practice casting in the grass. This gives kids time to practice and speeds up the learning process because bad casts result in fewer snags and tangles.
Backyard Bass Casting Game for kids is a great way to encourage kids to practice casting and reeling in fish.
If you have a competitive family or friends I see the casting game being lots of fun! If your kid’s practice this could help avoid snagged lures in bushes, trees and logs. Maybe to the point where kids will be telling you to go home a practice if you are the one getting snagged.
Thanks for visiting Global Fishing Reports. I hope these suggestions help you catch more fish with kids!
If you have any suggestions for top lures to use with kids, leave a comment below!