Fly fishing rods for kids

by Kirk Werner on August 25, 2010

Let me start by saying that I’m no expert teaching kids to cast a fly line. I’m always amazed that some folks seem to think that just because I’m an author of fly fishing books for kids that I know a thing or two about teaching kids how to fly fish. Remember the old adage: If you can’t do something, write about it. Or something like that ;) .

That being said I wish some of the current kids’ fly rods were available when I started my own son out on his journey into fly fishing. He began by using a 9 foot 5wt graphite rod that had been relegated to backup status in my quiver rods. I was a bit hesitant to have him use this rod partially because it might’ve been a bit long for him to handle at first. But I’ll be honest:  my real hesitation lie in the fact that I was worried he’d break or otherwise trash my equipment! Fortunately my son has always had a knack for anything involving movements of the arm that resemble a throwing type motion (rocks, baseballs, etc).  He was always pretty coordinated as a youngster, and the basics of fly casting came fairly easily to him and my gear suffered no serious damage. He was 11 years old when he first went fly fishing with me, and while he could have done so earlier, I felt this was a perfect time to introduce him to the sport.  Maybe it was the perfect time for me to introduce him to the sport. He already liked fishing (catching, that is), and I felt that he had the patience to deal with the inevitable pitfalls of fly casting: line tangles.

Today’s kids have a selection of quality offerings specifically geared toward the younger angler. Something shorter than the “standard” 9 footer can make a rod more manageable in the hands of a child, and a medium action blank ensures that young casters can feel the rod loading (that is if you can get them to slow down and “feel” the rod!).  At first, my son just started to wave the stick back and forth without regard for what the rod tip, and subsequently the line, was doing. This is probably something most youngsters will do at first, but giving them a good piece of hardware that isn’t a broomstick will greatly improve their casting once they get the hang of it. If you have kids you know that they like having their own stuff, so if a fly rod to call their own makes them more excited to get out there and use it, I’d say that’s a good thing.

I’ve assembled information about several good bets for the budding young fly anglers in your lives. These are not fly rod reviews, as I have not tested any of these products. The point here is to offer a few good options for you parents to consider, and I recommend you visit your local fly shop to check out their selection of kid’s rods first. Please note than any information included here about these rods/outfits comes directly from the manufacturer’s/retailer’s websites and do not reflect the opinion of this reporter.

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REDINGTON offers two different outfits geared toward young anglers. The Minnow is targeted at kids ages 6-12, while the Crosswater Youth is aimed at pre-teen/teen anglers.

REDINGTON MINNOW OUTFIT:

Length: 8′
Line weight : 5/6
Number of sections: 2
Includes Reel:  Yes
MSRP: $99

The Minnow outfit was precisely designed and tuned to meet the needs of a younger, beginner angler. The goal is for these kids to have fun and success when fly fishing so they want to continue with the sport. The packaging design is kid and parent friendly with additional tips, techniques and games for kids to get started fly fishing.

MINNOW FEATURES:

• Updated cosmetics
• Alignment dots
• Targeted for ages 6-12
• Easy casting 2-pc 8’ 5/6 wt. graphite rod
• Tough and unfussy Crosswater reel
• Quality RIO backing, WF fly line, and knotless leader pre-spooled onto the reel
• Includes fun casting games and cut out targets in the box design
• Red rod sock included
• Each Minnow outfit includes a coupon for ordering Olive the Little Woolly Bugger, Olive and The Big Stream and Olive Goes for a Wild Ride at 50% off retail (that’s only $6.47 each)!

REDINGTON CROSSWATER YOUTH OUTFIT:

Length: 8′ 6″
Line weight : 5/6
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel:  Yes
MSRP: $139.95

Similar to the Minnow, the Crosswater Youth Outfit was designed and tuned to meet the needs of a younger, beginner angler. However, this outfit is a little larger in size for the pre-teen/teen angler. The packaging and rod/reel case was designed to attract the teenage angler. The entire package is a legit fly angling package to a teen, but looks cool and “not like dad’s.”

CROSSWATER YOUTH FEATURES:

• Medium-fast Action
• Attractive trim details and cosmetics on outfit and packaging for younger demographic
• Alignment dots
• Versatile 4-pc 8’6” 5/6 wt. graphite rod
• Durable Crosswater reel
• Backing, RIO Mainstream WF fly line, and knotless leader pre-spooled
• Rod/Reel Case included

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ECHO GECKO

Length: 7’9″
Line weight : 4/5
Number of sections: 3
Includes Reel: No
MSRP: $99

Echo Gecko Fly Rod helps to make fly fishing easy for kids was Tim Rajeff’s goal. The Echo Gecko rods have a special diameter handle and a small 2″ long fighting butt that allows the smallest anglers to use two hands to cast. A bright yellow blank and a fun colored handle make these rods as much fun to look at as they are to cast. No longer do children have to learn to fly fish with a rod that is too long or too stiff or use a rod with a handle designed for adult hands. The rod is a great length for trout, pan fish, and bass. The rod can handle a short belly WF5 or a standard WF4 line. A great fly rod for children and kids just beginning.

GECKO FEATURES:

• Three piece travel design
• Alignment dots for quick assembly
• Wild colored EVA extra small diameter full wells handle w/small 2″ long fighting butt
• Fuji style fast-tighten reel seat
• Bright yellow gloss blank with orange thread wraps
• Hard chrome snake guides
• Rod sock and sturdy rod case
• Super durable rod design

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ROSS JOURNEY

Length: 7’6″
Line weight : 4
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: No
MSRP: $119

The Journey® youth series fly rod is the only fly rod designed for youth anglers, by youth anglers. Instead of taking an adult sized rod and trying to fit it into a youth sized package, we took everything we’ve learned from fishing with our own children and designed the Journey series from the ground up; arriving at what is arguably the finest youth fly rod ever built! The rod is a 4wt. design so it can be fished on most types of water, but the length is only 7’6″ so it is easy for a youth angler to control. In addition, the premium grade cork handle is crafted to perfectly fit a child’s hand and allow for comfortable casting without fatigue. This 4-piece rod series helps families to introduce their children to the sport of fly fishing with the right sized equipment, and without breaking the bank. The Journey series proprietary R-1 graphite design is a medium-fast action taper that is perfect for any casting style, and forgiving for those anglers just starting out. These are smooth casting rods that are sensitive, precise and effortless to cast; making it easier for youth anglers to learn the sport of fly fishing.

JOURNEY FEATURES:

• Ross proprietary R-1 graphite design
• Medium-fast action rod taper, perfect for youth anglers
• 4-piece design – great for travel!
• Smooth casting, sensitive and precise
• Titanium oxide, super strong guides
• Rod piece alignment dots
• Anodized aluminum reel seat
• Youth sized half wells handle
• Cordura rod case
• Available in blue, pink
• Lifetime Warranty

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ORVIS STREAMLINE KID’S FLY FISHING OUTFIT

Length: 7’9″
Line weight : 5
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $198 (on sale at the time of this writing for $159)

A fly rod and reel combo specifically designed for the junior angler. 7′ 9″ Mid-Flex rod is the perfect length and weight for smaller frames. Rod features smaller and shorter grip tailored for smaller hands. Clearwater® III Reel. 150 yards of 30 Dacron® backing. WF5 chartreuse floating line and a 9′ 2X leader. Just add a fly to this kids rod and reel combo. Ages 13 and older.

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LELAND SONOMA EMERGER PACKAGE

Length: 7’9″
Line weight : 4
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $199

Offered in blue and pink. This outfit will have your little one throwing darts and dreaming of fly fishing adventures! Trust us, you’ve never seen a youth rod and reel like this.

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L.L. BEAN ANGLER FLY ROD OUTFIT

Length: 7′, 8′, 8’6″, 9′
Line weight : 5 and 6
Number of sections: 2
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $80

At L.L. Bean, we’ve always been committed to introducing newcomers to the sport of fly fishing – in the easiest and most affordable way possible. Our Angler Fly Rod Outfit comes loaded with backing, a floating line and a leader – just tie on a fly, and in minutes you’re ready to fish. We worked closely with both beginning fly casters and our Fly-Fishing School instructors to develop a smooth medium-action rod that makes it easy for anyone to learn the graceful art of fly casting. A quality composite reel with a click and pawl drag and high-quality graphite ensure that you, your kids and your grandkids can learn from the same outfit. Includes handy rod carrying tube for storage and transport. Imported.

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SCIENTIFIC ANGLERS TROUT FLY FISHING STARTER KIT

Length: No information available
Line weight : 5/6
Number of sections: 4
Includes Reel: Yes
MSRP: $95

This Trout Fly Fishing Outfit includes a high quality 4-piece 5/6 weight graphite rod for smooth and easy casting. Preloaded disc drag reel ready to fish with the specific line and flies designed to work well for panfish.  Also includes a special 2 in 1 DVD with “Fly Fishing Made Easy” and “Panfish and Bass with Larry Dahlberg.”

Included in this kit:

• 4-piece, 5/6 weight graphite rod
• Lightweight for smooth and easy casting
• Pre-Loaded Scientific Anglers Concept 2 Fly Reel Loaded with backing, Scientific Anglers fly line and leader, and is ready to use
• Fly Box with Flies
• 2-in-1 Instructional DVD (the contents of both of the DVD titles below are included on a single special-issue DVD)

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Based on these offerings from reputable manufacturers, young anglers don’t have to fish with junk equipment that’s little more than a colorful toy, and parents don’t have to break the bank to get quality gear for their kids.  Kids are the future of the sport, so get them away from their video games, get them a rod they’ll be thrilled to call their own, tie on a woolly bugger, and take ‘em fishing! You’ll be glad you did, and so will they.

Check out the comprehensive listing of kids fly fishing gear at Take Kids Fly Fishing. In addition to rods and reel outfits, the site lists waders and boots, vests, hats and clothing, books and DVDs as well as fly fishing camps and clinics for kids and kid-friendly fly fishing guides. It’s a tremendous resource!

 

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

Patrick August 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm

Um, Mr. Olive the Wooly Bugger Blogger, I started with an L.L. Bean fly fishing outfit. It was a great for learning fly fishing.

(Full disclosure: The author was 42 years old at the time.)

Reply

Kirk Werner August 25, 2010 at 3:48 pm

Pat, I think many people don’t realize that LL Bean is more than a clothing manufacturer and they actually make some pretty decent fly fishing gear. My first fly rod was made by Eddie Bauer, before all they did was make clothes. Good that your origins got you off on the right foot into a hopeless career of fly fishing! Hard to believe you’ve only been fishing for a year ;)

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Rebecca August 25, 2010 at 3:33 pm

Great Article Kirk ~ So many options and all at a cost that won’t break Mom and Dads piggy bank. I started my daughters really young and I’d like to think they’ll keep at it for life ~

Reply

Kirk Werner August 25, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Thanks, Rebecca. The price point of all these outfits is pretty amazing, and just goes to show that you don’t need to spend a ton to get good gear. I should heed that advice more often, but I must say my Sage Z-Axis is sweeeeet ;)

Reply

Dennis Estrada August 25, 2010 at 8:41 pm

My girlfriend’s 7 year old son is enjoying his Redington Minnow outfit. He’s getting his fair share of Bluegill and Rainbow Trout.

The funny thing is that his 3 year old sister caught the first fish on that rod. We still have not told him about that.

Dennis

Reply

Kirk Werner August 25, 2010 at 8:58 pm

Dennis, sounds like the rod has some good mojo but you are wise to keep the secret from him. That sort of information could be devastating.

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ColoradoAngler August 25, 2010 at 9:54 pm
Kirk Werner August 25, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Thanks for posting that link. I know it can be hard to find waders for little kids.

Reply

Grey July 12, 2012 at 8:15 am

And don’t forget Temple Fork Outfitters bug launcher.

http://www.templeforkflyrods.com/products/rods/bug-launchers.html

Reply

Kirk Werner July 18, 2012 at 8:42 am

Good call, Grey. That rod is included on the list I compiled over at Take Kids Fly Fishing: http://www.takekidsflyfishing.com/2011/04/fly-rods-reels/

Reply

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