Fishing combos for kids

His first bass caught with Daddy's fishing rod
My oldest little guy is turning the big 4 in a few weeks and I am definitely getting him a new fishing rod and reel combo. The problem is what kind...

Last night, while we were fishing at the pond, I asked if he wanted his own rod. He enthusiastically replied that he wants another one that lights up. (He was referring to his Spiderman fishing pole that broke and stopped working after a short while.) 

I then mentioned that I thought he was ready for a "real" fishing rod like mine and while he said "yeah", I wonder if that's what he really wants.

My plan was to pair up an Ugly Stick with a classic Zebco spincast reel but I'm not sure if that's what he really wants.

Would he be happy and excited about it when he got it? Probably. Would he immediately ask if we could go fishing with it? Almost certainly.

But - and this is where my real dilemma comes in - would he be more excited about a new fishing pole that lights up? Is function over form something to consider yet or is it still all about how fun and cool something looks?

The "serious angler" part of me says one thing while the "Dad who loves to see the biggest smile ever on my little man's face" part of me says Spiderman fishing pole.

Has anyone crossed this bridge yet? What avenue did you take?


  1. Build him a rod this weekend when you see Ed. Put his name on it and everything. He'll remember it for life. :)

  2. Buy the components and build one yourself. That is the ultimate. Seeing you kid catch a fish on a rod you built. He might even be able to pass it on to his son.

  3. That's 2 for a custom rod so far. While he will eventually get a custom rod or ten, I'm not sure he's quite there yet. Also, if he is anything like me - which he is - he'll break it.

    But, between here and the BFA Facebook page, the general consensus seems to be going with a "big boy" combo vs spidey.

    1. There is no shame with a Zebco Spin cast. Just build the rod yourself. You could even put a spiderman decal on it.

  4. Brook
    The Pops in me tells you to concentrate mostly on the fun of the trip at this stage in his early fishing career. I started my Grandson, Bryson fishing at the age of four. He found a lot of other interesting things along the bank while fishing. Sure he loved to land the fish, but he wanted to throw things in the water for the fish to eat and even hit the fish with large sticks. But all in all he loved our trips at that age and we both had a lot of fun landing bluegill and exploring.
    Now he is six and much more into the fishing mode on our trips. As for fishing combos stay with what makes it interesting for him, with Bryson he used the little four ft. spin cast with the Zebco reel until he was five and then graduated up to the spinning reels that he uses now. He still has trouble casting distance with the spinning gear, but he is slowly mastering the skill. He has mastered landing fish quite well; I know he will soon get the casting technique down as he gets older.
    His Dad works 6 days a week and has very little time to carry Bryson fishing so the task fall on his Pops, who is always ready to get on the water with my favorite fishing buddy. Great post by the way!

  5. I never had a Spiderman rod and think that you'd see my face light up if I got one. Even at my age! Plenty of time for the big boy toys. If you decide to get him a "real" rod and reel, please send the Spiderman to me.

  6. I don't have kids, but personally, I don't remember much from when I that young. I'd say go for the Spiderman pole that lights up, partly, because, he is still young, and that's sort of what he wants, no...and secondly, it might keep him engaged and enthusiastic about fishing. I mean, hell, I'll cast a lure or fly all day if it looks awesome in the water and not even catch me anything. You can build him a rod later, when he's a little more understanding and appreciative of it....not that he isn't now. Just some thoughts of someone who doesn't remember that far back. Too many beers ago.

  7. Crossed that bridge 3 yrs ago. Went with the not fun and serious zebco. It was a mistake. She's 8 now and rarely fishes. Loves to go out on the water but not interested in fishing. Keep it fun, until he's serous!

  8. He has his whole life to grow up, only a kid once and it goes fast... if the instant joy is still the lights, let him have it! After all, he can still use any of your rods if he determines that he wants to use a 'big boy' rod for a bit. My son will be 4 on Tuesday, he loves to use either depending on his mood - and at this age the mood can change quickly!


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