Kayak fishing is one of the best ways to get a young person into the outdoors. But, one of the worst ways to introduce kids to fishing is with the wrong gear. Adult fishing tackle, clothing and gear will not fit, frustrating new anglers who are already learning how to perform a complicated sport. Luckily, kids’ fishing gear has evolved beyond Barbie rods and Spiderman tackle boxes to serious tackle for smaller anglers. When it’s time to put a young angler into a fishing kayak, give your kids serious fishing gear, not toys.
Gen Ike Baitcast Combo
$69 | abugarcia.com
Learning to cast a baitcasting rod inevitably leads toa mess of tangles and a long line of curse words. All the trouble is worth it because casting a conventional reel allows the angler to precisely place his lure in the strike zone. The Gen Ike rod and reel baitcast combo is designed for kids’ smaller hands, with all the bells and whistles of Abu Garcia’s grown-up fishing gear. Tough stainless steel bearings with DuraGear brass gears and PowerDisk drag provide years of reliable fishing. The rod features 24-ton graphite with a split EVA grip to provide maximum sensitivity and smooth action. Abu followed up the Gen Ike Baitcast with the award-winning Gen Ike EZ Cast Baitcaster that includes a fine-tuned casting brake to make fishing lessons tangle free. The combo comes spooled with 10-pound monofilament.
$99 | fish.shimano.com
From bass to panfish to inshore saltwater species, an all-around spinning rod will cover a lot of water. Shimano developed its Symetre Combo to hook new and developing anglers with a reliable rod and reel and models to target everything from panfish to red drum. The Symetre Combo comes in seven actions from 5’6” ultralight to 7’6” medium-heavy rod with reel sizes from 1000 to 4000 to handle any tactic and any size angler. The rods are built out of high-strength graphite with stainless guides and aluminum oxide rings. The reel features Shimano’s Propulsion Line Management Spool to prevent line twist for longer casts and fewer tangles. We like the G-Free lightweight, perfectly balanced body for long days on the water.
Edge Flex 3600
$19.99 | planomolding.com
The world’s most technologically advanced tackle tray is perfect for kids, too. Winner of Best Tackle Management System at 2020 ICAST, the Plano Edge Flex 3600 has all the latest features in the Edge System with completely customizable internal dividers. To reduce corrosion, the Edge boxes include Rustrictor dividers and inserts. The one-handed latch with heavy-duty steel pins allows easy access and years of abuse. Let the kids configure the dividers to hold long lures, hooks, terminal tackle and a spool of leader material or packs of soft plastics. The boxes are watertight with high-impact plastic to keep contents dry and safe.
Endurance Splash Pants and Boundary Boot
$119.95 | nrs.com
Taking a kid kayak fishing in cold water requires some safety considerations. Instead of an uncomfortable drysuit or stockingfoot waders that could fill with water, we chose NRS Splash Pant and Paddle Wet Shoe to outfit a young angler. The pants and shoes provide waterproof protection and warmth without being overly restrictive. NRS Endurance Splash Pants are constructed out of HyproTex 2.5 waterproof, breathable material. The ankles cinch down to the Paddle Wet Shoe and the waist uses a hook-and-loop belt to connect with the matching Endurance Jacket. To keep feet warm and dry, the Boundary Boot extends over the calf with five-millimeter neoprene. Combining the drytop and pants with a waterproof, insulated, high-top boot is the best choice for protecting a young paddle angler without being overly restrictive. For river fishing or crossing the surf line in cold water, go with a drysuit.
This article was first published in Kayak Anger Issue 44. Subscribe to Kayak Anger and get the magazine delivered to your front door. Download the Kayak Angler Magazine+ app to seamlessly glide between the digital archives, the latest articles and videos or browse the digital archives for your desktop here.
The new generation of kids fishing gear is getting serious. | Feature photo: Roberto Westbrook