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Updated: May 17, 2021

In order for kids and adults to have the best fishing experience, we have to use a rod and reel that is capable and comfortable enough to catch fish. A lot of anglers don’t even know that rod action has to be coupled with line weight and lure weight, with that being said the same goes for handing a kid a fishing rod. The rod has to be flexible and light enough for your kid to cast for 30 minutes, yet strong enough to pull in those catches of a life time.


The ole Mickey Mouse rod or Zebco push button always has a place to captivate and keep infants interested because of its cartoon themed simplicity. Let’s face it, just getting them on the boat or into the sport is your main goal at this stage. You’re going to lose some rods to the water so better to start with the cheap ones. As far as toddlers go, they understand what happens when they drop the rod in the water #sleepwiththefish. That’s when you need to upgrade the rod and reel if you want them to start learning the right way early on. Toddlers wrists do not possess the strength or stamina to be able to cast or hold a typical 7 ft rod. Whole point I’m trying to make here, is you need to find a blank that is lightweight and has a soft action in the last quarter of the rod so your kid can use the rods action to cast. Your kid is not going to be able to reel in a 40 plus pound redfish or snook so medium light is a good all around place to start as far as action goes. Try and find the a 6ft medium light rod, small kids can maneuver that length rod with ease. Combine that with a 2500 series spinning reel loaded with 10 lb braid and they can catch most smaller species in salt or fresh water.


Back to Micky Mouse, push buttons are cheap and simple and come in a variety of character themed colors. Perfect for getting a one year old into the sport and even better when they drop it over board. I think in Grayton’s first year of fishing we lost 3 of these rod and reels to Davy Jones locker. When Grayton was 2 years old, I purchased a yellow Eagle Claw ultra lightweight trout rod and put a Shimano 2500 series spinning reel on it. At that point Grayton was strong enough to hold the rod and reel and was able to cast it utilizing his own body weight. I noticed he didn’t have big enough hands to grip all the way around the cork rod handle so I took my sander and sanded the cork down until he could hold it naturally. We caught our fair share of small speckled trout on that rod until he decided to stick it in a fan and broke it. We transferred that reel onto his first custom spinning rod made by a friend, unfortunately the 7ft blank combined with a lot of rod guides that he used was just too heavy for Grayton to be able to cast for more than 15 minutes. So back to the drawing board as I tried to come up with a solution to this weight to flexibility ratio. We noticed one day that Grayton had no problem casting a 7ft G Loomis green water spinning rod. So I started looking into how the rod was made and what the action of the rod was. It had a very lightweight blank, way lighter than any of the other medium-light rods we have. A gradual stiffness to it until the last quarter of the rod where it softened up a considerable amount and easily flexed. Grayton chose this rod over the other rods because he new he could hold it longer and was able to use the action of the rod to propel the bait forward. The only thing that hindered his casting ability is that it was too long for him. We took the same concept from that rod and applied it to another custom rod builder and had him chop a 7 ft med light blank from the bottom up to make it a 6 ft med light. Unfortunately again, the rod guides made the rod too heavy for Grayton.


Thinking that we would never find the perfect rod for Grayton, we were walking down Bass Pro shops one day and saw some St. Croix rods for sale, up to 30% off. I have owned quite a few of these myself when I was into tournament bass fishing and knew of their American made quality. I saw a split grip spinning rod in a medium action and took it off the rack. I knew right then and there that the balance between the lightweight blank and rod guides, minimal cork and the softer-medium action would be an all time win for Grayton. We put the same Shimano 2500 stradic with 10lb braid on the 6 ft St. Croix premier split grip and still to this day can cast and catch everything from bass to bonefish.


So once your kids have found the perfect rod, like our St. Croix 6ft med action premier. Let them figure out how they like to cast and coach them (I’m not getting into the casting process in this article, but they should have an understanding from watching) Our son watched us fish early on and adapted his on method and technique when it came to casting so we let him roll with it. It’s not the way I would cast, but it works for him and he enjoys it. At the end of the day, you want your kid to fish as long and as much as you, so give him the right tools for the job, some positive coaching and watch your toddler turn into a pro caster in no time.

Stay Hooked Fam,

Scott and Lindsay

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