Best Kids Fly Rods and Reels – 5 Great Picks for Youth Anglers Reviewed 2021


What’s better than going fly fishing? Well, how’s about taking your little buddy along?

Show kids how to fly fish, and you’ll be teaching them a skill that will last them a lifetime!

To make sure they learn the right way, you are going to need the right gear.

Today I will talk you through some of the best kids fly rods and reels. I’ll also talk about what features you need to keep an eye out for.

Let’s get to it…

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Top 5 Best Kids Fly Rod & Reel Combos 2021

Redington Fly Fishing Combo Kit

This rod perfectly encompasses pretty much everything I look for in youth fly rods.

Such as?

First off, at 8 feet, it is a little shorter than the standard size, making it much easier to handle. Give anyone under the age of 14 a longer rod, and I guarantee you that they will end up knocking the end off of it.

This is a pretty decent setup. The blank is an attractive bottle green color (not boring black, like dad’s). And it comes with a super funky DPM camo patterned handle.

Here’s the rod’s standout feature…

The casting action. A fast, ‘whippy’ action won’t give a new caster the level of control required. The medium action of this rod will still allow a decent cast but will allow the budding young angler to get their casting timing spot on.

Another great feature is the reel. Crosswater reels often feature in adult fishing sets, as well as kids. They are pretty well made and really durable, so they can take the odd knock or bump (which is going to happen).

I think this one is superb value.

Pros

  • It’s a little jazzy. Kids love brighter colors.
  • The casting action and length is perfect for those getting to grips with a fly rod.
  • The reel is pretty bulletproof.

Cons

  • It’s a little jazzy. Trout don’t like bright colors.
  • It is a little basic. Once they become proficient, it will be time to upgrade.
  • There are cheaper kids fly fishing rods around.

Takeaway

I’ve always been a fan of Redington. They always deliver quality fly fishing gear at an affordable price. This is a super fly fishing rod for kids.

It is tough, just the right length, and durable. It would be an excellent purchase. There’s plenty of similar setups here if you are looking for the best beginner fly rods.

Wakeman Fly Fishing Rod and Reel Combo

You know, kids… If something can get broken, then it will. Also, they tend to get bored of hobbies quickly.

With this fly fishing setup, it won’t be too much of an issue.

Why?

The standout feature is how low cost it is. This isn’t jam-packed with many technological features. But if you are looking to get your little one into fly fishing, or he (or she) wants to come and hold a fly rod ‘just like dad’, then this would be a superb choice.

It comes with everything you’d need, including a line, a reel, and even a few dry flies. It also comes with a handy case, so you can carry this easily with the rest of your own gear.

I’ll be honest…

This isn’t going to handle monster trout, but it will allow young people to learn to cast with a stiff action and being slightly shorter.

Pros

  • It’s a budget offering, great for kids.
  • It comes with everything a child would need to ‘go fishing’.
  • It is pretty durable.

Cons

  • I wish it was a little lighter.
  • The line isn’t the best I have ever seen.

Takeaway

Listen, you get what you pay for. I wasn’t expecting big things from this fly fishing rod and reel combo for kids, so I wasn’t disappointed.

If you want to buy a setup that can be dropped, knocked, and left forgotten in the corner of the garage, at this price point, it is worth every penny. If cheap is what you are after, I’ve found some excellent budget fly rods just here.

Pflueger Fly Fishing Kit

This is a neat all-in-one kit that won’t break the bank. On the face of it, it looks pretty decent.

You get a rod with a nice cork grip, included reel, and even 25 yards of line. All it is missing is a few flies (which means you will get pestered for yours at least 10 times an hour).

This rod has been custom-built for easy casting. The blank looks pretty thick, which should add an extra element of durability. The reel has also been designed alongside the rod, so if you want a balanced setup straight out of the box, this one is for you.

The reel is plastic. And, if I am honest, this is the weak point of the kit. I found the drag to be fairly ineffectual overall. But that said, it costs peanuts, so you aren’t going to get Orvis quality.

Again I have focussed on choosing an 8-foot rod to make casting and handling a little more manageable.

Pros

  • It’s really cheap.
  • I quite like the thicker blank. There’s less chance of it breaking.
  • Apart from flies, it is good to go straight out of the box.

Cons

  • The rod is a little too heavy.
  • The reel is enclosed. When the inevitable tangles happen, it is going to be a nuisance to unpick.
  • It doesn’t come with a carry case.

Takeaway

This is a budget kids’ fly fishing setup. Make no mistake. It will do the job, to a point. This one would be ideal if your little friend only accompanies you now and again.

For those looking to get their kids into fly fishing in the long run, consider going up a price bracket or too for the real deal.

Redington Crosswater Fly Fishing Outfit

Speaking about going up a bracket, check this one out.

As kids fly fishing rods go, this is probably my favorite.

What’s it got going for it?

Well…

At 7’6″, it is one of the shorter rods on my list. But unlike my other suggestions, this isn’t particularly stiff. In fact, it has a medium to fast action. This rod is good enough to get someone started and see them through a fair few seasons before they’ll be needing something that the ‘big boys’ use.

One standout feature is the color. Both the blank and the included Cordoba rod tube come in a rather eye-catching blue. While we are talking about the rod tube, I love how it has room to fit the reel in.

And here’s the thing…

If you are smart, you can leave the rod ‘tackled up’ and just pull it apart and leave it in the tube as is. This means you only need to set up your rod and not anybody else’s. The rod also comes with alignment dots to make rigging it even easier.

The line that accompanies the rod is decent too. Being weight forward, it is rather easy to cast.

Just what a beginner needs!

Pros

  • Eye-catching blue color.
  • Really good quality.
  • It’s a nice caster.

Cons

  • It is a little on the pricey side for a children’s fly fishing rod.

Takeaway

There isn’t too much to dislike about this combo. It’s one of my favorites. This is certainly good enough to last a few seasons. So if your kid wants to go with you a lot, and gets into fly fishing, be sure to give this serious consideration.

Wild Water Fly Fishing Combo Starter Package

Now I just said the Redington Crosswater may be my favorite… But this also comes pretty close.

For the money, it is absolutely spot on!

Want to know what I love?

It’s got everything a kid would need to get into this wonderful sport.

I’m not just talking rods and reels either. Included as part of the deal, you’ll get other ‘extras’ like; leaders, a fly box, forceps, line nippers, and even two zingers.

Get kitted out, little man!

The rod is really sweet to use too. At 7’6″, it is bang on optimum for little arms. The action makes for easy casting too. The reel that goes with it is nicely made, solid, and well-balanced too. It even comes loaded with a nice peach-colored floating line.

At weight 3, this setup is pretty lightweight too.

Pros

  • A true all in one fly fishing package for kids.
  • Beautiful rod and the reel isn’t bad either!
  • Included carry case, saving you from having to buy another bag.

Cons

  • Seriously? I’m not going to complain. This is a great setup.

Takeaway

For the money, you will not get a better value kids fly fishing setup than this. It literally has everything you’ll need for a fun day out with junior. It is light, easy to cast, and very good quality.

Fly Rods for Kids (A Quick Guide)

Surely you want all of the same features in a kid’s fly rod as in the adults’ version, right?

Well…

To a point, yes. There are one or two considerations that you may want to look at. Here’s what I think you should focus on.

father and son fly fishing together on early morning

Best Fly Rod Length for Kids?

Let’s get this out of the way right now. You can teach kids to fish with a full-sized rod. And there is a school of thought that says this is the way to go.

Except…

Kids aren’t world-famous for being the most patient. Anything they ‘can’t’ do, they tend to give up on.

Is that what you want? No, thought not. So, here’s what I suggest.

Go for a shorter, easier-to-handle rod. The reasons for this are twofold:

  • It reduces the risk of them clipping the tip section off as they walk with it.
  • Shorter rods are easier to cast.

By making it easy to start, you create a positive feedback loop that means they are more likely to want to come again.

If you want to know more general information about choosing a fly fishing rod, there’s a great guide just here.

Action

I’m normally a huge advocate of fast action rods.

But…

Fast action is more whippy and harder to control. For kids, your best bet is to head towards something that is more medium.

Twinned with a stiffer rod action, you’ll find that they can get to grips with casting (which is normally the most challenging part of fly fishing) more easily.

The action also plays a part when fighting fish. You want to make sure they have a rod that takes the work out of it a little. Or you risk tired fish… and kids.

fly fishing angler makes cast while standing in water

Durability

If you’ve got kids, you’ll already know…

They break things often.

Pick something that can take a little harsh treatment. The same goes for the reel. When your young one catches their first fish, the last thing they’ll be thinking of is putting their gear down carefully.

Price

Don’t go spending thousands on a rod that will be dropped, lost, and maybe even used for sword fighting!

Yes, they did.

With any luck, your kids will fall in love with fly fishing, but if they don’t, you don’t want to have invested fortunes in a new ‘fire poker’. I’d strongly recommend choosing a rod and reel combo under $200 for sure.

Additional Extras

Kids are expensive at the best of times. The more you can do to reduce the costs when getting them into fly fishing, the better. Try your best to find a set that comes with those little extras that normally all add up.

Keep an eye out for included lines, leaders, flies, and other fly fishing tools.

Summary

Taking your son or daughter out onto the lake can be a wonderful time (except when they start to catch more than you).

By getting them kitted out with the right gear, you’ll be giving them the ability to learn about a sport which is a real-life skill.

If you think they’ll stick with it, why not invest in something a little longer? Here are the best fly rod and reel combos around.

Have you got any suggestions or thoughts about kids’ fly rods and reels? Why not share them in the comments?

Bob Hoffmann

The author of this post is Bob Hoffmann. Bob has spend most of his childhood fishing with his father and now share all his knowledge with other anglers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

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