Kids fishing

Teaching your kid how to fish is a key milestone that will make memories for a lifetime. It’s always a special day when you teach your kid how to cast a rod and see them come to love the pastime you’ve enjoyed since you were their age. My name’s Brian Sticka. I’m Fleet Farm’s fishing expert, and I want to give you some pointers on how to help make your next fishing trip fun for your little anglers. Stock up on the gear you’ll need to provide them with fun memories and help them reel in that photo-worthy fish. Want to know what I personally recommend? Check out Stick’s Picks for what I recommend for each item on the checklist. It’s very important you keep their first adventure fun, don’t over-do it and don’t forget the snacks. Check out my kid’s first fishing trip checklist to learn more.


  1. Fishing Poles
  2. Life Vests & Jackets
  3. Fishing Apparel
  4. Bait & Tackle
  5. Fishing Nets
  6. Fishing Baskets
  7. Coolers
  1. Fishing Poles

It’s a good idea to start the kids off with easy, light poles to teach them the basics. Kids’ fishing poles are great for casting from the dock or dry land, as well as off the boat. Some of them are even designed with their favorite cartoon characters for them to show off. If your beginner fisherman is looking for their next pole, there are short and light spinning combos from brands like Zebco, ProFISHiency, Okuma, and Shakespeare for them to try out.

Stick’s Pick: ProFISHiency Crazy Dock Combo, it’s 34” long and comes with a spinner bait to fish and a casting plug to help them practice their cast.

  1. Life Vests & Jackets

You always need life jackets on board, especially for less experienced swimmers. There are vests for all sizes and different styles for you to choose from. There are life jackets for younger kids between 30-50 pounds, and older kids who weigh between 50-90 pounds. Make sure the weight range of the life vest matches the size of the child. Remember – a life vest that’s too big can slip off, making it less safe for your child in the water.

Stick’s Pick: Full Throttle Rapid Dry Flex Back in Infant and Child sizes, this flotation device helps keep the kids’ heads out of the water.

  1. Youth Fishing Apparel

When you’re looking for fishing gear, you need your little fishing pro to look the part. Pick up a new t-shirt and shorts for the trip, and don’t forget to bring a hat and sunglasses when you’re doing a little afternoon fishing. If you and junior have to walk around in the water, it doesn’t hurt to give them a pair of water shoes to protect their feet from sharp rocks. Check out these fishing shirts with UV protection and pick up some sunscreen before your trip.

Stick’s Pick: Igogs junior fish sunglasses, it’ll protect their eyes and help them see fish under the surface, great reasons to be a Stick’s Pick!

  1. Bait & Tackle

Resupply your fishing gear and tackle before you head out on the water. We offer live bait at all Fleet Farm Gas Marts, and in many of our stores, so you can get all the nightcrawlers and leeches you need while you fill up your tank. If you’re looking for new lures to try out, there are tons for you to choose from. Don’t forget to pick up extra fishing line, hooks, and bobbers for your kiddo’s first cast. You can carry all this gear in tackle box trays for easy access from brands like Flambeau, or you can give your beginner fisherman a new tackle box from trusted brands like Plano and Worm Gear. There are also heavy-duty tackle bags for seasoned fisherman that can carry up to 8 different tackle box trays from outdoor brands like Evolution Outdoor and Lakes & Rivers.

Stick’s Pick: Creme Lures Panfish Kit, it has several lures and explains how each lure is supposed to be used.

  1. Fishing Nets

Once you’ve got a fish on the line, it’s time to reel ‘em in. Having a fishing net comes in handy especially when you have a new learner. Plus you might get lucky and pull in a big walleye! Give your little angler a hand when they bring their catch closer to the boat. You can find sturdy fishing nets that are great for panfish and come at a great price from brands like Frabill and Dotline. You might also like heavy-duty nets for big trophy fish that will last summer after summer.

Stick’s Picks: The lightweight Ego Extendable net is a favorite for panfish, and the South Bend Kid’s Bait n Bug Fun Net for catching bait and other critters when the fish aren’t biting.

  1. Fishing Baskets

Friday night fish fries are always a highlight of Midwestern summers. There’s nothing better than throwing fresh fish on the pan. I recommend you have a fishing basket with you to hold onto your keepers until it’s time to head back to shore. These fishing baskets hang off the side of your dock or boat to keep the fish in the water so you can stay out on the lake a while longer.

Stick’s Pick: 14×24 HT Enterprises floating gold wire fish basket

  1. Coolers

You never want to be caught on the lake during a hot day without a cold drink or a couple of snacks for your new fishing partner. Be sure to bring a cooler for a full day of fishing. I recommend the durable, hard-sided Yeti coolers that are built to last. You can’t go wrong with soft-sided coolers either. They’re easy to carry and are perfect for carrying drinks and snacks for a little fishing trip.

Stick’s Pick: Yeti Soft Side Backback Hopper, bring some drinks, snacks and throw your catch in the bag when it’s time to go home.

Check out the rest of our fishing gear to see what else you might like before you cast your line. While kids under 16 don’t need a fishing license, you should pick one up for yourself when you’re in the store to join in on the fun. Tag us in your fishing trip pics on Facebook and Instagram to share those fun family memories.

Products Featured In This Article

Be prepared with kids’ fishing gear.

kids fishing pole

Kids Fishing Poles

Find a wide variety of Rod & Reel Combos for Kids at Fleet Farm

Shop Kids Fishing Rod & Reel Combos

Rods, reels, combos and more.

musky lure with 4 hooks

Bait & Lures

Find spinners, spoons, jigs, an assortment of live and preserved bait plus more at Fleet Farm.

Shop Bait & Lures

Spinners, jigs, hard baits and more.