Essential Kids Fishing Gear + 10 Tips To Help Them Have More Fun!
Ready to take your kids fishing?
At Tackle.org, we commend you for helping the next generation of anglers grab a foothold, getting out of the house, and enjoying a passion that you can both take part in.
Before you head out for your next trip, you’re going to want to make sure they’re properly geared up and ready to go.
Expecting them to “fit in” with the gear you give them, when it’s designed for adults, can be a recipe for disaster and quickly turn a good trip south without you realizing exactly what happened.
Instead of throwing your own adult-sized gear at them and expecting them to be comfortable and safe, take a look at some of our recommendations below.
What you’ll find is that, when you get them gear specifically for them, you’re going to have a lot less apprehension and nervousness when you ask them if they’re ready to go on their first (or next) fishing trip.
Best Kids Fishing Vest
A good fishing vest for kids pulls double duty.
First, it’s going to let them fill their pockets, which every kid loves to do. Second, it’s going to keep them safe when they’re on the water.
Since most young kids either don’t know how to swim, or aren’t confident swimmers, making sure that they’re staying safe in case of an accident is critical to you both returning home safely and them looking forward to going out again.
Below are 3 of the best kids fishing vests available in 2019.
#1 Fishpond Elk River Youth Vest
Fishpond is well-known among fly anglers are designing some of the best, most well-fitting vests available. Their Elk River line of youth fishing vests is no different.
It’s constructed from lightweight, breathable fabric and fully adjustable around the shoulders and waist so your child can grow into it as they get older.
With a total of 13 interior and exterior pockets, there’s plenty of storage space, along with extra gear attachment velcro tabs, cord loops for tying tackle up, and a d-ring net lash so they can keep their net with them, it’s one of the best kids fishing vests we’ve found.
#2 Master Sportsman 26-Pocket Kids Fishing Vest
The Master Sportsman 26-Pocket Kids Fishing Vest is a blend of 50% cotton and 50% polyester, which helps it dry quickly and keeps it lightweight. Your kids won’t even notice wearing it, which is a huge benefit when you’re planning longer trips.
With 26 pockets, there’s plenty of storage space for them to carry along whatever it is they think they’ll need for the day, and still have plenty of room left over for you to get them to store what they actually need for the day.
Whether you’re fly fishing, going ultralight fishing, chasing catfish, bass, sunfish, or even pikes and muskies, your child will have a hard time loading the vest down. It also fits well-enough that you can easily put your child in a life vest while still keeping them cool.
#3 GSKids Tactical Adjustable Fishing Vest
If your kiddo is more into camouflage and tactical gear, the GSKids Tactical Adjustable Fishing Vest gives them plenty of options.
While it doesn’t have nearly as many pockets as the Master Sportsman or the Fishpond Elk River vests, it still offers them plenty of storage space for everything they’ll need to carry with them — like plenty of snacks and a water bottle.
There’s a handful of different color choices so you can match it perfectly to your kid’s personality, and it’s multi-way adjustable so you can easily fit it over a life jacket without them getting too uncomfortable.
Best Kids Fishing Hat
A kid’s fishing hat doesn’t just look good — it feels good and keeps them cool in the hot sun.
Nothing ruins a trip faster than your young child getting frustrated and starting to complain because they’re tired of being in the sun, they’re getting too hot, and they can’t get comfortable.
Instead of putting them into a potentially uncomfortable situation (that could easily be avoided), take a look at some of the best kids fishing hats available in 2019.
#1 Home Prefer Kids Safari Bucket Hat w/ Flap
If your kid is younger than 10-years old, the Home Prefer Kids Safari Bucket Hat w/ Neck Flap is designed with them in mind. It’s built from 100% polyester, making it resist water while still providing up to a UPF 50 resistance rating.
It’s lightweight and breathable, with large vents over the neck and around the top and sides of the head, with a chin strap to keep it firmly on your child’s head as they move around.
The smaller size fits great on younger children and keeps them cool so you can keep them focused on finding fish and having fun.
#2 Connectyle Kids UPF 50+ Summer Hat
If your child is against the neck flap, for some reason, or doesn’t like the longer chin strap hanging in front of them (or if it gets caught when they’re fishing), the COnnectyle Kids Summer Hat is the next best option.
It doesn’t have the same neck flap and chin strap that get in the way for some kids, but it offers the same level of protection, blocking up to 98% of the sun’s rays. It has two vent holes near the top of the head, allowing plenty of air to move through and keep your child cool.
It also features a built-in band to collect moisture from sweating without irritating your child’s forehead as they’re moving around throughout the way.
#3 LETHMIK Kids Fishing Cap w/ Neck Flap
Last on the list, but not least, is the LETHMIK Kids Fishing Cap w/ built-in neck flap. It’s constructed from breathable and water-resistant polyester and is designed for older children. If your child is 8+ years old, this could be the perfect fishing cap for them.
It provides the same UPF 50+ rating, blocking out up to 98% of the sun’s rays, and has a 5” circumfrence on the sweatband that can easily be adjusted with the built-in head strap.
There are two vents that surround your child’s head, leading to the back of their neck, giving them plenty of airflow to keep them cool, while the neck flap offers up more protection than both the Connectyle and Home Prefer.
The LETHMIK is foldable and crushable, being easily stored in a pocket if your kid gets tired of wearing it or wants to let their head catch some fresh air, and quickly returns to its original shape once its put back on.
Best Kids Fishing Waders
Kids love being in the water, especially when they can walk around exploring and chasing their favorite species of fish.
If you’re planning on fishing from the bank, outfitting your kid with a comfortable pair of waders can help you turn a slow day on the bank to an adventure in the water, and your kids are going to love you for it.
The goal is to make sure they’re safe while they are in the water, though, so we’ve found 3 of the best waders for kids that can keep them safe from nicks and cuts, help them confidently walk through the water, and prolong the amount of time you get to spend out each trip!
Below are 3 of the best sets of kids waders we’ve found in 2019.
#1 Caddis Youth Stockingfoot Waders
Caddis is well-known among fly anglers and has come to be relied on during both cold and warm weather because they’re durable, comfortable, and breathable, keeping your kid from getting irritated while you keep them safe in the water.
The Stockingfoot waders are, exactly as the name says, full chest waders with neoprene stockings for boots. You can wear rubber boots over the neoprene, but the neoprene is designed for waters where you’re required (by law) to maintain a minimal disturbance.
They’re easily adjustable at the shoulders and the waist to keep water out and have built-in gravel guards to protect against cuts and abrasions if your kid isn’t wearing boots over the neoprene stockings.
Each set also comes with a free repair kit, in case they do get damaged while you’re out.
#2 Redington Crosswater Youth Fly Fishing Waders & Boots
Redington is another company that’s been known by fly anglers for a long time, but you don’t necessarily have to be a fly angler to see the quality in their youth line of waders. Each set of Crosswater waders can be converted from chest-high to waist-high to provide more comfort.
They’re a lot more lightweight than the Caddis Stockingfoots so if you’re fishing in warmer waters the Redington Crosswater may be a better choice for keeping your kid dry and cool.
Where they’re different is in the stockingfoots. The Caddis have built-in neoprene stockings, while the Redington Crosswaters come with rubber-soled boots to keep your kid stable as they’re walking through the water.
If the water you’re fishing on require you to maintain a “light foot” and not disturb the surroundings, the Caddis are a better option. However, if you’re fishing mud, sand, or rock bottoms and need increased stability, the rubber-soled Redington Crosswaters are a better fit.
#3 Oaki Toddler & Children’s Neoprene Waterproof Fishing Waders
For smaller kids, the OAKI Toddler & Children’s Neoprene waterproof fishing waders are a great deal. They’re designed specifically with smaller kids in mind, and insulated with a second layer so they can stay warm in colder waters and mud.
They’re a chest-high design that can be adjusted to your child’s height through the shoulder straps and waist belt. They’re also lightweight and easy to put on, drying quickly once your child is done for the day and takes them off.
The built-in rubber boots help your child find a good grip on wet surfaces (so you’re not worried about them slipping and falling) and have a large front pocket to store their snacks and a quick drink if you’re not in deeper waters and they’re wearing a life vest.
Best Kids Fishing Kayak
Is your kid growing older, wanting to get out in their own boat, or spread their wings and move a bit away from you while you’re on the water?
If you’re a fan of kayak fishing and want to take your child out with you, but get them off your kayak (or out of a tandem kayak), getting them their own boat can be one of the best experiences in their life.
Not only will it let them branch out and feel more adventurous, but it frees up your own kayak space to store more gear for yourself (and for them).
However, before you take them out for their first trip we highly recommend you teach them proper kayak fishing safety in a local pond or swimming pool and ensure that they’re always wearing a safety vest because accidents can happen at a moment’s notice.
The key is to make sure you’re saving money upfront to guarantee that your child is going to be into kayak fishing with you. Then, once you know they’re into it, you’ll want to get them kayaking first, and then fishing from it second.
Taking the proper steps to keep them safe, happy, and comfortable goes a long way towards making it easier to get them looking forward to being out on the water with you!
Below are 3 of the best kids fishing kayaks we’ve been able to track down in 2019.
#1 Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
The Lifetime Tamarack Angler 100 is a kayak that will let your kids grow into it. The molded footwell gives them plenty of seating positions and the seat itself is comfortable enough to keep them from getting irritated throughout the day.
The 10ft length is long enough for them to get enough speed and momentum going in order to be able to keep up with you (especially if you use a 12ft to 14ft kayak), but still wide enough to maintain stability as they’re moving around inside.
For the price, it’s coupled with two rod holders and two internal storage compartments, a paddle keeper, and multiple bungie-tiedowns. There isn’t much you would need to do to get them on the water safely and make sure they’re into kayak fishing without wasting a ton of money.
#2 Sun Dolphin Journey 10ft Sit-On-Top Kayak
The Sun Dolphin Journey 10ft Sit-On-Top, while priced similarly to the Lifetime Tamarack, is a bit different in its design. It still has adjustable pedals but they’re not molded in. It’s hard to choose between this and the Lifetime Tamarack as which is actually #1, so you’ll have to!
The major differences are the size of storage compartments and seating position. The Journey doesn’t have a lower pad, but does have a wider seat while it offers a smaller center compartment but a much larger rear compartment.
The Journey also has a sharper V-hull shape, making it easier for your child to get up to speed and maintain that same speed, at a slight cost of stability. It is still a stable kayak but won’t be as stable as the Tamarack. However, it will be faster and smoother than the Tamarack.
#3 Lifetime Triton Angler 100 Fishing Kayak
The Lifetime Triton Angler 100 comes pre-equipped with molded footwells, multiple rod holders, and a rear bungee for storage. It also includes a more comfortable seat pad than both the Journey and the Tamarack.
The unique hull design is more stable and gives better tracking (the ability for your child to keep it moving in a straight line) while also boasts more carrying capacity at nearly 300 pounds of weight.
The built-in scupper holes keep your kid dry and water out of the seat. We do prefer the construction of the Tamarack and the Journey 100 over the Triton Angler 100, but if pricing is a major issue for you, the Angler 100 is more affordable as a first-time kayak for kids.
10 Tips To Keep Your Kid’s Fishing Trip Safe & Fun
It’s no secret that taking your kids fishing can either be one of the most memorable experiences in their life — or one of your own most miserable moments in their life.
Kids tend to have short attention spans and, unless the fishing is hot, you may find yourself spending more time micromanaging their expectations than you do getting to chase down big fish and put a smile on their face.
Instead of letting a good day turn into a potential nightmare scenario, here’s 10 tips you can use to plan for problems before they come up, and keep your youngin’ focused on the water instead of trying to entertain themselves while you’re out.
#1 – Switch up your target species.
There’s times when you’re going to have a perfect day planned and just know that the fishing will be in your favor.
Then, you get to the water and realize… it was all a dream.
Instead of letting a good day go South because the fish you want to target aren’t biting, switch up your pattern and move to a species that’s a little more willing to take what you’re offering.
For kids, it doesn’t usually matter what size of fish they’re catching — they just want to catch fish and catch more of them.
By switching up your patterns and baits you can easily begin targeting sunfish or catfish and turn a cold day warm while creating memories and taking pictures of the bright smiles on their faces.
#2 – Take off exploring the area.
If all else fails and you can’t even get other species biting, kids also love to get out and explore the area where you’ve taken them.
Their active imaginations and being outdoors can get them opening up and talking while you get to explore new haunts and honey holes.
Whether you’re on a boat (it’s more fun if you are!) or you’re walking the bank, the sights and sounds will keep your child occupied while you try to figure out how to turn the day around (for yourself) and start planning your next trips.
#3 – Put the gear down and talk.
Even when the fishing is slow, your trip isn’t a dud. Putting the gear down and talking to your child is a great way to get their mind opening up and letting you in on things you may not have even known they were interested in.
Most times, you’ll find that kids have some out-of-the-box thinking that can help you get your own wheels spinning, ending up with you figuring out a new approach that puts more fish on the bank or in the boat with you.
Just being out of the house with you is more than enough for kids, especially if you’ve been busy with work and haven’t had a chance to connect with them in a while. Kids aren’t just out there to catch fish!
#4 – Leave electronics in the truck.
Living in the digital age can be a blessing in disguise, giving you a way to keep your children occupied while you try to figure out how to turn the trip around.
However, when you’re on the water, it’s highly recommended that you leave the electronics back in the car or truck.
Taking them with you will have your child focused on the electronics instead of trying to help you find fish, explore, and start talking about things that interest them.
A good fishing trip doesn’t have to involve fish and, if you leave the electronics at home, you’ll end up hearing (years down the road) how much fun your youngin’ had while they were out with you, even if you didn’t catch anything.
With electronics onboard, you’re not going to hear a peep from them now, or later. Leave them in the vehicle and make the trip about connecting with your child and you’ll both have a great time.
#5 – Downsize your gear.
If the bite’s tough, the tough go ultralight.
Ultralight fishing gear is known for catching massive numbers of fish because of the micro-sized lures, lighter lines, and lighter tackle.
If you’re having a problem catching the fish you want, kids love picking up a set of ultralight gear to cast and retrieve with and will end up hooking up more often than they will with bigger gear.
The smaller size of ultralight gear also means it’s better fitted to their body size, which makes it a lot more comfortable for them to use over longer periods of time.
Never rule out downsizing gear, especially when you realize how much bigger those smaller fish feel when they’re hooked up on the end of a 5’6” rod with 4lb test. Even the smallest sunfish put up a fight that your kids will remember for a long time.
#6 – Pack a bunch of snacks and drinks.
A hungry and thirsty kid is a frustrated kid, and when a kid is frustrated mommy and daddy are going to be frustrated, too. There’s no two ways around it — it’s just the way it is.
Instead of letting them get cranky when they get hungry, pack plenty of snacks and drinks for them to munch away on while you’re on the water.
Many times, even when the fishing is slow, having a snack and a drink in their hand while they get to talk to you about stuff they’re interested in is more than enough to turn a bad day into a memorable trip.
And, you won’t be frustrated while you’re trying to load the gear up after they turned cranky and you didn’t realize a simple snack and a drink was enough to keep their crankiness at bay!
#7 – Keep them comfortable.
On the same token as making sure they’ve got plenty of snacks and drinks, you also want to make sure they’re staying comfortable while they’re out on the water.
Kids love playing in the sun when they want to play in the sun, but if you’re expecting them to stay happy (and not cranky) while you’ve got them out in the sun and you aren’t catching any fish, they’re getting hungry and thirsty, and bored (to boot), you’re going to have a bad day.
Make sure they have plenty of shade (find a shady spot to eat lunch), give them a hat to cover their face and neck, keep some ice water handle to cool them down, and a comfortable pad to sit on so they’re not getting the achy-bottom syndrome, and your trip will be more productive.
#8 – Practice your technique, instead.
Just because you’re “fishing” doesn’t mean you have to be “catching”.
If the bite slows down or never even picked up to begin with, take the time to teach your kids proper technique, how to handle their gear, how to retrieve their lures, and spots to look for fish.
This learning experience goes a long way towards making your next trip more successful while also giving your kids the confidence to know they’re fishing the right way.
Teach them how to tie on lures properly, how to manage their tackle, how to keep their gear clean, what lures work best when, the proper way to fish their lures, and the different species of fish they can be targeting, and they are going to have more fun.
It’s a given!
#9 – Take shorter trips, at first.
Young kids have a short attention span — incredibly short.
That means you need to plan on them getting distracted if the fish don’t immediately start biting or you have to spend time fumbling around getting your gear ready.
Instead of planning on waking them up at 5:30am to get on the water by the time the sun comes up, plan shorter trips later in the day or more towards the evening.
Short 1-2 hour trips can help keep your child interested without making them bored, overwhelming them, or frustrating them and making them think fishing is boring or irritating.
The short trips also help keep their anticipation high for the next time they’re able to get out on the water with you. It’s this build-up of anticipation that will have them looking forward to their next trip instead of dreading it like so many end up doing.
#10 – Go swimming.
When all else fails, you can’t keep your youngin’ focused, and the fish just aren’t wanting to bite, toss the fishing trip out and just go for a swim.
Swimming can be a fun experience for you and your child and helps you turn a potentially bad day into something they’ll remember for the rest of their lives.
As long as the water’s warm, the weather’s hot, you have a life vest on, and your child loves to swim, let them jump off the boat or wade down into the water and have some fun while you relax and think about how you’re going to make your next trip even better.
Planning on taking your kids fishing?
At Tackle.org, we commend you! It’s becoming more and more rare that anglers are looking forward to getting their kids on the boat with them but it’s something we believe needs to start happening more often.
If you have any tips for making a fishing trip with your kids more successful, you know of a piece of gear that helps them catch more fish or keep them comfortable, or you want to share a story of the last fishing trip you took with your kid, we want to hear from you!
Leave a comment below and let us in on what you’re thinking!
Until next time, tight lines, from Tackle.org!