Buying A Fly Rod For The Young Beginner

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Photo by Louis Cahill

Photo by Louis Cahill

By Justin Pickett

Bicycles, Red Ryders, footballs, and Barbie dolls.

These are among the many things that get scribbled onto Christmas lists this time of year in hopes of finding them beneath the tree on the 25th morning of December. Easy enough. A trip to the local department or sporting goods store can handle those requests.

But what about when a fly rod makes the list? Or maybe it didn’t, and you are just a super awesome parent that wants to introduce their kid to fly fishing?!

My first fly rod was a Christmas gift from my parents. It was a Scientific Anglers starter kit that I had seen in a Bass Pro magazine. I didn’t have a fly shop close by, and the internet was in its infancy, so finding options and checking things out first-hand just wasn’t an option. I remember showing it to my parents and just jotting it down at the top of my wish list. I knew nothing about what I wanted, or needed, and neither did my parents. I just wanted something, anything, to get me started… and then to figure out what the heck tippet was???

Luckily for today’s kiddos, things aren’t quite as vague. A quick internet search can pull up a handful of options for the beginning angler interested in getting their feet wet. Whether you’re looking for a first rod for your little tike, or maybe the next teenage protige, several companies have you covered for just about every fly fishing scenario. You won’t find many bells or whistles on these rigs, but as an initial investment into fly fishing, these kits are perfect for getting a young angler on the water without breaking the bank.

So, if a fly rod has found its way onto a Christmas list in your family, make sure you give these kits a look-see!

Echo Gecko

With a modest, forgiving action and kid/hippy-friendly cosmetics, the Gecko is ready for action. Featuring a small lower grip for two-handed casting, the Gecko can be fished with one or two hands. With a comfy EVA grip and Echo’s lifetime warranty, the Gecko will keep your kid fishing through the learning curve.Screen-Shot-2017-12-11-at-5.31.52-AM

Redington Minnow

The all new MINNOW rod was designed and tuned to meet the needs of younger anglers, with its shorter rod length and a medium action that allows for easy casting and enjoyable days on the water. The combo includes a Crosswater reel spooled with a WF Rio Mainstream fly line and cordura rod case.Screen-Shot-2017-12-11-at-5.34.43-AM

Scientific Anglers

You shouldn’t have to take out a loan to get started in fly fishing. With moderate action, graphite rods and dependable, disc-drag reels, each kit provides the new angler with a matched floating fly line perfect for anything from trout to redfish.Screen-Shot-2017-12-11-at-5.45.16-AM

Orvis Encounter Outfit

Enter the world of fly fishing with ease with affordable Encounter fly rods. Complete with fly rod, reel, line and backing, these kits will have any aspiring freshwater or saltwater angler fishing lickety-split. And at under $200 each, these outfits make it easy for the novice angler to get in on the sport of fly fishing.Screen-Shot-2017-12-11-at-5.39.59-AM

Justin Pickett
Gink & Gasoline
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9 thoughts on “Buying A Fly Rod For The Young Beginner

  1. Great memories…mine was a pfleuger medalist rod/reel 7’6” 4 weight, the one fly rod sold at my local sporting goods store. Still have them today and have a blast catching brim/Brookies with it.

  2. We bought the Echo Gecko for our 3 year old and it works great, one thing that isn’t mentioned above is that the grip, both upper and lower, is narrower than normal. It is sized for kids hands and is really easy for them to hold and (attempt to) cast with. Thanks!

  3. Damn! I could’ve used this article a few weeks ago! Great read and a lot of info. I ended up buying my 3-year-old daughter the Echo Gecko. It seemed like it was going to be the best for little hands.

  4. Cabela’s has a couple of great choices for starters. My favorite is the RLS combo. OK stick but a great reel for around $150 with a case. Reel and case definitely translate to a rod upgrade down the line.

  5. As U.S. Team coach and Youth Director of the American Casting Association, I’d like to also suggest the small handle TFO Bug Launcher graphite rods for $89.99. The 7′ 4/5wt for kids up to about 90lbs, and 8′ 5/6wt for larger youth and small adults.

    Further, I’d like to stress the importance of using much lighter reels (under 3.5oz or 100g) than those included in manufacturer’s rod/reel/line ‘kits’. For example, the small Orvis Battenkill I or II reels for graphite rods under 8′, and Battenkill III size for 8-8.5′ rods.

    For line, leader and practice fly, I strongly recommend the ACA true 5wt or 6wt orange line w/low-stretch core, combined with a 7.5′ 1x-2x leader and bright practice ‘trout fly’ for visual learning while aiming!

    Here are convenient links for your readers to review:

    Kids learning on short, full-action rods w/properly sized handles, balanced to maximize FEEL with lighter reels and true 5 or 6wt lines (w/short leaders & visual flies), has been proven to be a magical formula…

    Just search young ‘Maxine McCormick fly fishing’ and you’ll want to share the above advice with Santa!

  6. Hey Justin and Louis,
    Previously submitted a detailed comment (maybe too detailed) that would be beneficial to your readers Shopping for kids/youth outfits.

    Let me know what’s up. Don’t want Santa mad at me!


  7. I personally think an 8ft rod for a kid under 10 is massively long as it would be the equivalent of 12’+ rod for me at 6ft tall. 45 years ago I started with an Eagle Claw Featherlight and they’re still being made today, Being fiberglass, they’re practically indestructible and short enough (6.5ft/7ft) for young kid to comfortable handle. Also being 5wts and with medium action, they allow a kid to feel the rod load. Plus at around $30 each, you can’t beat the price. Find an old Martin Tuna Can reel on Ebay for $10 to slap on it and a basic entry level Scientific Angler Fly line and you’re out fishing for under $70.

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