Kids Fishing Gear Checklist

Going fishing? Here’s the gear you need to pack.


Wondering what to take with you when you take a kid fishing? Fishing can be extremely simple and inexpensive and still provide great recreation and opportunities to have fun and spend quality time together.  The most basic needs are a fishing line, a hook and some bait. 

Pack your tackle box with fishing equipment such as:

  • Fishing license – Number 1 on the list, because it is essential for any adult over the age of 16 to possess a fishing license. It is easy and inexpensive to purchase a fishing license. They can be purchased online – on our homepage you will find an that will point you in the right direction based on your home state. All license fees go to support fish and wildlife conservation, including youth education programs. 
  • Rod – The simplest fishing rod is a cane pole. Mid-range rods are often sold as sets with reels attached, and for the novice this is a good way to ensure the rod, reel and line are properly matched.  An inexpensive spincasting rod and reel combo can be purchased
  • Reel – Closed-faced spincasting reels are button-operated and mount on top of the rod.  The enclosed fishing line is less likely to get tangled, making them an excellent choice for a kid’s first reel.  Make sure the handle is reversible, especially if your child is left-handed.  Open-faced spinning reels are a little more sensitive, and in the right hands, a comparably priced open spinning reel may be a little farther-casting and more versatile.  However, they  may not be quite as good a choice for the novice. 
  • Fishing line – Various types exist, from basic monofilament to braided to new super polymers.  For the most part you want to match the weight of the line to your rod and reel, and to the end-tackle you’ll be using.  For bream in freshwater 4-8 pounds is good, for bass 8-20 pounds and in saltwater 8-50 pound test may be needed- around 12 would be good for redfish.
  • Hooks – Hooks need to match the fish that you are seeking based on the size of the fish’s mouth.  Sizes are a bit confusing. They run from about 30 (the tiniest) to 1 and then start climbing from 1/0 to 12/0 (a big shark hook).  A small bream hook is typically 10-6 (10 being smaller) and should have a relatively short shank.  For freshwater bass, larger hooks (3/0 or 4/0) are very popular and typically have a slightly shorter shank.  For saltwater trout and redfish  2/0 or 3/0 would be good starting points.  Circle hooks are highly recommended because they tend to hook more fish in the lips allowing safer live release. Offset hooks are also good for rigging rubber worms and jerk baits. Treble hooks are three hooks mounted together and typically used on hard lures, but they have some notoriety about hooking fish in the gills, which reduces the fish’s chance for survival when released, and snagging clothes or skin.
  • Bait – Whatever you use to attract a fish to bite your hook can be called bait, whether it’s alive, dead or man-made. 
  • Lures – These are the man-made baits that come in an infinite variety of colors, sizes and shapes.  A basic jig is good for most species, if properly sized. A jig is a hook with a heavy weight attached directly to it, around which a skirting or plastic lure or perhaps natural bait (e.g. pork rind) might be attached.  Bass anglers often use soft plastic baits like, worms, crawfish or jerkbaits and rig them to an offset hook with a sliding weight.
  • Floats – Floats or bobbers are typically used with baits rather than lures.  The float should be big enough to suspend the bait and sinkers without going more than half-way under water.
  • Sinkers – Sinkers come in various shapes as well.  In saltwater, large pyramid-shaped weights are useful in choppy surf.  A bullet or cone-shaped weight is typically threaded over the line in front of soft plastic lures.  A split shot is often placed above crickets or worms and below a float when fishing for bream or catfish.
  • Insect Repellant – Unfortunately, it isn’t only fish that like to bite at dawn and dusk, and some of those pesky insects (especially mosquitoes and ticks) can carry diseases.  You don’t want to ruin a great family outing because you need to leave early to avoid the bugs.
  • Water – Carry plenty of fresh drinking water for everyone in your party.  It is easy to get dehydrated in Florida’s sun, and you sure don’t want to have to head in early because you didn’t plan ahead.
  • Pliers – Or special hook removers are useful for extracting hooks from the fish’s mouth without getting your self injured (depending on the species; some fish have sharp teeth, gill covers or spines in their fins). They are also important in the event someone gets stuck by a hook.
  • Snacks – We’re just helping you plan ahead, watching the fish eat up all your bait can be hungry business.
  • Sunscreen
  • Fingernail clippers – these make great line clippers.
  • Polarized sunglasses
  • Hat – for safety and comfort on a hot or rainy day.

To purchase any of these items, please click here and you will be redirected to Bass Pro Shops online store. We have partnered with them and purchases made through our affiliate links will earn a commission to help sponsor the efforts of our non-profit organization.

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