In general this is not the case as children need more power from the rod to cast than an adult and often it is actually easier for them to use a bigger rod than usual.
There are small rods for tiny children that are great fun and really simple to use but generally these are not much more than toys. They can be used in a very small stream or in ponds and possibly on the foreshore in the rock pools when the tide is out.
There are many different types of rod for different types of fishing. Fly fishing is an increasingly popular sport. This is a good way of game fishing for trout, sea trout, salmon and some saltwater fish.
There is a huge range of fly fishing rods on the market and it is as well to take good advice from an expert before embarking on a purchase. Fly rods are used to fish a fly. This is a hook dressed with feathers or hair. Generally the fly represents or imitates something that the fish would like to eat. In some cases however the fly is merely a lure or an annoyance to the fish. This is particularly the case with salmon fishing where the fish are not feeding at all.
When selecting any rod for a child understand what the target fish might be. Having established this, try and get a really good understanding of the type of fishery being fished. Lake, river, saltwater, small stream or highland loch; they all require different types of rod for the best effect and most satisfactory performance.
Rod sizes vary from tiny five foot trout rods to 17 foot salmon rods. Most fly fishermen like to try to catch the biggest fish possible on the smallest rod feasible. This is a good ambition but it is very important to be able to reach the fish in the first place and it is a useless exercise if the rod being used simply isn't powerful enough to get the fly close to the fish.
For children a good sized rod is as follows:
|Double-handed rod||13' or 14'|
Do not be tempted to buy smaller double-handed rods for kids as they are very much more difficult to fish than the bigger rods. Children learn much quicker with a bigger rod.
Rods also vary in the way they are used. There are three types of rods used for two broad techniques. The single handed rod is generally no longer than 11 foot and is used to cast the fly, working the rod with one hand in a 'back cast'. The line comes off the water, over the shoulder and goes out behind the fisherman before being bought forward to cast the fly to the required position.
On lakes when fishing from a boat this is a very straightforward exercise as there are no trees or bushes to catch the fly as it goes behind. The rod is generally worked from the elbow to wrist in movement and very little exertion is required if the technique has been mastered.
Where the fisherman might be fishing a big river with trees on the bank and no space behind, a 'Spey cast' with a double -handed rod might be a more suitable method of presenting the fly. This is where the fly never goes behind the body; it is simply rolled out across the water in front of the angler. Double-handed rods are generally no shorter than 11'6" and go up to about 17'.
Most modern rods are made of carbon fibre and are therefore extremely light even when they are over 15 foot and are casting a line of over 40 metres.
Modern carbon rods have evolved from the original bamboo or split can rods developed through the late 19th and early 20Th centuries. The brands that make the best quality rods of all levels are either British like Hardy or American like Sage.
Some of the best rods particularly big salmon rods are Nordic and so keep an eye out for brands like Loomis or Loop. These may be too expensive for a young person just starting however and a cheaper version may be a better choice.
Fly rods and all fly fishing tackle is much more expensive than coarse or sea fishing gear so there is generally less liquidity in the market. A new rod is a big investment and many fly fishermen use the same rod for many years. There are some good quality makes which are slightly more affordable. Shakespeare, Grey, Daiwa, Vision and Orvis all produce good rods for those on a tighter budget.
Because of their delicate nature rods, although very strong, are extremely easily to break. The most common breakage comes from car doors or simply being stood on. A crack in a fly rod can completely disable the rod and make it redundant.
The rings and fittings on rods vary in quality but they are fundamental to the performance of the rod and so try and buy the best quality for the budget.
It is very important to make sure that the reel is compatible with the rod. Reels and reel fittings have evolved substantially in the last twenty years and different makers have different fittings.
The tackle is completely redundant if the reel won't fit onto the rod and so the buyer would be well advised to ensure that the rod does have fittings that work or that a reel is purchased with the rod.
Some fittings on less high quality rods are very loose and the reel, while fitting onto the rod, then works itself out of them and falls off the rod. Reels falling on stones or into the bottom of a boat often end up badly damaged and sometimes written-off completely.
Always try to buy the best quality brands as they will generally have the best designed and most comfortable finishes; these will last the longest.
Check the rod for blemishes and signs of damage, particularly at the joints and reel fittings. Ask for close-up photographs.
A more popular and indeed better value form of angling is coarse fishing. It is particularly popular with children. Coarse and Sea fishing are great ways to get kids started and the tackle is generally much more affordable.
Spinning rods come in a range of different sizes and prices. Again do not be tempted to buy a small rod because it seems to be a better fit for the child. Anglers of all ages need to get the hook or fly close to the fish. Children need all the help they can get to achieve that. If they can't reach the fish, they won't catch a fish. The result will be bored children.
That said there are a number of simple rules which, when buying any fishing rod should be applied. These rules are particularly useful when it comes to selecting used rods for kids.
Overall when buying used or new for kids apply the following simple rules:
- Buy the right rod for the right quarry.
- Buy the right rod for the relevant conditions. River, stream, lake, pond and sea fishing all require different tackle.
- Look and feel - does the rod feel comfortable in the hand and does it look right? An angler spends a great deal of time with a rod and if it does not feel right then the overall enjoyment of the sport is reduced. Think about the seller's returns policy.
- Quality of fittings - are the rod rings, whipping, reel fittings and the handles of a quality that justifies the price? The higher-priced rods are always finished to a very high specification and at times seem over-embellished.
- Reel Compatibility - reel fittings on certain rods are not compatible with certain reels. This is particularly prevalent in fly rods where reel saddles are different shapes and lengths and as more rods are designed the reel fittings often fail to fit older generation reels. The reel can be a very much more expensive element of the tackle that the rod so buy the rod and reel together if possible. Otherwise make sure the rod you are buying carries the reel you already own.
- Joints - Even with modern rods it is important that the joints are of the highest quality. With so many rod sections, joints are all potential weak spots. The sensible approach is actually to tape the joints when assembling the rod as this stops the joints turning and potentially getting out of position. If a joint moves apart it can shatter and render the rod useless.
- Warranties - most rod manufacturers offer very good guarantees on their tackle. Some will give a lifetime guarantee. When buying any rod ask what guarantees come with it. Even the highest quality, best protected rods can be easily broken in a car door or possibly by an enormous fish.
- In general, always ask the local expert. Knowledge of the fishery and fish have a significant bearing on tackle.