Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Youth Fishing Reels - Why Do You Fail Me?

As I've written about before, I feel strongly that kids should have fun when they are outdoors.  They aren't to be cursed for their short attention spans, the ease with which they are injured - or how scared they can get when they're injured in an unfamiliar environment.

They aren't to be heckled for their lack of skill, their tendency to reel in a fish all the way to the tip of the fishing rod, or their desire to stop fishing and start throwing rocks into your fishing hole.

Okay, so, all you parents and grandparents, BE NICE.  Now that we've gotten that out of the way, I turn my attention to youth fishing reels.  You might think, "there's no such thing as a youth fishing reel.  And you might be right.  But what you don't know is that certain fishing reels come attached to youth fishing rods.  And those reels absolutely suck.

We've been through two reels so far, and no, I didn't oil them prior to use, so maybe there's some user error in there.  Hank's Spiderman reel, which unfortunately was molded to the Spiderman Rod, broke after maybe five total hours of very young toddler use.  It can't have had more than 30 casts under its belt.   Last summer, I bought Hank the Bass Pro Crappie Maxx Jr. setup, it seemed perfect.   Well, I should have read the reviews on Bass Pro's website:

Review 1:  The pole is just right
Review 2:  The reel knotted up
Review 3:  The reel does not function
Review 4:   Doesn't reel properly

I fell for some kind of marketing trick, you see.  I love the Crappie Maxx rods (formerly Wally Marshall signature model).  Even though the combo was cheap ($35 or so), and I usually pay $35-45 for a Crappie Maxx rod alone, I figured it would be fine, especially for a kid.

But that's one thing that I got wrong, and the Bass Pro reviews mention.  The reviews don't say, "Oh whatever, I guess it's passable for a kid."  Instead, they all point to, "This is not a great purchase - especially for a kid."  That's my mentality, too, and so it's time for an upgrade. The options?

Option 1:  Zebco 202
Pros:  Dirt Cheap
Cons:  Has a reputation for spontaneously falling apart
Hank-Worthy?   Don't think so.

Option 2:  Zebco 33
Pros:   The redneck standard for spincasters
Cons:  A lot of reel for small hands
Hank-Worthy?  Ehhh.  Maybe.

Option 3:  Zebco Delta
Pros:  Looks like it will work every time
Cons:  A $47 baitcast reel?  What?
Hank-Worthy?  If I can find it on eBay.

Not sure what I'll figure out - but I've gotta do it quick.  A boy needs a fishing rod!


Anonymous said...

this works well for my kids -

Jay D

Anonymous said...

I've heard from several parents that the Daiwa Goldcast Spincast Reel, GC120 is rugged and easy to cast.

Kirk Mantay said...

Thanks Anons...will check them both out!

Brian said...

I made my sons bamboo poles with nylon mason line as string and a snap swivel at the bottom to attach the hooks and sinkers. My boys fish for about 2 minutes then start throwing the rocks or falling in the water. Last year my oldest son who was 5 at the time caught his first fish by himself with the bamboo pole and then asked for a "real fishing rod" so I bought him an ugly stik with a spinning reel. A few practice casts in the backyard to get the hang of it and he was good to go. The younger 2 still aren't ready yet for their rods. I've always had bad experiences with the closed reels so I usually stay away. Just my two cents.

Kirk Mantay said...

That's a fair point, too. Hadn't thought of the old "cane pole and a cricket" which would serve everyone's purposes quite well.

Henry will keep coming back to it, as long as I'm still fishing, but his interest in standing perfectly still for long periods of time is approximately zero!

More importantly, he had told his teacher at school, "I like fishing but I have two fishing poles and they're broken." Grrrr. Cheap gear.

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