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Last month I had the kids with me on the Saturday that was casting clinic day for a local fly fishing club, and my daughter who just turned 9 wanted to try, so I handed her my rod and handed her off to the instructor and after about 5 minutes was already exceeding my pathetic efforts ("No, dad, do it like this! You look like a robot! :p).


Ever since, she's been saying she wants her own fly rod, and my 9-foot 5 weight is probably a bit large for her, even though she's tall for her age. I'm thinking of getting her one for Christmas, but she has a tendency (as many kids do) of trying something and not sticking to it (karate, ballet), which is fine up to a point - you have to try things in life and see if they are for you or not - hence my dilemma. On the one hand, I don't want her to have a crummy rod and be discouraged, but I don't want to spend a lot of money and see her give it up, either.


So, things being considered:


-TFO Bug Launcher 7 foot, plus an old reel and old 5WF line I have in a box. I also have a 5 sink-tip on that reel at the moment if that would load the rod more easily.  Cost: $80 now and would require getting her a reel, line, and backing if she sticks with it.


-LL Bean Angler II outfit (7-foot 5-wt, reel, backing, line, leader). Cost $69


-Eagle Claw Featherlight (7-foot 5-wt) with the old reel and line mentioned above. Reviews of this rod are not terribly favorable, but most are also comparing this low-cost glass rod to much higher-cost graphite, which isn't exactly apples to apples, so I'm not sure if this thing is a piece of junk or not (although at this low of a price, maybe yes?). Cost: under $25.


I'm sure I'm not the only dad or granddad here who has faced this dilemma, so I'm seeking your sage advice (but no, she's not getting a Sage, hehheh).  What would you do/have you done in this situation?

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I teach kids to fish all the time. Try this out;


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Helping to make fly fishing easy for youngsters was Tim Rajeff's goal when he created the ECHO GECKO rods. No longer do children have to learn to fly fish with a rod that is too long or too stiff or use a rod with a handle designed for adult hands. ECHO GECKO rods have a special diameter handle and a small 2" long fighting butt that allows the smallest anglers to use two hands to cast. A bright yellow blank and a fun colored handle make these rods as much fun to look at as they are to cast. The rod is a great length for trout, pan fish, and bass. The rod can handle a short belly WF5 or a standard WF4 line.

GECKO Rods feature:

  • Three piece travel design
  • Alignment dots for quick assembly
  • Wild colored EVA extra small diameter full wells handle
  • 2" EVA fighting butt
  • Fuji-style fast tighten reel seat
  • Bright yellow gloss blank with orange thread wraps
  • Hard chrome snake guides
  • Rod sock and sturdy cordura covered rod case
  • Echo lifetime warranty



GECKO 7'9" 4-5 3 A MED FAST $99.99

I like a 5wt line and if you go hole hog look on ebay and get a Sears red colored fly reel then you are in business. Find your self a pond with blue gills and some #10 yellow popper next spring leave your rod home and go out and fun some fun wih your little girl on a sunny afternoon, have memories for a life time. Do this as offten as possible! Jim Ducy

Thanks, Jim. I scratched the Echo Gecko from the list partly based on price and partly because if she decides it isn't for her and I wind up using it myself or selling it,  I'd rather have something a little more toned-down :-)

The feather light eagle claw is a nice little rod, cast nicely, and for the price is nice to have as a spare anyway!!!!

The tfo are great little rod and have a unlimited lifetime warrenty!!!!!!

That is a good price on the on the combo kit from ll bean, I have never fished it but then she is set up!!!!!

Everytime I buy a new flyrod I go thru the same problem you do!!!!! I do have 4 TFO rods and had to have my 2 wt. replaced sent it in on a Monday, They had it back to me on Friday!!!!! $25. replacement cost which is shipping and handleing!!!!!


You can not go wrong with the 2010 Eagle Claw featherlight. I recently purchased this rod for $19.95 at Dick Sporting Goods. What I thought would be a cheap yellow fly rod that would be put in the closet for my nephew, I was astonished with action and performance of this rod. I have over 50 fiberglass rod, Wonderord, Fenwicks Phillipsons and I have to say this rod is every bit as good as my other rods... It is a great rod not just for a beginner but for veterean like myself..

Here is a nice writeup on the rod

i have to agree with eagle claw.bought for kids or friends who want to try fly works really well i was surprised.little bait store by me went out of it for 6 bucks.they had 5 i bought 1.oh well

Have you ever considered tenkara? They are fantastic rods for teaching fly casting and a blast catching bluegills with. 

Eagle claw also makes a 6"6' 3/4wt rod that is a nice little rod that I would recommend. It actually works very well with a 5wt line. Put a cheap real and moderate line on it and you won't have a lot of money in it and she will have a fun little rod. I would never put a graphite rod in any beginners hands. They are too delicate and any little nick is inviting a catastrophic failure. Glass will take a lot more abuse. She will love it is my guess. I like mine and I have several black rods. Some costing big bucks.  Take the stress out of getting the first rig for a beginner, kid or not. 

I should have added that my 9' 5wt black rod sits in the rod case while my 6' light rods get to see all the action. Don't sell them short. On a good day with no wind I can get out there 60' casts and I don't consider myself a good caster.


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