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What size surf setup for a 10 year old?

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My not so little guy has expressed interest (finally) in surfcasting with me this fall season, and up till this point he’s only used boat gear and his freshwater bass rod.

Does an 8ft setup sound reasonable? 3000 or 4000 size spinner? A steelhead rod perhaps? Any of you dads that have been through this let me know your tips!

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I use my salmon/steelhead rod on the beach for kingfish and it's super light. A ten year old could absolutely handle it, I think. It's 8' 6" and I have a 2500 sized Battle DX on it. I wouldn't throw any plugs heavier than 3/4 oz on it though. I will throw heavier metals with it though. I have used 2 oz metals with it before and it was fine. An 8-9 foot rod with a 3000 or a 4000 would be a good choice IMO. Just keep it lighter and he should do fine. Should also note that if you're planning on using plugs then you might want an actual small surf rod instead of a salmon/steelhead rod. I have a stiffer salmon/steelhead rod but I really only use it with bait and the occasional small/medium metal, and I know a lot of the rods out there built for salmon/steelhead are pretty slow, a lot of noodle rods. Tight lines

Edited by ProSkateFisherman

They were biting before you got here and they’ll bite again after you leave

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My oldest is 12. Fishes with me on the regular but only in summer so far and only bait rigs. And he stinks at casting even though I let him do it on his own last few seasons. But I’m definitely pulling him out of bed to hit the Fall run some November morning.

My bigger concern is what do I let him throw without being dangerous to him or me. I’m planning to go with some weighted EWG weedless hooks and various soft plastics. Single hook rigs with crushed barbs. Or add a monofilament weed guard to a light bucktail with crushed barb. Something to minimize snagging himself or me. (Not worried about anyone else as we won’t be fishing anywhere crowded- for certain.)

I may put one plastic swimmer (one of the many with just the front treble) aside and crush the barbs. 

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Forgot to say:

  •  he’ll be using my 5k Nasci that I practically filled with grease inside & out to make it semi dunkable
  • wont be concerned with sand or water getting in it as I know that reel inside out. (And have a second spool available to rerig quickly if there’s a wind knot.) Plus a backup reel. 
  • And probably my JW Onyx 8’ 1/2 - 1.5 I think is the rating. Won’t be throwing anything over an ounce. 

I also plan to emphasize light stuff and things with low sink rate or that can be purposely bounced along the bottom. 


Another consideration is the when & where. Weekdays are a problem for school but probably still a better option to avoid crowds. December schoolie bite is more appealing although the cold becomes a factor. As dads, we wanna enjoy them enjoying the sport which is less likely as the temp drops. 

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I started my 12y/o daughter off with a 8’6” H rated salmon/steelhead rod .5 to 2oz (Wright & McGill, it was like $60) paired with a Penn Conflict 4000 loaded with Fireline fused 14#. She killed it with this cuz it’s light and easy to handle. Now at 15 she uses Major Craft “shore jigging” rods (w/ Stradic C5000) both are 9’6”, they are lighter than most North America style surf rods and have shorter butt to reel seat lengths, so agin, easier to handle.


Fall of 2019 “Chasing the Blitz” LOL!!!



Edited by Inshore

"Only through movement will you achieve victory"


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You have to judge your own kid's size and physical capability as well as their fishing knowledge, but I think 8' 4k is the ball park. My 8 and 9 year old use 7' and 8' with 4k reels for both plugging and bottom fishing. Almost more importantly - can they bait a hook, clear a snag or break off a rig, tie on a new bottom rig, release fish themselves. Many times the answer is no, which is fine - just means I'm managing them rather than fishing myself at those times. Point being, look for balance between room for growth and matching ability so you can both enjoy yourselves.

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My 10y/o daughter can cast my 9'0 Lami carbon no problem, she can get more distance with an 8' St. Croix I have and prefers that. 


Funny story regarding my daughter from a few years back. Mid covid - got a tip that some gator blues were just around the corner. Threw all three kids in the truck and rushed down. Heavy wind at our backs and some serious bluefish. My middle son was about 6 at the time. I cast out a line for him and it was swallowed by a gator and took off. I asked my daughter to hang tight before she cast as I wanted to get her a bigger rod and plug based on what my son (me) had on the line. With that, she ignores me and cast out a snapper rod with a 1oz rubber shad  on it. She instantly hooks up, fights the fish, lands the fish and before I even realized it, she was reaching for my pliers to take what was left of the plug out. Needless to say, I was proud. It was probably a 6-8lb blue. 


so to recap, 8' to 9' 4000-5000 reel. 



Edited by Bighouse
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