Shirt, Pants, Jacket
Long-sleeved shirts and long pants are the safest bet for young anglers. They protect arms and legs from cuts, scrapes, insects and the sun. For chillier trips, dress the kid in lightweight layers that he can easily remove if it gets too hot. Cotton is comfortable and breathable, but it takes longer to dry than synthetic fabrics like polyester and nylon. Denim is ideal for protection, but it takes a very long time to dry. The outermost layer of clothing can include a jacket. Jackets should be lightweight and preferably in a material like nylon that offers protection from wind, water and sun. If you dress him in short-sleeved shirts and shorts, be sure to apply sunscreen and insect repellent to his exposed skin. Look for fabrics treated with UV protection.
The first thing to look for in kids' fishing shoes is the proper sole. Thick rubber soles, with plenty of traction, are a must. Make sure the rubber is thick enough to protect against wayward hooks, rocks and other debris onto which a child may step. Shoes that are somewhat waterproof, like a pair of rubber boots or a leather/mesh bootie, will help keep feet dry. Boots should have lining that fits snugly and securely, especially around the ankle.
A pair of waders is a necessity for kids who will be fly fishing. Look for waders made of a synthetic material, like neoprene, that will stay dry but not bog them down. Children's waders should also have adjustable shoulder straps for a snug fit and a quality tread on the rubber shoe, so kids won't slip and slide on rocky and slippery surfaces. Also look for reinforcements on the knee and rear areas that will hold up to constant kneeling and sitting. Pockets add one more plus for holding supplies and to keep their hands warm.
Fishing vests give kids a place to store supplies, while adding another layer of protection and warmth. Look for roomy fishing vests that are easy to move around in and that have plenty of pockets. Exterior pockets with hook-and-loop fasteners provide easy access to supplies, while zippered inside pockets keep items secure and dry. Some vests include rod holders and pouches big enough to hold bulky items. Cotton and polyester-cotton blends are lightweight and comfortable. Some fishing vests double as personal flotation devices, another must for kids near the water.
Give the kid a fishing hat, glasses and a personal flotation device. Fishing hats protect kids from the sun, rain and other elements. A bucket style hat with a short brim is ideal--it should be lightweight and feature mesh or small air holes for breathability. Look for a material that is treated to offer UV protection. Sunglasses are a must for additional protection from harmful UV rays, and safety goggles are a good option for protecting eyes from wayward hooks during casting. Personal flotation devices, or life jackets, are a must--even if the child knows how to swim.
There are a few other items to add to the list of fishing clothes for kids. Give them thick socks to help keep their feet dry and comfortable; pack an extra pair and choose fleece socks in cold weather. An extra t-shirt or sweatshirt is also handy for backup warmth and a change of dry clothes.