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How to Fish: Get Fishing Equipment

Equipment: Rod, Reel, Tackle

The first step is to get the necessary fishing equipment. Most of this will depend upon the type of fish you are targeting. In general, you will need the following items:

Fishing Rod

Your fishing rod, also called a fishing pole, is a length of fiberglass, wood, or other material which holds your fishing reel and is the primary device used by the angler. There are a wide variety of fishing rods available ranging from small and lightweight to large and heavy duty. For each type of fish, there is an optimal rod for catching them. We’ve assembled a list of what we believe to be the best fishing rods for catching specific types of fish.

For the beginning angler looking to fish in lakes or rivers, a fairly standard rod to use is about 6ft to 7ft long, made of a fiberglass or composite material, and fairly lightweight. I personally believe the Shakespeare Ugly Stik Spinning Kit (5-Feet) is a fantastic rod for a beginner.

Pro Tip:

You can purchase both a rod and reel together in a “combo” or “kit” to save money!

When purchasing a rod, as a beginner you shouldn’t pay more that $20 to $40 for one that is more than sufficient for starting out. From there, you can always upgrade to better equipment as time progresses.

Fishing Reel

The fishing reel mounts onto your fishing rod and performs several important functions such as allowing you to cast and retrieve your line. There are several styles of fishing reels with the three most common being:

The easiest to learn is the spincast, and most difficult being the conventional reel. A spinning reel is a happy medium. I personally have never enjoyed using a spincast reel. In my experience, despite being designed to avoid line tangles, I constantly ended up with furious with an angry mess of fishing line stuck inside the reel. The choice is yours, you may not have the experience I have had. I should caution that use of a conventional reel by a beginner is not recommended. These reels, when used correctly, are amazing! That being said, in the hands of someone less experienced, you may end up with a tangled mess of line (called a bird’s nest). In my opinion, starting out with a spinning reel is a good choice as these reels can be used for a wide variety of fishing and are not too difficult to master.

Fishing Tackle

Fishing tackle is the weights, hooks, lures, swivels, and other devices you can attach to your fishing line to catch fish. As a beginner, you will not need to go overboard here. There are many tackle kits that come prepackaged with most of the common items you will need. An example is this Eagle Claw Freshwater Tackle Kit to the right. You could also just visit your local Walmart and assemble your own tackle kit with a few basic items and a tackle box.

The main items you will need are:

  • Weights: Used to help your bait sink in the water or get farther casts. Usually beginners use “split-shot” which resemble small lead clamps or they use small (less than an ounce) egg weights.
  • Hooks: Without this, you won’t catch anything! For smaller fish such as crappie, bluegill, and bass, you won’t need a hook any bigger than your thumbnail. The average size you would need is a #1 or a “1/0”. NOTE: Those are two different sizes!
  • Lures: This is not a requirement because you could simply put a worm on a hook. If you do not wish to use organic bait, then one of the many varieties of manufactured lures should be on your shopping list. The main types of lures are jigs, spinners, spoons, soft plastic baits, plugs, spinner baits, and flies. Each one has specific uses for the type of fish you are targeting as well as location and water conditions.


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