While you typically need a rod and reel, fishing line, hooks and baits to catch fish from a pier, boat or shoreline, many different types of products are available, and some of them are a better fit for experienced anglers, versus those just starting out with fishing basics. To learn more about the fishing gear you need to get started as a new angler, review the information below.
Basic Fishing Equipment for Anglers
With so many fishing tackle options from which to choose, it can be difficult to know where to start if you are new to the sport. While the type of equipment you need to pursue, take and catch fish will depend on your fishing environment, angling technique and the type of fish you wish to target, you will typically need:
- A fishing hook. When using a pole and line to fish on fresh and saltwater fishing environments, you need a hook, in order to attach your catch to the line. Popular styles of hooks include bait, circle, treble, siwash, aberdeen, jig, worm and octopus hooks.
- Fishing line. To connect your hook, lure and bait to your rod and reel, you need fishing line. Several different variations of fishing line include monofilament, braided, fluorocarbon and copolymer.
- A fishing rod. To control your fishing line, you need a spinning, casting, trolling, fly or ice rod. Surf, travel, ceterpin and offshore rods are other popular styles, but the type of rod you use will depend on your angling technique and experience level. Typically, spinning rods are best for novice anglers, as these styles are easier to handle.
- A reel. A reel attaches to your fishing pole (or rod), as this type of equipment holds your fishing line, and allows you to cast and retrieve the line when necessary. Different types of fishing reels include spinning, casting, spincasting, trolling, fly, centerpin, mooching and inline reels. Spincasting reels are best for beginners, while baitcasters (or casting reels) are ideal for experienced anglers. You may choose to purchase your rod and reel separately, or you may use a preassembled rod-and-reel combo, as these inexpensive products are excellent options for children and beginner anglers.
- Fishing lures. When fishing with artificial baits, you can use jigs, spoons, spinners, flies and soft or hard baits to attract fish. However, the type of artificial lure you use will vary, depending on your angling method and target species.
- Fishing bait. Certain types of fish prefer live baits to artificial lures, making baits such as minnows, crayfish and worms excellent options for attracting wider ranges of species. Visit your local bait shop to purchase minnows, nightcrawlers and other types of live baits, or catch your own, if you prefer to do so.
Other Tackle Box Essentials
In addition to the fishing tackle described above, you may choose to use other types of gear and equipment as well, including weights, sinkers and bobbers. Weights and sinkers increase the distance of your cast, and help your lure sink into the water at a quicker pace. Additionally, weights and sinkers can help keep your lure in place after it hits the water. Some weights and sinkers can weigh less than 1 gram, while others surpass 5 ounces.
Fishing bobbers are another popular accessory, as these tools attach to your fishing line, and help you detect bites from fish. This type of accessory is designed to float above your lure or bait, until you get a bite from a fish. After a fish hooks onto your fishing line, the bobber will move up and down in the water to notify you of the bite.
Moreover, there are other types of fishing gear to keep on hand. These include the following:
- A valid fishing license for the state where you plan to pursue fish
- A pair of needle nose pliers
- Line cutter
- Sunscreen and polarized sunglasses
- A first-aid kit
- A stringer
- A tape measure
- Additional lures, baits, hooks and line
- Fly fishing gear, such as artificial flies and waders, if you wish to practice this popular angling technique
The Best Fishing Rods, Reels and Lures
While the best fishing lures, baits, rods and reels for you will vary, depending on your angling technique, experience level, fishing environment and the species of fish you wish to target, many top-rated products are available from popular brands. These include: Lew’s, Shakespeare and Berkley. Several popular rods that may be worth considering include the following:
- Lew’s Carbon Fire Casting or Spinning Rod
- Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Spinning or Casting Rod
- Berkley Lightning Spinning Rod
- Fenwick Eagle Spinning Rod
If you are looking for a new fishing reel, top-rated options include the KastKing Royale Legend Baitcasting Reel, KastKing Centron 3000 Spinning Reel and KastKing Sharky III Reel. If you need saltwater fishing reels for targeting various types of marine species, top-rated options include the KastKing Sharky III, Penn Squall Level Wind 30LW, Daiwa BF 2000 Spinning Reel and Okuma Ceymar Lightweight Spinning Reel C-10. While the fishing lures you need in order to attract fish will vary, depending on the species of fish you wish to target, the Strike King Red Eye Shad and Lucky Craft Live Pointer 80DD are excellent options for catching bass. Other top-rated artificial baits include the:
- Heddon Zara Spook for targeting speckled trout, yellowfin tuna and largemouth or smallmouth bass.
- Acme Little Cleo for targeting trout, salmon and steelhead.
- Curly Trail Grub for targeting nearly any species of fish.
- Rapala Original Floating Minnow for catching a variety of large and small fish species.
Fishing Gear and Apparel
In addition to your fishing tackle, you may need to purchase special types of clothing and accessories to protect your skin and eyes from strong winds, cold weather temperatures and harmful UV rays from the sun. Many popular retailers, such as Cabela’s, FishUSA, DICK’s Sporting Goods and Amazon sell different types of apparel for freshwater and saltwater anglers, including waders, neck gaiters, waterproof jackets, hats and fishing vests. In most cases, however, the type of apparel you need will vary, depending on your fishing technique, location and the time of year.