How to Buy Fishing Equipment

Each year, millions of outdoors enthusiasts enjoy fishing. The sport is a test of skill and patience for anglers of all ages and experience levels. Professional fishermen use sophisticated equipment when competing in fishing tournaments or pursuing huge ocean-going game fish. But recreational anglers can have an enjoyable day using only basic fishing equipment and fishing from shore. If you're interested in trying a new outdoor activity, follow these guidelines to learn how to buy fishing equipment.


  1. Image titled Buy Fishing Equipment Step 1
    Decide where you're going to do most of your fishing.
    • Unless you have access to a boat, you'll be doing most of your fishing from the shore or off a pier.
    • Whether you're fishing the ocean surf or a quiet freshwater stream, you can catch fish using basic fishing equipment. Freshwater and saltwater fishing tackle are interchangeable in only a limited number of circumstances, so it's probably best to choose one over the other.
    • Most beginners start with freshwater angling, because the fish are generally smaller and the equipment is less expensive.
  2. Image titled Buy Fishing Equipment Step 2
    Determine what type of fish you want to pursue.
    • Whether you're doing most of your fishing at a freshwater lake or off an ocean jetty, you'll want to choose tackle, fishing rods, reels, line, lures, hooks, leaders and sinkers, that gives you the best chance to catch the specific fish you're targeting.
    • Among freshwater game fish, bass is probably the most popular. Largemouth bass, or bucketmouths, are indiscriminate eaters, so they're apt to strike a wide variety of lures and baits, depending on certain conditions.
  3. Image titled Buy Fishing Equipment Step 3
    Choose your tackle. Once you've determined what type of water you're going to fish and the fish you're going to target, you can start selecting fishing gear. The primary components include:
    • Rod and reel: The rod and reel must be compatible. Baitcast reels are ideal for shoreline bass fishing because they provide excellent casting accuracy. Spincast reels are easy to use, making them a good choice for a novice fisherman. Either type can be attached to a casting rod. Spinning reels must be combined with a spinning rod, which has its reel seat on the underside of the rod. These types are good for onshore fishing, enabling anglers to cast lightweight lures considerable distances.
    • Line: Fishing line is designed to withstand the stress of a hooked fish. This strength, or test, is balanced with the sensitivity of the line, enabling the fisherman to detect when the bait is struck. Choose line that can withstand the force of the size of fish you're pursuing.
    • Bait and lures: Professional bass fishermen carry a wide array of lures, each designed to work under specific conditions. Surface lures are fished quickly during low light at times of year when bass are most aggressive. Spinnerbaits are designed to cut through underwater vegetation -- where bass lurk during low-energy periods � without getting caught up on obstacles. Crankbaits are cast-and-retrieve lures that enable you to cover wide areas when you're not sure where the fish are gathering. Live bait, like grubs and minnows, also are highly effective. They must be properly run through with the hook to attract game fish. Consider the time of the year, water temperature, clarity and depth, and proper presentation before tying a lure on your line. A novice bass fisherman should have several different hooks in his tackle box, and at least 1 plastic worm. Buy 2 surface lures, jigs and crankbaits. One of each should be brightly colored. Complement those with muted, natural tones.
    • Leaders and sinkers: A leader can help you catch bigger fish. Leaders are small sections of high-test, abrasion-resistant line that connect the line from your reel to your hook. Sinkers can be used to help bottom lures, like jigs, reach desired depths.
    • Other equipment: Certain other tools are important, particularly for onshore fishermen. A net with an extended handle can help you bring in fish without having to wade. Wire cutters are useful, allowing you to cut your line without fraying it. Needle-nose pliers can help you extract lures from fish. Also carry a small-first aid kit in case you stick yourself with a hook.


  • Consult with knowledgeable fishermen before you fish each day. Most anglers openly share information regarding what type of lures are getting the most strikes that day and what areas seem to be holding the most fish.
  • Protect yourself from the sun when you're fishing. Wear dark sunglasses and sunscreen when you're fishing. Be sure to wash your hands after applying sunscreen. Fish won't strike lures that carry an unusual scent.
  • Consider the balance of your rod. Lures fished with still presentations � with the rod tip up � put considerable strain on your hands and forearms over the course of the day. A balanced rod, with neutral weight distribution, can help reduce discomfort. If you're using a lightweight, freshwater rig, balance the set-up horizontally on 1 finger. If it quickly tilts toward the handle, the reel is too heavy for the rod. If it tilts toward the rod tip, the rod probably is too heavy for the reel. Some anglers will install a weighed cap on the butt end of the handle to improve the balance of grip-heavy set-ups.

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