If you are a complete beginner at fishing, learning about and choosing fishing gear can be overwhelming. It’s great if you have friends that can lend a hand. Learning is faster when you have a mentor who supplies you with advice axed with experience. But what if you have no such valuable acquaintances? In this case, you have to learn from guides and videos. It will take more time and nerves, but knowledge gained from your own experiments and mistakes is priceless.
This guide will help you prepare for your first fishing trip. We’ll cover all must-have fishing gear and accessories in terms understandable to beginners and explain why and for what purpose you need them.
Before we dive in, let’s get things clear. In this article, we’ll be talking about fishing equipment needed for angling. Angling is a fishing method that uses a fishing rod, line, and hook. Other methods use a spear, net, or even bow. As you’ve probably guessed, these methods are less popular. For that reason, we are going to discuss angling gear here.
Fishing Rods and Reels
The fishing rod is the core of your fishing gear set. So you should give a lot of attention to this item. Choosing a rod that meets all your needs and promotes learning is complicated because there is so much to consider. First of all, let’s talk about different types of fishing rods.
Spinning fishing rods are multi-purpose and the easiest to learn fishing with. They accept spinning reels that hang from the underpart of the rod. Large guides also face the ground.
Typically, anglers use spinning rods to catch smaller fish because such rods are built to run a lighter line. But with a diversity of designs and sizes, spinning rods can be adapted to many fishing types except for fly fishing. Spinning reels give a natural holding position and provide a nice balance when casting.
Long story short, spinning rods and spinning reels are great for beginners.
A casting fishing rod fitted with a casting (or baitcasting) reel makes for a completely different system. Casting rods have small guides facing upwards and casting reels mounted on the top. The bottom of a casting rod employs a trigger, which assists handling because it provides a gripping area for your finger.
Built strong and stiff, casting rods are ideal for pulling a big fish out of cover. They use drag systems that protect heavy lines against even worse abuse. Generally speaking, such rods are recommended for experienced anglers.
Fly rods are lightweight and flexible to assist long casts of lightweight lures called artificial flies. A fly reel sits on the underside of the rod. It accepts weighted lines and is basically used for storage, ensuring uninterrupted tension, and counterbalancing the weight of fly rods when casting. As it’s the case with casting rods, fly rods are the choice of more advanced anglers.
When it comes to picking a fishing rod, you’ll be choosing from a great variety of lengths, materials, actions, and powers. Let’s talk about that.
The general rule here is to match the length of the fishing rod with your fishing method. Longer rods boast impressive casts, but they require handling skills at a higher level. Shorter rods lack casting distance, but they are easy to maneuver. A 7-feet fishing rod is an all-around option for beginners.
Novice anglers often choose fiberglass rods for a nice balance of durability and affordability. The problem is that they lack feedback. Besides, often built sufficiently heavy, fiberglass rods can cause hand fatigue during long-hour fish fights.
Because they are lighter and stiffer, graphite rods are more sensitive to bites and easy to handle. However, greater stiffness means increased brittleness.
Composite rods take the best of two worlds, providing a perfect balance of flexibility, weight, and sensitivity. They are the most expensive rods.
Action determines where and how much the rod bends as well as the speed at which it goes from the bent to the original position. Fast-action rods bend only on the top part. They are strong and sensitive. Medium-action rods bend on the upper half, allowing for longer casts. Because they are less sensitive, they give the fish more time to bite. Slow-action rods bend all the way to the handle and are easier to maintain the right amount of tension.
Power is the capability to withstand pressure. Rod’s power range is like that: Ultra-Light, Light, Medium, Medium-Heavy, Heavy, and Ultra-Heavy. Use lighter rods for smaller fish and heavier ones for larger species.
Fishing lines differ in many aspects, such as buoyancy, visibility, shock strength, abrasion resistance, stretch, and memory. First of all, what is memory? Line memory is its proneness to curling when put out of a spool. A high-memory line can kink when you reel in or out and cause tangling or backlash. Shock strength is the line’s capability to withstand sudden pressures.
There are several fishing line types, each suitable for different applications. Monofilament lines are the most common because they’re universal, cheap, and have been around the longest. Monofilament is stretchy and has high shock strength. But it also means that it’s low-precision. Monofilament has relatively low memory and is easy to rearrange when backlashed. The buoyant nature of monofilament makes it perfect for topwater fishing. The drawbacks are decreased durability and strength.
The copolymer lines are made of several materials for increased strength and abrasion resistance. They are not so stretchy but have the same shock strength as monofilament lines. Its lower memory means higher precision. Unlike the monofilament, it doesn’t float.
Fluorocarbon lines are known for their invisibility, high strength, high abrasion resistance, and durability. Fluorocarbon is very precise and stretches only under a lot of applied pressure. However, it has high memory.
Braided lines are the strongest. They have no memory and don’t stretch, which means high precision but low shock strength.
Terminal tackle is gear that attaches to the end of the rod.
When choosing hooks, you need to pay attention to many aspects, such as type, size, and design. A single hook with a spear hook point and ringed hook eye is an all-rounder for beginners. Generally speaking, there are barbed and barbless hooks. Barbed hooks hold the fish tighter but cause more damage. So if you plan to release the fish, choose barbless hooks.
Then you need weights, otherwise called sinkers. They provide a greater casting distance and keep your bait under the water’s surface, assisting stabilization.
Floats, or bobbers, are bite indicators. They also keep the bait off the bottom.
To prevent your bait from twisting the line, you need a swivel. It connects the line with the bait and allows the latter to spin freely.
Live Baits and Lures
They are used to attract fish. Live baits may include worms, larvae, and minnows. Something organic, like corn or bread, will also do. Nightcrawler is a universal live bait irresistible to many species. Live baits are great for fishing in low-clarity, cold waters with moderate fish activity.
Lures are artificial baits. Unlike live baits, lures work better in warm conditions when there are clear and warmer waters with high fish activity. With lures, you can cast farther and more accurately. Jigs sink and attract bottom feeders. Plug lures are great for surface fishing with reel-and-stop movements. Spinnerbaits rely on vibrations caused by blades. Spoon lures wobble and resemble an injured fish. Soft plastic lures come in different colors and shapes and mimic a wounded critter. Fly lures use furs, threads, and feathers.
Tackle boxes allow for the organized storing and transportation of all fishing accessories. They come in a variety of designs. Pick a smaller box to keep all essentials right at hand and a bigger one to store the rest of your gear.
Long-nose pliers can effectively remove a hook from the mouth of the fish or your skin.
To prevent your eyes from suffering from glare, bring a pair of sunglasses. Polarized lenses allow you to see farther below the surface.
When you are geared up with this fishing stuff and dressed in a proper fishing outfit, your odds of catching a fish increase, but remember that equipment is just a tool that doesn’t guarantee success. Master your skills, and one day you’ll become an expert angler.