OK, so you want to go fishing but you haven’t yet got the equipment. If you are like me you hate the fact that there are so many different combinations of rods and reels out there. Do you want a stiff 6.5 foot rod or a light action 5 foot rod? Do you need a bait casting reel, a spinning reel or an ultra-lite? Do you want a mono-filament line, a fluorocarbon line or a braided line? What kind of weights do you need? What kind of bait? Too many decisions to make just to go fishing. As an amateur I dislike having so many choices as they just confuse me, and when I get confused I get frustrated and then I usually just avoid the frustration by not making the informed decision. Well, I am going to help you out with your decision making process. I will break it down into a few short steps.
1. Ignore all of the ads you see on TV. Ignore all of the recommendations by professional fisherman. Ignore the salesperson steering you towards that $150 rod and reel combo. Realize that you are an amateur fisherman or woman. You don’t need to go spend hundreds of dollars on equipment just to get out and enjoy a day on the water. You can catch fish on almost any set up you choose. Yes, there are times that you will want certain equipment for certain situations, but in general no matter what you get you’ll be able to catch fish.
2. If you want to spend the money, then certainly go ahead and get the gear you want. If you want to buy a rod and reel separately then go ahead and do that. I myself just recently spent $120 to buy two new fishing reels. I bought a Shimano Spirex 1000RG and a Shimano Spirex 4000RG to put on two rods that I already own. I’ll explain why later.
3. Stay away from no-name brands. These are usually poor quality and tend to break down.
4. If you are just starting out, then just buy an all around rod and reel. A good general 6 to 6.5 foot rod with a spinning reel set-up will run about $30 and up. There are plenty of good quality brands that offer an affordable rod/reel combo. A few good brand names are Shimano, Quantum, Abu Garcia and Mitchell. Rod and reel combos that cost less will work, but tend to have more mechanical problems as they get used.
5. As far as line goes, a good fluorocarbon in 6 to 8 lb test will work for all but the largest fish. I recently watched a Bill Dance fishing show and it showed that Bill was using 65 lb test to land a 4 lb fish. Can you say overkill? The fun of catching fish is in the battle to get him into your hands. 65 lb test line is like using a grenade launcher to hunt deer. Sure you can do it, but where’s the challenge?
Now, as far as what I am currently using… I’ll tell you. As I said earlier, I just bought two new reels for two rods that I already have. Why two? Because I have one for general fishing but I also like to do some ultralite fishing.
I have a 6 ft medium action Diawa rod that I am going to put my Shimano Spirex 4000RG on .
I am going to load the reel with 240 yards of Vicious 8 lb Fluorocarbon line .
This will be my everyday fishing rod and I will fish for every type of fish in almost every body of water that I come across.
I also have a 5 ft ultralight Quantum rod that I am putting my Shimano Spirex 1000RG on.
This reel will be loaded with 200 yards of 4 lb EZ Fluoro from Spiderwire .
This rod is for trout fishing in quite small streams and places where there is just not enough room to work the larger rod.
As far as bait goes, if you are just starting to fish, I would use worms when you can (see NH fishing rules). Worms are easily fished and they work in almost every situation.
Hook size will vary in size depending on the type of fish you are going fishing for. For trout less than two pounds, in streams and ponds, you will probably use a #4 through #10 snelled hook.
For larger fish you will want to use larger hooks such as a Gamakatsu 1/0 to 3/0 Octopus.
I will get into more specific hook size as well as artificial baits when I post my own fishing trips in this blog. Until then,
Tight lines, The Amateur Angler