What To Look For
Basic fishing outfits consist of a rod and reel, fishing line, fishing tackle and lures or live bait. A good rule of thumb when buying new gear is to not get the cheapest or the most expensive. The one exception is fishing line. Quality line doesn't cost much more but will keep your catch from getting away. Match your line's test strength to the weight of your fish and go heavier for fishing in weeds and lighter for clear water. The user friendliness and versatility of spinning reels make them ideal for beginners, and the more ball bearings a reel has the smoother its action is likely to be. When it comes to rods, good ones have ceramic guides, a cork handle and medium action. Your choice of bait is also important. Soft plastic lures are a good place to start since they're cheaper and more effective than most other options.
The biggest mistake you can make when shopping for fishing gear is not matching the size and strength of the gear to the size and strength of the fish you're targeting. The result can be a snapped line, worn-out reel, broken rod and lost catches. You'll also have poor results if you choose the wrong gear for your style of fishing. Reel and rod designs, line types, tackle rigs and baits and lures are all engineered for specific fishing environments. Choose gear that matches the waters you fish, the fish you catch and the way you catch them.
Where To Buy
Walmart has long been the low-price leader, but they lack the experienced staff and wide product selection of reputable sporting goods retailers. If you're looking for top brands under one roof with expert advice and excellent after-sale support, Bass Pro Shops and Cabela's are excellent choices. These shops are favorites of outdoor enthusiasts, and their popularity and size gives them good buying power. You can even open a free account to get updates on sales and promotions.
Shakespeare's graphite and fiberglass Ugly Stik rod is almost unbreakable and comes with a seven-year warranty. You can find it for between $30 to $60. Pflueger's President spinning reel has ten ball bearings and a silky smooth action. It's available for $60 to $80. Berkley Trilene XL line delivers solid performance at a low price of between $3.68 and $10. Stren Microfuse line is over twice as strong as other lines of the same diameter, and it gives off a glow that attracts fish and is easier to see. You can find it for $28 to $38. Curly Tail Grubs are the best freshwater lures of all time according to "Field & Stream" magazine, and you can get them for $2.59 to $3.79. Natural colored Senko worms are also a favorite of fishing enthusiasts, retailing for $5.29 to $7.29.