You want to try out fishing, and so you walk into a fishing tackle shop to see how you can get started. As you step in, you are greeted by columns of rods on the rod stands, and rows of reels in the window display. Choosing a right setup for yourself among the hundreds of brands and models of rods and reels seems like a daunting task now. You decide that maybe you should buy it another day after you have gained more knowledge from the web or friends or something… but that day never comes. Does this situation sound familiar?
This article will help you kick start a relaxing hobby without first stressing yourself out with the choice of tackle. We believe most of you will not want to spend too much on a new found hobby yet. Therefore the equipment that we're going to recommend here will be in the lower price range but yet be of reasonable quality. We shall split the selection of your setup into 3 main parts – reel, rod and line. Let’s start with the reels.
For a beginner, the places that you will likely frequent are the reservoirs, along shorelines, or jetties. The water depth at these places is generally not deep, so you will only need a small to medium sized reel to store your line. Shimano and Daiwa are two Japanese reels recognized throughout the world. Their reels are smooth and durable - provided that you take good care of them of course.
For Shimano, we will recommend the following models:
Alivio 2500FC (Price: $55-$60)
Aernos 2500XT (Price: $65-$70)
The better Daiwa reels come with a higher price tag and will be discussed in a separate article.
There are many factors that contribute to the difference in price but main ones are the number of bearings and material used for the reel components. The Novice Angler Course will cover a more in-depth study on reels including important basic reel maintenance knowledge that you will need to know to prolong its lifespan.
For rods, the brands are relatively not as significant as compared to reels and there are much more selections too. However there are a few points to look out for when choosing a rod - try to get a rod with the following properties:
- Fast to medium action rods. This will give you a more sensitive feel when the fish is nibbling.
As a beginner, it is important to train your fingers to be able to feel and interpret the signals coming from the end of your line.
- Fuji SIC guides. There are made of titanium and less prone to corrosion.
- 15-25lb rating.
- Length 6-7ft.
- Price range for entry level rods is around $50-$80.
Just tell the sales person at the tackle shop to show you the rods with the above criteria, and let you choose one that is calling out to you.
Frankly speaking, choosing a suitable rod for yourself is like finding a partner. Some rods maybe perfect for others but they may feel awkward to you when you use them, and vice versa. It will be easier for you to find your matching rod if you can understand the basic behaviour and characteristics of the rod first, just like when you are looking for a life partner. This section is quite extensively covered in the Novice Angler’s Course.
For lines, we will strongly recommend braided lines. If you have attended the Beginner Angler’s Course, you will have already known the advantages of braided line over mono line. Though braided line is a few times more expensive, it is a worthwhile investment. Brands are not so important but the few reliable ones are:
The line poundage should be in the range of 15lb to 20lb. You will likely require about 150 yards of line of this poundage to fill up a sized 2500 reel.
Therefore to summarise, the following equipment specifications will be a well balanced entry level fishing setup:
Sized 2500 reel loaded with 15/20lb braided line (estimated length 150 yards required) paired with
a 6-7ft rod that has a rated range of 15-25lb.
We hope you will have many happy memories with your first fishing setup just like what we had with ours. Good luck and tight lines!
Disclaimer – We are not affiliated to any of the fishing reel and line brands.