Basic Fishing Equipment


For your first fishing adventure, you’ll need some minimal equipment; a rod and reel, hooks, and bait.


Rod and Reel


I once saw an Asian man on Cocoa Beach Pier throw a line with a baited hook on the end into the Atlantic ocean.  As several fishermen waited for some action,  this man pulled in his line hand over hand , and had a nice sized whitefish on the end. The fishermen were elated.  One asked the guy  “Is that some kind of oriental secret, hand fishing?”  The guy smiled and reach over to a bench and grabbed his fishing pole.  He said, “No my reel broke.”  I’m sure the next chance he got, this zen fisherman popped into a local drug store or tackle shop and spent 20 to 30 bucks on a new rod and reel.  You should do the same. Get  a length you’re comfortable with, usually 7 – 10 feet will work fine, or longer if you like to surf cast. My nephew caught a beautiful spotted sea-trout  with a little 3 foot spiderman rod.


Try to make your equipment purchases at a locally owned tackle shop.  Aside from supporting your community, this will get you valuable insight into local fishing.  Engaging the people in local tackle shops in conversation is the best way to find out what people are catching and how they’re doing it.  And the prices aren’t as different as some of the major chain stores would have you believe.





English: I produced it myself from Fishhookana...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When selecting fish hooks there are two main things to consider, size and style.  For best results add a variety of hooks to your tackle box.  Try out different sizes and styles and keep track of what kinds of fish get caught with each hook.
Fish hook sizes go like so (from small to large)  32, 30, …  , 2, 1, 1/0, 2/0, … , 19/0, 20/0.  The smallest hooks are the whole numbers while the larger hooks have the slash zero eg: 1/0 (pronounced 1 aught)


In a canal you’ll be fishing with hooks from anywhere form an 18 up



to a 5/0.  To get started you’ll be doing fine with a bag of 4s and a bag of 2/0s.


When choosing the size of a hook, consider what bait you are using. With live bait, the hook should be small enough that the  fish sees the bait before it sees the hook.  With cut bait, you want to adequately hide the hook with the bait.  Sea trout can open their mouths so wide that they’ll swallow the bait whole, so the size of the hook doesn’t really matter.


Stainless Steel hooks are a bit more expensive, but more economical as they don’t rust as quickly as tinned hooks.  We usually use stainless steel, turned up eye hooks.



Hook eyes are aligned three different ways.  Straight eye hooks are usually used for fly fishing.  Turned up eye hooks are best for live baiting, and turned down eyes are great for snelling, which is a knot technique we’ll cover later.




WithFree Bait for Life, the first thing to put on the hook is whatever the water provides that day.  If your short on live bait, it’s time to experiment.  Some fish , such as catfish, will eat anything. Try fake worms, leftovers from the fridge  or frozen shrimp.  The main thing is  you don’t need a big investment to start fishing.  A line with a hook on the end and some bread as bait will provide hours of fun and relaxation.


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One Response to Basic Fishing Equipment

  1. Pingback: Fishing Trip Checklist | The Backyard Fisherman

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