Basic Fishing Gear: Everything You’ll Need To Start Fishing

Basic Fishing Gear

Are you planning to embark on your first fishing adventure but feeling overwhelmed by the multitude of fishing gear options available? Don’t worry, you’re not alone. With the advancement and complexity of fishing tackle, it can be challenging for beginners to determine the essential gear they need. However, with over 21 years of fishing experience, I’m here to guide you through the process and help you select the basic fishing gear necessary for a successful fishing trip.

Fishing is a wonderful outdoor activity that allows you to connect with nature and experience the thrill of reeling in your catch. But before you set off, it’s crucial to equip yourself with the right tools. In this article, I have carefully curated a list of 10 essential fishing gear items that every beginner should consider. By understanding the purpose and functionality of each piece of gear, you can make informed decisions and avoid unnecessary purchases.

I know how overwhelming it can be to navigate through the vast array of fishing gear options available in the market. It’s essential to strike a balance between budget and necessity, ensuring that you invest in gear that aligns with your needs. As an experienced angler, I’ve been in your shoes and understand the challenges you may face. That’s why I’m here to simplify the process and provide you with expert advice to set you on the right path.

In the following sections, we will explore the must-have fishing gear that will set you up for success on your fishing journey. Whether you’re casting in freshwater or saltwater, targeting small panfish or big game fish, this comprehensive guide will help you make informed choices and ensure you have the right gear to enhance your fishing experience.

So, let’s dive in and discover the essential fishing gear that you’ll need to make your first fishing trip a memorable and successful one.

  1. Rod and Reel
  2. Fishing Line
  3. Tackle
  4. Baits & Lures
  5. Swivel
  6. Needle Nose Plier
  7. Nail Clipper
  8. Tackle Box or Bag

#1 – Rod And Reel

Rod And Reel

A fishing rod serves as a lengthy and slender tool to which you can attach your fishing line. Attached to the rod is a fishing reel, which enables you to reel in your catch.

If you’re new to fishing, I recommend opting for a rod and reel combo. As the name suggests, a combo includes both the fishing rod and reel as a set, typically at a more affordable price than purchasing them separately.

Moreover, the reel is designed to be easily attached to the rod, simplifying the process of joining them together.

Most notably, rod and reel combos often come pre-spooled with monofilament line, eliminating the need for you to attach the line yourself and saving you the trouble.

#2 – Fishing Line

Fishing Line

The fishing line is simply the line that you attach to your fishing rod.

If you opt for a rod and reel combo, you won’t have to worry about the line, as it usually comes pre-spooled.

However, if you’re not purchasing a combo, beginners often start with a 6lb test monofilament line. While fluorocarbon lines are also available, monofilament lines are generally easier to tie knots with. A 6lb test line is suitable for various species, unless you’re specifically targeting larger fish like in bass fishing, where a heavier test line (8-12lb) might be necessary.

It’s important to note that you’ll need to attach the line to your rod and reel. Since you’re just starting out, it’s likely that you’re unfamiliar with the process. You can watch a helpful video tutorial that demonstrates how to do it effectively.

#3 – Tackle


Tackle refers to all the components attached to the end of your fishing line, excluding the bait. Primarily, tackle includes fish hooks, sinkers, and bobbers.

Fishing Hooks

Fishing Hooks

To catch fish, you will be attaching fishing hooks to the end of your fishing line. The hooks serve as a point of attachment for your bait or lure, allowing you to effectively entice and catch fish by hooking them in their mouths. If you’re a beginner, it’s recommended to start with a few single hooks to get started with your fishing endeavors.



Sinkers are weights that you attach to your fishing line in order to make it sink deeper into the water. They play a crucial role in fishing, as they allow you to reach your desired fishing depth.

Typically, you will only need around 5 sinkers. This quantity is sufficient to reach even the deepest points of any body of water. During your fishing trips, you will often use only 1 or 2 sinkers at a time, while keeping the remaining ones as backups or alternatives.



Bobbers, which are also known as floaters, serve the purpose of floating on the water’s surface. They work in conjunction with sinkers to help you control the fishing depth.

By attaching a bobber to your fishing line, you can visually monitor when a fish bites. The bobber will submerge or move when a fish takes the bait, providing a clear indication for you to react and set the hook.

Additionally, the use of bobbers in combination with sinkers allows you to adjust and maintain the desired depth while fishing, ensuring that your bait is presented at the optimal level to attract fish.

#4 – Baits & Lures

Baits & Lures

Bait refers to the food source that fish naturally consume, such as worms. On the other hand, artificial lures are man-made fishing baits designed to resemble live bait. These are used to attract fish and entice them to bite the hook.

The choice of bait or lure depends on the specific fish species you are targeting. Just like humans have different taste preferences, different fish have varying preferences for baits and lures. To determine the most suitable options, you can seek advice from your local fishing store, as they can guide you on the recommended baits for the fish you intend to catch. The same applies to selecting lures.

At this stage, you have acquired the essential gear needed to catch fish. However, there are a few additional pieces of equipment that are not essential but can significantly enhance your fishing experience. While you can still fish without them, I highly recommend considering these additional items to make your fishing endeavors more enjoyable.

#5 – Swivel


A swivel is a mechanism that enables your bait to spin freely without tangling or affecting your fishing line.

Imagine if you were tied up and used as bait; you would naturally struggle to get free, right? Similarly, live bait tends to move around a lot, which can lead to a twisted fishing line. Even when using lures, your line can still become twisted.

To prevent line twist, all you need is a sturdy swivel. Swivels are generally similar in design, with variations primarily in terms of durability. The good news is that they are typically affordable, so don’t hesitate to ask for the most robust swivel available at your local fishing store.

#6 – Needle Nose Plier

Needle Nose Plier

Needle nose pliers are a specific type of pliers commonly used by fishermen to safely remove hooks from fish, as well as from themselves in unfortunate accidents.

Attempting to remove hooks from fish using bare hands can be dangerous. Accidents can occur, resulting in hooks becoming impaled in your hand or other body parts.

Regardless of how cautious you are, it’s highly likely that you will experience at least one incident where a hook gets stuck in your body. Just ask any experienced angler, and they will likely have a story to share.

Needle nose pliers are not only valuable for removing hooks from fish but also for extracting hooks from your own body. While any pair of needle nose pliers will suffice, it’s advisable to choose stainless steel ones, as they tend to be more durable and long-lasting.

#7 – Nail Clipper

Nail Clipper

Surprisingly, a nail clipper can be a handy tool to have when you’re fishing. Cutting the fishing line is often necessary, whether it’s to trim excess line from knots or for other purposes. While scissors can certainly serve this purpose, there are advantages to using nail clippers instead.

Nail clippers are compact and lightweight compared to scissors, making them easier to carry and less likely to take up valuable space in your fishing gear. Moreover, nail clippers are less prone to accidentally causing cuts or injuries compared to scissors, as their design is specifically tailored for trimming nails. Additionally, nail clippers are less likely to be misplaced or lost due to their small size and often come with a built-in file, which can be useful for smoothing rough edges on the line.

So, don’t underestimate the usefulness of a nail clipper as a line cutter when you’re out fishing. It can be a practical and convenient alternative to scissors.

#8 – Tackle Box Or Bag

Tackle Box Or Bag

A tackle box is a container, typically made of plastic or metal, specifically designed to store fishing equipment such as lures, hooks, and other tackle items. It provides an organized and convenient storage solution for your fishing gear. Tackle boxes often feature fold-out trays or compartments, allowing you to neatly arrange and access your equipment.

On the other hand, a tackle bag is a bag designed for storing fishing equipment. These bags offer more storage space compared to tackle boxes and are generally lighter in weight. Tackle bags are designed to accommodate various tackle items and provide easy portability.

The choice between a tackle box and a tackle bag ultimately depends on your personal preferences. If you prefer a tidy and well-organized approach, and don’t mind the extra weight, a tackle box would be a suitable option. However, if you prefer a lighter and more portable solution where you can store all your fishing gear in a bag, a tackle bag would be a better choice.

Consider your own preferences and needs when deciding whether to opt for a tackle box or a tackle bag.

Optional Gear

At this stage, you have the essential gear needed for fishing. The next two items are optional but can enhance your fishing experience.

  1. Sunscreen: While not directly related to fishing equipment, sunscreen is important to protect your skin from harmful UV rays. If you are accustomed to spending time outdoors, you may already be comfortable with sun exposure. However, if you are more prone to sunburn or have sensitive skin, it is advisable to apply a long-lasting sunscreen before your fishing trip to safeguard your skin during the hours you’ll be exposed to the sun.
  2. Fishfinder: Fishfinders are devices that utilize sonar technology to detect fish underwater. Typically, fish tend to gather around cover, such as rocks or other structures. In most cases, fishing around cover is sufficient to find fish. However, there may be occasions when you spend a significant amount of time near cover without any luck. During such instances, a fishfinder can be valuable in locating fish and identifying their whereabouts.

Moreover, certain areas may have concentrations of fish that surpass the presence of cover. Fishfinders can help pinpoint these productive fishing spots. While fishfinders generally operate similarly, you can select one that suits your budget and requirements.

Remember, sunscreen and fishfinders are optional accessories, but they can add value to your fishing trips if you choose to include them in your gear.

Final Check

In addition to all the fishing gear, there is one crucial requirement before you can go fishing: a fishing license.

While it may not be necessary in every location, in most places, having a fishing license is mandatory. Acquiring a fishing license ensures that you are adhering to the regulations and laws governing fishing activities and helps you avoid any potential trouble with the authorities.

You can obtain a fishing license from fishing stores or authorized vendors. The cost of a fishing license can vary depending on the duration and type. Annual licenses typically range from $30 to $150, while one-day licenses are available for less than $20.

By securing a fishing license, you demonstrate your commitment to responsible and lawful fishing practices.

With this information, you now have a comprehensive understanding of the essential elements required to embark on a fishing adventure.

Before setting off, I recommend checking out these 10 tips to ensure that your first fishing trip goes smoothly and is an enjoyable experience.

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