Like many sports, when you begin to fish you have to obtain a basic assortment of equipment. And, like other sports, you can either spend a whole lot of money, or you can spend just a little to get started. Fortunately, in the case of fishing, you only have to spend a few dollars to begin fishing. You can easily put together a basic fishing kit for under 50 dollars. If you decide you like fishing, and want to do it more often, then you can upgrade your fishing stuff as you go along. But it’s not expensive or difficult to get started! Here are a few of the things you need to know when picking out your first fishing rig.

First things first – The Fishing License

In most states, a fishing license is required to fish public lakes, streams, and rivers. Young children will generally not have to have a license to fish, usually up to age 16. The fees that you pay for the license go to pay for the stocking of fish, and the upkeep of many of the recreational areas that you go to fish. The fees vary by state. In many cities, there are fishing facilities that are privately owned, and therefore do not require a license to fish there. They do, however, charge a pretty hefty fee for the privilege of fishing. On occasion, some states will have a “License-free Fishing Day”, so that you can experience fishing without having to pay for the yearly license. Do NOT go fishing without your license, where required! The Game Warden can (and usually will) issue an expensive citation and has the ability to confiscate all of your fishing equipment if he or she chooses to do so.

The Equipment

Depending on the kind of fish you will be trying to catch, the equipment you will need to start with is pretty basic. Because trout fishing is one of the most popular types of fishing, we’ll look at the equipment needed for that first.

At the minimum, you’ll need a Rod, a Reel, some hooks, line, weights, and something to put all of it in. You’ll also need some bait. As with purchasing anything, you get what you pay for. This doesn’t mean that you have to pay a fortune, but you need to choose products of a reasonable quality if you are going to enjoy your fishing experience.

Some lakes and reservoirs have bait and tackle shops on-site, and many of them will rent you fishing gear for the day. Many small mom-and-pop tackle shops will also rent you equipment. Renting fishing gear for a day or two is a good way to decide if you like fishing, and want to continue with it. One advantage to renting equipment from a local tackle shop is that they will very often give you some training on how to use the gear, and they can set it up properly for the type of fishing you will be doing.

Probably the easiest way to buy fishing gear the first time is to purchase a rod-reel combo. Many companies offer these for beginners. There are many products to choose from, so picking one for the first time can be a little daunting. There are, however, several companies that make high quality equipment at all spending levels. These companies include Shimano, Daiwa, and Okuma. Shakespeare is another company that makes a plethora of fishing products, and many fishermen have started fishing by using their equipment.

The Basic Rig

Note: There are many different methods of rigging a line for fishing. There are many sizes and styles of weights, hooks, line, etc. The following is a suggestion for one simple setup that can have you getting your line into the water in little or no time.

The basic Trout Rig would look something like this:

A 5 to 7 foot pole, light to medium action.

3-5 bearing Spinning Reel, small to medium size

Spool of 2-4 pound fishing line

Package of hooks, size 18 Treble

Package of hooks, worm

Package of Split Shot sinkers

Small Tackle Box


Jar of Powerbait

Bait: While the type of fishing hardware will always remain pretty consistent in Trout fishing, the big variable is always bait. The Fisherman always has to figure out what the fish want. And, what the fish want is always changing, so it’s a pretty good idea to carry at least a couple of different types of bait with you. The number of different types of bait and lures is mind-boggling, so it’s a good idea to stick with a few baits that work consistently, in all types of environments. For the beginning Trout fisherman, there are two baits that should always be in your tackle box: Worms and Powerbait. Worms can be purchased inexpensively at almost any tackle shop, and in some parts of the country you can even dig your own out of the ground, if you are so inclined. Powerbait, manufactured by Berkeley, is one of the great inventions of modern fishing technology. It could be argued that Powerbait has been responsible for more fish being caught over the last 30 years than anything other than the standard earthworm. Powerbait is what is known as a “Dough” bait, because in texture it resembles bread or cookie dough. It comes in dozens of different colors, and an updated version of it, called GULP, is now on the market. It’s always nice to have a couple of jars of Powerbait in your Trout tackle box, but if you could only choose one color, try the Rainbow Sparkle.

If you find that you enjoy fishing and being in the great outdoors, you can always move up to more expensive fishing gear. But remember: More expensive fishing equipment will NOT make you a better fisherman, or help you catch more fish. Using very high quality (and expensive) fishing gear can enhance your fishing experience, but in most cases it won’t help you catch more fish. The only thing that will do that will be practice, experience, more practice, and more experience!

Walter Egan is an IT Manager, Musician, and Fishing Enthusiast living in Southern California. He buys most of his fishing gear online at []