Congratulations, you decided to take up the greatest sport on the planet – fishing! Now you need to get geared up to hit the water. This can be confusing and overwhelming when looking at the thousands of different fishing products on the market. Here are the basic essentials to getting started:

Rod and Reel

This is easily the most important tool for fishing. A spinning rod and reel are the most popular choice and the easiest to learn. A spinning combo (rod and reel together) can be used by anglers at any skill level.

Tackle Box

Having a tackle box is very important. Your tackle box will keep all your lures, hooks and tools in one place. This will protect the gear from being in the elements and makes everything easier to find.

Floats and Sinkers

Both of these are very basic items for fishing. Floats are used to keep your bait suspended and off of the bottom. In contrast, sinkers are used to keep your bait on or at the bottom.


Having a variety of different size hooks is very important when getting started. Different size options will give you the ability to use different size baits and target a large variety of fish.


Line is used to attach your hook or lure to your reel. Typically, when just getting started, fishing monofilament line will work for most applications. Keep it simple with clear line and make sure the line weight is appropriate for the size fish you will be targeting.


When getting started, it’s a good idea to keep it simple. As you fish more, you will learn which lures and baits are successful in your region, and why, from fellow anglers. Start off with basic spinners, spoons and small stickbaits that look like realistic baitfish until you learn which lures are best for your area.


Live bait is great, especially for new anglers. Simple nightcrawlers and minnows are excellent choices for first time anglers and they give you the best opportunity to catch fish. When buying minnows, make sure they are appropriately sized for the species you are targeting. For small panfish such as perch, bluegill or crappie, grubs and waxworms are also an excellent choice.

First Aid Kit

This is a tool everyone knows they should have, but, even so, a lot of anglers brush it to the side. Small first aid kits take up hardly any space in a tackle box and can end up saving the day.

And, Finally – Confidence!

This is the only non-material item to “bring” when fishing. Regardless of whether the fish are biting or not, being confident in what you are doing is essential for catching fish. If you don’t think what you are doing is working and the fish aren’t biting where you are, move around or change up your presentation. The more confident you are, the more effort you will put into the trip – which almost always leads to fish.