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Basic Fishing Equipment

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The tackle that you choose will depend upon the type of fishing that you will be doing. Each type of fishing, for example fly fishing or saltwater, will require slightly different equipment. The conditions that you fish in will also determine the type of equipment that you require, different sized rods and lines may be needed to maximise your ability in catching fish.

Tackle shops are a good place to start when looking to purchase any equipment, the assistants should be able to advise you on the most suitable tackle for your requirements and they should be a valuable source of advice for any further information that you may need. Online shops also provide a good place to purchase tackle, many offer online discounts and free shipping.

Fishing Rods

The main piece of equipment used by any fisherman will be their fishing rod, a long straight flexible pole that an angler uses to cast baits or lures into the water. Fishing rods have chrome or ceramic rings attached for the line to run through and the handles will be made from cork or foam, allowing good grip in wet conditions. If you have to choose between spending money on your rod or your reel, then choose your rod! Buying a cheaper rod will not allow you the control you need when you try to cast as it will flex more.

There are several materials that the rod can be manufactured from, each offering different benefits to the individual angler. Most entry level rods are made from glass fibre, this material is sufficient and works well if looked after however if mistreated it can snap easily. The next level up is a mixture of glass fibre and low density carbon and this is a stronger yet lighter rod, the most robust type of rod is made from high density carbon fibre. Your budget may influence which type of rod that you end up purchasing, as the stronger the rod the more expensive they tend to be.

Rods come in several lengths and the length you choose will depend upon the fishing that you intend to do, this will be determined not only by the type of fish that you are attempting to catch but also the type of water you are fishing in and the surrounding area. The diameter of the rod determines its flexibility and should be considered when purchasing. The flexibility of the rod relates to how far the rod can bend without it breaking if a fish is fighting hard when caught.

When choosing your rod you will need to consider whether you will be a general or a specialist angler, will you be fishing for any fish or one specific type of fish, how often you will be casting, and the size of the fish you are trying to catch and finally how often you intend to fish.

Fishing Reel

Your fishing reel will be determined by the type of fishing that you will be undertaking, the reel is the spool on which the line is wound and is usually fixed beneath the rod.

There are three main types of reel, however there are different varieties of each available.

  • Bait Casting Reel – an open face reel which is designed for casting heavier bait into water, which can be useful for pulling in larger fish.
  • Spinning Reel – used for practically every type of fishing, except fly fishing. This is a stationary spool and is set on the underside of the rod; it has a closed face and virtually eliminates any backlash.
  • Fly casting Reel – is the basic form of reel and is skinner in comparison to a casting reel, however it contains a larger diameter. It allows the casting of a lightweight fly fishing line as well as the fly; the handle attaches directly to the spool and turns the spool one rotation at a time.

Fly Line

It is important to choose the correct fly line; your fly line should be in balance with your rod. Your fly line will carry your fly and leader across the water to feeding fish, the most popular line used for game fishing is monofilament nylon which is strong and durable. It is always advisable to purchase the best fly line that you can afford; the line will last longer and perform better than cheaper lines.

Fly lines are available to purchase in various densities and beginners should choose a floating line to start with as the line is easier to cast and lift from the water. The more experienced you become the more knowledge you will gain about what additional lines suit the type of fishing that you do. As you become more advanced in your fishing it is normal to carry additional spools which carry lines of different densities.

Fly lines are available to purchase in different colours, it may be easier to identify your lines if you have different colours for the different densities. For ease of identification it may also be beneficial to mark spools with the weight and type of line they contain for ease of use.

Keep your fly lines in good condition and ensure that they are cleaned and dressed with a good line dressing to enable a top performance.

Tackle Box

A main piece of your equipment will be your tackle box; it will come along with you on most of your fishing trips. Your tackle box should be strong with a good robust latch so things will not fall out and the box should be able to handle wear and tear. Your box will store all your hooks, line and sinkers as well as any lures you may use. To ensure your fishing trip is a success, keep your box well organised and tidy and clear out any unwanted or broken items. The content of each individual tackle box will be different as what you store and need will depend upon your own personal requirements.


Anglers use floats as a bite indicator to detect when the fish has bitten the bait. The float is attached to the line and therefore anytime a fish moves the bait the float will move and give the angler a sign that its time to strike. There are three main types of floats, a waggler, stick and a pole. There are hundreds of different floats to choose from, the waggler float is perhaps the most versatile of all the floats available. Floats can cost between 50p and £3 dependent upon the style and type of float and most anglers will carry a selection of floats depending upon where they are fishing. Floats can be easily damaged and they are best stored in a float tube before being placed in a tackle box.


The hook is a device for catching the fish either by impaling them in the mouth or by catching the body of the fish. The hook is attached to the line or lure device and is designed to hold various types of artificial, processed, dead or live baits. There are a variety of different types of fish hooks available and the size, design, shape and materials can vary depending upon the intended purpose of the fish hook. Your hook choice will depend on several factors however in general the smaller the fish the smaller the hook you will require.


Feeders, or bobbers as they can be known, are used to suspend bait at a predetermined level by the angler. They are also used as a bite indicator, they can attract the fish in and when the fish bites it will alert the angler. There are a selection of different feeder's available dependent upon whether you will use the ledgering or feeder method of fishing. The most commonly used feeders are open or closed feeders.


The bait or lure you use will be dependent upon the type of fishing that you will be doing, different fish and different anglers prefer different baits. Well presented bait will help and assist you catch fish providing they are around and in the area you are fishing.

Ground baits are used to attract and encourage the fish to feed; this is where the bait is thrown loosely into the water to attract the fish. Used sensibly ground bait will get the fish interested and keep them feeding once they have started. It is wise to check with the fishing club if you are allowed to use ground bait as some fisheries do not allow it at certain times of the year.

Hook bait is classed simply as bait that is on the end of a hook, this could be anything from maggots to sweetcorn. Maggots are one of the most common and favourite types of bait used by float anglers, they are the ideal bait for the match angler who is looking to catch as many fish as they can and ideal for anglers new to the sport. To attract larger fish then sweetcorn and seed baits can be used on your hook, casters are better for fish such as bream and chub. When hooking the bait on to your hook you will need to be careful as the bait can be easily split and therefore left useless.

Spinners are artificial bait that is used to attract predators such as pike who think the spinner resembles a struggling fish.

Boilies are now one of the most established baits for carp anglers and the specimen hunter and are available in a huge range of colours and flavours. Boilies are boiled paste baits that are usually a combination of fish meals, milk proteins, bird feeds, semolina and soya flour, which are then mixed with a binding agent, such as egg, and boiled to form hard round baits which will last in the water. They can be flavoured with flavourings such as bananas and strawberry. Some anglers prefer to make their own; however it is now more common to buy ready made or frozen baits.