🎣 How To Choose A Fishing Rod And Reel For Beginners

Choosing the right rod and reel for beginners is sometimes a daunting task. Would-be fishermen and novice anglers are faced with hundreds of choices, and since most don’t have a sufficient knowledge of the ins and outs of rods and reels, they’re often overwhelmed. They sometimes think the more expensive a rod or reel is, the better chance they’ll have of catching fish, but this isn’t always the case. In fact, the exact opposite is often true.

The best advice to new fishermen is to keep it simple – and inexpensive. Simple rods and reels without a lot of complicated bells and whistles are going to be much easier to operate and control. After fishing a time or two, you might decide to give up the sport altogether, so there’s no sense in investing a lot of money in fishing gear until and unless you find yourself “hooked” on fishing.

If you have a friend or relative with a simple, inexpensive rod and reel, ask to borrow it for your first couple of fishing adventures. After that, if you decide to stick with angling, then you can buy your own gear. Start out with an inexpensive set to begin with, and once you’ve learned to handle it, you can gradually move up to more expensive rods and reels. Of course, you might find that you’re perfectly content with your original choice, even after having some experience under your belt.

The Rod And Reel Combo Rig

A rod-and-reel combo is a pre-packed rod and reel. The set is already put together, and most of these reels are already loaded with line. They’re usually ready to fish except for adding a hook and weight or an artificial bait.

You can often find these combos for less than $20 at Walmart, Kmart, and bait shops. Fishing supply stores sometimes carry cheap combos, but many of the larger stores target experienced anglers and might carry only more expensive rods and reels.

Choosing A Fishing Rod For Beginners

The purpose of the rod is to carry the fishing line to where you want it. A longer rod will help you make longer casts, but they’re not always practical. For example, if you’re fishing from a boat or from a bank with lots of trees and brush, a shorter rod is better.

In addition to lengths, rods also come in different thicknesses. Generally speaking, a thicker rod is heavier, stronger, and less flexible, so it’s reserved for large fish. A light, thin rod is best for smaller fish. Also, a thin rod with a flexible tip will make it easier for you to tell if you’re getting a bite. As the fish nibbles on your bait, the tip will twitch or bend.


  • Choose the length of spinning rod. Six to seven foot rods are suited for artificial and live bait casting. They are able to catch fish such as snook, redfish, trout and other inshore flats fish that may visit the bays and back waters. This size rod allows for long casting distances if needed.
  • Test the grip of the rod. Make sure the handle fits snugly in your palm. Is it too heavy or to light for your type of fishing? Remember, you might be casting a lot during the day.
  • Test for flexibility. Hold the spinning rod in your hand as if you are casting, flip the end, and watch the tip for movement. You want some flexibility and sensitivity at the end of the rod.
  • Decide what you are willing to pay for a fishing pole. You get what you pay for in a rod. Expensive poles will last longer and perform better than inexpensive ones.

Choosing A Fishing Reel For Beginners

Choosing a reel for beginners is perhaps more important than choosing a rod. As a novice, you’ll want a reel that makes casting easy, and one that won’t tangle the line with a small mistake on your part.

The best reel for a fist-time fisherman is the closed-faced reel. On this type of fishing reel, the spool and the line are enclosed, so you don’t see them. These rods are incredibly easy to cast, and you won’t have to worry about backlashes and tangles. All you have to do to cast a closed-face reel is to release the line with the simple push of a button.

Once you’ve mastered a closed-face reel, you might want to move up to a spinning reel. This type of reel has an open face and a bail. To make a cast, you have to work the bail and hold the released line between your forefinger and the surface of the rod while cocking your arm to cast. A spinning reel is a little trickier to work with than a closed-face reel, but with some practice, you should have no problem mastering it.

The kind of reel you don’t want to start out with is the baitcaster. These are often used for saltwater angling, and they can be difficult even for seasoned fishermen. To throw a baitcaster, you have to keep pressure on the line with your thumb as the line is being played out. If the pressure isn’t just the right amount and consistent throughout the casting process, you’ll end up with wads of tangled line, called a “backlash.”


Again, the most important factor to consider is what type of fishing best describes you. There are so many brands of salt water spinning reels on the market today that it would be wise to seek out the top known salt water brands. Some of the brands are: Penn, Shimano, Daiwa and Shakespeare and there are others.

  • The reel should be light/medium weight and be able to hold 200 to 250 yards of 15lb. to 25lb. test lines. I use the braded lines for my reels.
  • Make sure they are salt water reels as they will withstand our harsh environment a lot better than fresh water equipment. Mid-price range would be $90 to $175.
  • Once you decide on the right spinning reel, set it up on the rod in the store. Fill the weight and balance of the combo rod and reel together. The reel should not fill heavy on the rod you chose.
  • Remember to flush off your equipment with fresh water after every trip in salt water. Salt water can leave corrosive elements that can destroy even the most expensive gear.

If you need some more guidance, ask a fishermen friend for some advice, and invite them to go shopping with you. Most anglers are more than happy to help out a novice, and they can best help you choose a rod and reel for beginners.