Best Fishing Rods and Gear for the Fisher Budget 2021

Photo: Courtesy of Paramount

For a sport that many are turning to for nostalgia for a simpler time, getting into fishing really isn’t that easy. There are hundreds (if not thousands) of rods and lures on the market, each claiming to be the only step between you and your next catch. How do you avoid getting lost in the confusion of which rods and add-ons are best for you?

The good news is, you can instantly narrow down that huge range by focusing on the two types of fishing that the five experts we spoke to told us were best for less than expert anglers: the casserole and bass. (These are the best, we’ve learned, because they’re both the easiest for beginners, and also the only two types of fishing available in all of the 48 contiguous states.)

But even at this point, finding the gear you need to give bass and bass fishing a good chance without spending too much money is still a daunting prospect for a newcomer. To take some of that stress out, we asked our experts – who range from owners of bait and gear shops to avid hobbyists to the president of the International Federation of Black Bass Anglers – for their advice on best rods, baits and hooks for beginners. for those on a budget, everything they promise will ensure you get something out of the water on your first few attempts. (Just make sure you hold it horizontally for the victory shot, they say, because holding a fish vertically can injure it before you put it back in the water.)

Just before we start, another note that the next fall months for pan and bass fishing are “the holy grail,” according to Alex S. Hedaya, who has fished for both for over ten years. . “Usually the summer is so hot that the fish don’t really bite that much. But when it cools down in the fall, they bite so much to fatten up for the winter, you can catch the same fish four times.

Shakespeare Micro Series Spinning Set, 4'6

“The easiest place for anyone to start is pan fishing,” says Ross Gordon, CEO of modern fishing brand Catch Co, “because they are in all bodies of water, are relatively small and are very easy to catch because their populations are very high wherever they are. Because panfish are lighter, experts recommend using lighter rods. (In general, the lighter the fish, the lighter your rod should be, so you can feel when it is nibbling.) Because it gives you “the sensitivity to smell the bite” (in the words of Arthur Bronson, president of the International Federation of Black Bass Fishermen.)

This ultra-light and affordable spinning rod from Shakespeare fishing brand was recommended to us as a great starting point by Gordon, Hedaya and Bronson. This is because apart from being a lightweight rod with a length suitable for pan fishing, it is also a “combo” rod, which means it comes with a reel and line already. attached.

Gimminy Crickets and Worms Live Waxworms, 250 ct.

For pan fishing, when it comes to bait and tackle (two words that experts say are mostly interchangeable), there are two paths to take: live or artificial. “For most people who try to fish from the sea, there are two choices of approach, live bait or artificial bait,” says Gordon, who believes that live bait is slightly better to catch the panfish. “The easiest way to catch a panfish is to use a waxworm, put it on a hook, throw it, wait for the float to come down and start to come up,” he says. This waxworm pack has a “Live Guarantee” for shipping and can be delivered to your home or local post office.

Magnet Panfish Magnet Kit

While live bait typically “will have a bit more bite”, Gordon acknowledges that “it’s a compromise – they don’t last that long and people tend to be squeamish around them.” If you don’t like the idea of ​​putting live worms on a hook (we don’t blame you) our experts told us that luckily you can also easily catch a fish with artificial bait. “Fish feed based on a variety of their senses, from sight to smell to taste, and they also have a line on the side of their body that can detect movement in the water. They are reactive predators, and not that smart. All that to say, says Gordon, that “If they’re feeding and there’s an artificial lure in the water, they’ll come and check. They might not hold it that long, but they will hold it long enough that you start to stumble.

Ross’s favorite man-made pan-fishing kit is aptly called the PanFish Magnet. “I recommend it to people who are fishing for the first time because it is an all-in-one kit,” he says. Hedaya is also a fan of kits like this, as they come in a number of colors, which he and magazine editor (and longtime fisherman) Matt Hranek tell us is a good thing. because if you don’t get bites sometimes changing the color of your bait is just the thing to get a different reaction.

Eagle Claw Bait Hooks, Pack of 10

When fishing, Hedaya and Hranek told us that your hook (like your rod and bait) should match the type of fish you are looking for. With pan fishing, as these are smaller fish, you will need a smaller hook. These size 10 hooks are what he uses, and while you can pick them up almost anywhere, he buys his from Dicks.

Eagle Claw Snap On Floats, 1

When it comes to floats (which sit on the water and drop below when a fish pulls it, telling you when to start spinning), our expectations have universally stated that almost any simple round float would work just fine. However, Gordon pointed out that he does not recommend “Flip Bobbers”, where “Your line crosses the bobber” for beginners, as they increase the risk of tangling. These simpler floats were recommended to us by Hedaya. (Note: there are no floats in the next section, because in bass fishing it is not usual to use one.)

Shakespeare Ugly Stik GX2 Custom Spinning Set

There are a few reasons you’ll want to switch to bass fishing at some point, our experts say. “You want to catch bigger fish” is one of the reasons Gordon mentioned, but he adds that “there is also an element of sportsmanship in bass fishing, it is a little different. . Because you’re relying on the feel of the cane rather than a bobber, there’s more skill involved.

To put you in the best position to solve this puzzle without breaking the bank, our experts have all said that you will want to buy another combo rod with a reel, although this time around is a bit more rugged as the bass is bigger and you don’t need such a light rod to feel them. “The most important thing for beginners,” Bronson says, is “not to get a specialized bass rod, but to get one that is durable and will work under all circumstances, and is economical.”

This stronger rod was recommended to us by three experts who guarantee brand quality at an affordable price. They love him too because at 6’6 ”, it’s longer than the fishing rod, which is better for bass fishing because “it gives you the most reach, control and flexibility.” Anything shorter and you’re going to have to work harder. And Hedaya says it’s the model he keeps in his car to teach his friends, and that never lets him down.

Shimano Sienna Spinning Combo

Hranek told us that he would also recommend an entry-level bass fishing rod like this one from Shimano (of which Gordon is also a fan) for the simple reason that they produce rods up to standard. the most expert. “As you get better,” he says, “you can move across the brand portfolio to better versions of what you started with.”

Nightcrawlers, 12 ct.

It’s less common, but if you prefer, Gordon says “You can still fish for bass with live bait”. But if you do, he and Hedaya said you’d want to “switch to nocturnal caterpillars” which, in essence, are bigger worms for bigger fish – and are the most popular live fishing bait in general. This package of worms ships overnight from Petco, with 12 per box.

Yum Pro Performance plastic kit

However, the majority of our experts told us that they used rubber worms to fish for bass. “I also use topwater poppers,” Hranek says, “but I find nine out of ten times they take the rubber worm.” Hranek and Hedaya both told us that it’s best to have a kit with multiple colors of rubber worms because, according to Hranek, “when they’re not hitting you throw an unexpected color and sometimes, even out of aggression, this is what finally makes them bite. What you are trying to do is get them to respond to you. Hedaya tells us that this has long been her favorite kit, as it has 46 rubber worms in different sizes and colors.

Eagle Claw Bait Hooks, Pack of 10

Because bass is a bit bigger than panfish, Hedaya says you’ll want a bigger hook. He likes a size 4, and also buys his from Dicks; “I use a 4 for a bass just in case, even if others use bigger hooks for the bass, so I still have a chance to catch a little smaller.” (Ross also recommends using a size four hook for bass fishing.)

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