Guide to Fishing for the First Time: What to Bring and the Gear Needed

Whether you're looking for a relaxing sport that lets you unwind, or hoping to bring home your catch, fishing is a great summer hobby. Before you can reel in the big one though, you'll need to invest in some fishing equipment.

With plenty of options from rods and reels to the kind of bait to use, it’s important to consider what you’re fishing for and where, in order to identify what to buy. If you’re wondering what you need before you can take to the fishing lakes and rivers, here’s an overview on the basics:

Fishing License

First things first, in order to go fishing in Canada, you’ll need to buy a fishing license. This can be done online, at a registered fishing license issuer or at a government services office. Once you have purchased your license, make sure you always keep it on you when you are fishing and obey all fishing regulations

Rod and Reel

The most important pieces of equipment for fishing are your rod and reel. When shopping for fishing equipment for beginners, consider what kind of fish you want to catch. A fast action rod bends easily and is ideal for smaller fish. A slow action rod doesn’t bend as quickly but is stronger for larger fish. Look for a medium action rod to start with, as this will let you catch a greater range of fish, while still bending easily enough to indicate when you’ve hooked something. Choose a length of the rod that is comfortable for you to handle, but opt for shorter rods if you plan to cast from land, where trees and other obstacles can get in the way of your cast.  When choosing a reel, spincasting reels are the go-to basic reel to start with, and are strong enough to reel in fish up to nine kilograms.

Lines, Hooks, Bobbers and Sinkers

Monofilament line is the go-to fishing line for beginners. It is light and easy to work with, yet highly durable and strong enough for most small to medium-sized freshwater fish. Check to see what its test strength is, and choose line that is strong enough to handle the kind of fish you’re after. A pack of spare hooks always comes in handy, in case you lose one or two. Always try to choose a size of hook that corresponds to the size of fish you’re after. Circle hooks and eagle’s claw hooks are good hooks for beginners as they are simple to remove.  Finally, stock up on bobbers and sinkers that match your target fish. A bobber floats on the surface, and dips down to show a fish on the line, while a sinker helps your bait sink to the desired depth.

Bait and Lures

The fishing bait and lures you use are highly dependent on what you’re fishing for. Live worms work well for many fish, but having plastic or rubber ones on hand as well can be useful if you run out. Specialized lures are also designed for particular kinds of fish, and can attract fish with their colours or movement. A minnow imitation lure or spinner lure are good basics to start with.

Tackle box

Once you’ve collected all of your gear, it’s handy to keep it all organized in one place. A good tackle box should have segmented trays to help you keep lures and equipment organized. If you are just getting started, look for a smaller box that is easy to carry, yet still will hold all of your gear.

Odds and Ends

While there are endless accessories and gadgets that can help you during your day of fishing, some key items will make landing your catch a bit easier. Invest in a pair of needle-nose pliers to help you remove hooks easily. A fishing net can help you scoop larger fish into your boat. If you’re excited to document your catch, pick up a fishing scale or ruler, so you’ll be able to backup your bragging with facts!

Shopping second-hand fishing equipment online can be a great way to find the gear you need at a great price. Fishing equipment is generally affordable for beginners, making this a great hobby for the summer. Take your time finding the ideal pieces to complement your fishing plans, and you’ll be sure to catch the big one in no time!

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