Starting Out

What Do I Need For Bass Fishing: Beginner's Guide

If you are just getting started in bass fishing and have walked into a tackle shop looking for starter gear, you will know the feeling of being overwhelmed by the magnitude of choice when it comes to reels, rods, line and lures. Trust me, I know the feeling and that is exactly why I have created this "getting started" guide. Knowledge from this article will help you cut through the clutter and get an affordable, effective set of starter gear.

We will cover the following topics:

  • Choosing a rod
  • Choosing a reel
  • Choosing fishing line
  • Choosing some starter lures, hooks and sinkers
What Do I Need For Bass Fishing: Beginner's Guide

Choosing a Rod

For those just getting started in bass fishing, I highly recommend going with an affordable spinning rod. Spinning rods are used in conjunction with spinning reels and these are very easy to cast compared to baitcasting rods which are normally used by those with a bit more experience.

All fishing rods vary in terms of sensitivity (how detectable bites are), durability, and strength. As rods get more expensive, the chances are they've been optimized to have better sensitivity, as well as durability. These attributes are of course very important and will enhance your ability to catch more bass, but you certainly don't need to spend an arm and a leg to obtain a high quality fishing rod that'll catch bass.

Choosing Brand and Model

There are some very solid low-budget spinning rods on the market, some of which are regularly used by advanced anglers as well as beginners. I have listed links to some very good options below (all $50 and below). These links will take you to our reviews of these products that are based on feedback from people who have purchased and used them.

Top budget spinning rod options:

For more options, check out our spinning rod comparison tool. You can use this to find reviews of spinning rods based on your specific requirements.

If you're looking to take on baitcasting rods straight away, we've got a comparison tool for them too.

The whole fishing rod industry is becoming more and more competitive and brands are ensuring that even their 'cheapest' models are providing impressive performance and durability, in order for them to get the nod over their competitors.

Choosing Attributes

Because this is a beginners guide we are not going to take a deep dive into the list of attributes one should consider when buying a spinning rod. Rather, I am going to recommend a solid, all-round options which are versatile and applicable to the majority of your early-days fishing needs.

Go with a medium or medium-heavy power rod in the 6'6 foot to 7 foot range. This will get you solid casting distance off boat or bank and is short enough to be easy to manage.

Please have a look at our spinning rod buyer's guide, where we dive deep into rod specs and features.

Choosing a Reel

If you decide to go with a spinning rod first up, you'll have to look at a spinning reel as well. As mentioned, this setup is a lot easier to cast and you'll be able to fish every kind of technique within bass fishing effectively. Spinning setups are ideal for fishing all kinds of lure weights and they become especially important with lighter presentations - something know as finesse presentations.

Starting off with a spinning setup is a great way to get going and begin the process of learning how to catch bass. This purely because you can try out every technique, and figure out which suits you best. One thing is for sure - everyone has their favorite techniques out on the water, and you'll figure this out quickly.

Baitcasting setups can be extremely frustrating when it comes to fishing light lures - and it can be difficult to cast accurately. Casting is absolutely vital in bass fishing, a few bad casts can ruin an area, and scare fish off.

Choosing Brand and Model

For reels, you'll also find several affordable options that offer all that you need out of the water. Each model will have different sizes and gear ratios, which essentially means the speed of retrieval. Once again, I've listed some options below which are affordable (all under $100) and will last you years of smooth operation. I've used all of these reels, and they still work like a dream today. These links will take you to full reviews again.

High quality budget spinning reel options:

For more options, we've got a comparison tool for spinning reels as well. We've listed reels from top brands ranging from all prices.

Choosing Attributes

Looking into sizes and characteristics of a reel is a key consideration. You'll want to get a reel which is weighted accordingly with your rod, while having the necessary strength and line capacity to handle any bass that comes your way.

There are several different sizes for spinning reels specifically, and I'll cover all the the sizes that are generally used in bass fishing:

  • 1000: This is the smallest size on a spinning reel, and is great for fishing a light rod and weightless lures.
  • 2000: Slightly bigger than the 1000, this has greater line capacity and is more versatile
  • 2500: If you're looking at getting your first spinning setup, I would choose a 2500. This is the most versatile size option and you'll be able to cast all lure weights accurately and comfortably. You'll also have more than enough line capacity to deal with any fish
  • 3000: This is generally the heaviest bass anglers will go. This size is best when looking to cover huge amounts of water

Gear ratio is another characteristic you'll come across, and this essentially means the speed of retrieval. It's measured by how many times the spool turns for each single turn of the handle.

Most spinning reels come in at around 5.2:1, with some going over 6:1. 5.2:1 will do the job, as most techniques you'll try entail a slow retrieval if any.

So if you're getting confused by which size or gear ratio to use, I would go for a 2500 size with any gear ratio above 5:1. This will provide you with ideal comfort out on the water, and you'll be able to throw any lure with effect.

Choosing Fishing Line

There is no need to complicate the line choosing process as a beginner. When starting out you should be looking for something that offers solid strength without breaking the bank. For a new angler there is no real need to consider other factors. To tick those boxes, I recommend going with a good quality monofilament line. Monofilament is very affordable in comparison to its braid and fluorocarbon counterparts and it will offer solid performance to get an angler started.

Top monofilament lines when getting started:

Berkley Trilene Sensation

Spiderwire Ultracast

As you will most likely be using spinning gear, you will want to go with 8-10 lb line. Lighter line will always give you a better presentation.

Lures, Hooks, and Sinkers


Now this is one area that can really get overwhelming, especially when starting out. Walking through a lure section in a tackle shop (or browsing one online) is incredible purely due to the magnitude of choice available to anglers. While this abundance of options is exciting, it makes deciding what to buy difficult, especially if you do not yet understand the benefits of all of the different colors, shapes and sizes available. To give yourself the best chance of catching fish in your first fishing adventures, you need to keep your lure selection simple!

Certain lures are easier to use than others, and funny enough, some of the most effective lures on the market are also the most beginner friendly.

Two beginner lure categories I recommend and specific products within them below:

Worms and Stickbaits:

Bass really like to eat worms, plain and simple. These lures are easy to fish, versatile and will catch bass anytime of the year. The following two baits will give you a great chance of catching your first bass:

Gary Yamamoto Senko (4/5 inch sizes)

Zoom Trick Worm

Soft plastic Jerkbaits:

These baits imitate small bait fish, a staple food for bass year round! Their lifelike action means you cannot go wrong with them, they are easy to fish and effective, even in the hands of a beginner. I recommend the following if you are starting out:

Zoom Super Fluke

Big Bite Baits Jerk Minnow

Once you have gained some confidence and caught some fish using these baits, you can go ahead and get more adventurous with your lure selection!

Hooks and Sinkers

By applying our simple recommended approach to lure selection, you will have no need to have a complicated hook and sinker selection process either! All of these baits are incredibly effective when rigged weightless. All you need to do is tie a hook to your line, cast your lure and wait for it to sink into a bass's lair. When fishing deeper water, any lead sinker will do. In such a case, go with the smallest sinker you can get away with while still getting your bait to make contact with the bottom.

In terms of buying hooks, all of the baits recommended above can be fished effectively on a 3/0 EWG (extra wide gap hook).

Top hook options for beginners:

Berkley Fusion 19

Gamakatsu Offset EWG Worm Hook

Wrapping Up

While buying bass fishing tackle can actually be very complicated, those starting out are better off taking a simple approach. The goal of this article was to give you a solid "starter kit" that will allow you to start your fishing journey without spending too much money. While the setup we recommend is simple, it will allow you to fish in a wide variety of conditions and catch fish on any lake where the bass are biting.