Buying fishing equipment can be a very daunting experience for new Anglers because there's so much choice & dozens of major brands. There are starter kits on the market aimed at beginners but when we field test these products, we sometimes find they are not always the best quality. We've put together a guide to some of the equipment that has impressed us to start you on your journey in to the amazing world of Angling.
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Whips represent one of the easiest & cheapest rods to start fishing with. Usually 4m or more they are a telescopic pole usually made from 4 sections of interlocking fibreglass and allow you to place your rig/bait accurately & avoid less tangles. You can cast to reach further out than the length of the whip and when a fish bites you pull the rod up in to the air quickly to set the hook and then gently pull the fish towards the net. You attach a long 'rig' line to this method, usually at least 3/4 of the length of the whip itself. We recommend getting your whip modified (elasticated) There are a very few models on the market that have this feature but you can buy one from our store on this website.
Ideal for young ages upwards
Light weight & compact
Starting from under £15
Quick to set up
Robust and often survive being stood on
Will help with the transition to longer poles
Suitable for venues where you have depth close in (5 - 7m)
Elasticated versions should cope with medium sized fish
Rigs can be bought ready made & attached to the whip without the need for tying knots
Not suitable for fishing further out or deep venues
Not suitable for handling bigger fish
Although some similarities, the techniques are different to rod & reel and the long pole making transition harder
Take apart poles are a great follow on from the whip. Rather than telescopic, they come in sections that push and pull together. They do cost more will become more expensive depending on the length, materials & brand you choose to buy. The other benefit is that you can buy spares of the top 2 or 3 sections (referred to as a top kit) and therefore you can set the top kits up with different accessories & strength elastics to handle a wider variety of situations. Poles can also be fitted with a puller bung which helps you to adjust the tension of the elastic, putting more pressure on fish so you can net them quicker.
Poles of 6 - 10m are a great place to start & these are often referred to as margin poles. You use a shorter 'rig' line and once a fish is hooked by lifting the pole you immediately ship the sections backwards behind you until you reach the last few (top kit.) Finally you lift the top kit in to the air to land the fish. You can choose not to use all sections in your pole and therefore you can make it lighter for younger Anglers.
More versatile than the whip
Enable you to reach further out in to venues
Easier to fish deeper water than the whip
You can land bigger fish on the pole
Easy transition to longer pole & competition fishing
Very effective fish catching method
Use less sections to make it lighter
More expensive starting at £60 & on to thousands
Easier to break or drop in to the water
You will need to buy more equipment to use your pole effectively & avoid damaging it especially the pole rollers & rack.
Less suitable for younger children & often heavy at the cheaper end of the market
Shipping back requires strength, coordination & often a clear, flat area behind you
Can cause obstruction to other members of the public using paths etc
We would recommend buying at least 2 different rods to start your Angling journey, a float and/or tip rod or one rod that does both known as a dual tip rod.
Float or Waggler rods use a slightly different float to whips & poles that is threaded on to the line and held in place by weights or a rubber sleeve. A weaker hook length should then be attached at the end of the line. We would recommend a shorter rod for younger children (9 - 11 foot) & 13 & 14 foot versions for adults which will allow you to cast further and fish a wider variety of venues. Float fishing is normally used to fish shallow running or still water (6 - 8 foot deep) and casts of 20 - 30 yards. For larger, deeper venues see the tip rod below. For deep venues that require a longer cast to reach fish, we recommend a tip rod.
Rather than watching a float disappear below the surface,
tip rods have a bright coloured, sensitive tip that moves when the fish takes the bait. You can attach various weighted accessories to the main line such as feeders or leads followed by a weaker hook length. This type of rod is designed for fishing on the bottom and can be used in running or still water.
You might want to consider buying a rod that can be used as both a tip and float rod (dual tip.) This can sometimes save money but it does mean you can't have 2 methods set up at the same time.
As a general rule, the bigger the fish you are targeting, the larger the reel and the deeper & larger the spool (the spool holds the line.) Consider the weight of the reel when buying for younger children.
We recommend reels with metal spools and double handles for balance. Shimano have always been one of our top choices but there are cheaper options if your budget is limited. Reels usually have a drag which controls the tension required to turn the spool. We prefer drags located at the rear of the reel for beginners as opposed to the front. The drag should be adjusted before fishing to the correct tension to make sure that if a big fish is hooked the line will not snap if it is too powerful. As you get more experienced, you will learn to adjust it during the fight to help control big fish. Another really useful feature on reels is a 'bait runner.' This is usually controlled by a lever on the back of the reel and when activated it allows the spool to rotate freely. The benefit of this is that you don't have to hold the rod all the time without fear of it being dragged in by a fish as it swims off. If you don't have a bait runner you can loosen the main drag of your reel if you ever have to step away from the rod whilst you have a baited hook in the water.
If you don't know how to tie knots or make your own rigs yet for whips and poles, you can buy them ready made.
The Drennan Crystal range of pole rigs are a great all-rounder. The floats come in different weights (G) & have a slightly thicker plastic stem which minimises the risk of injury. Please consider wearing eye protection/sunglasses & never pull a snagged rig towards your face when attempting to free it.
If you ever end up losing the end of the rig (hook length) or your hook becomes blunt/damaged you can replace it. Drennan's range of hook lengths are also one of our favourites.
For hooks alone you'll struggle to find a stronger model that stays sharp than the Kamasan P.T.F.E coated range.
For waggler float fishing we love the Drennan crystal floats. This style of float are held on the line with small weights (shots) and/or sometimes a piece of rubber tubing.
For tip fishing we love the Preston Innovations inline maggot feeders but there are many different designs to choose from.
Always use a hook length of a lower breaking strain than your mainline when using float and feeder styles of fishing so that if the line were to snap, the loss of tackle to the environment is kept to a minimum.
At some point you may wish to venture in to more specialist types of fishing such as Carp or Predator styles of Angling. These techniques require different equipment and terminal tackle & generally the cost of getting started is much higher.
Although you don't have to spend lots of money, there is market for the latest tech including remote controlled bait boats, electronic bite alarms & sonar, bivvy shelters, bed chairs and lots of gadgets to keep you comfortable in the elements.