How to Choose a Fishing Rod and Reel

December 29, 2015 3 min read

Fishing is a pretty simple sport.

The overall goal is to convince a fish to bite your hook. From there, however, it can get pretty complicated.

Even the first step of choosing a rod and reel can be complicated. There are thousands of different options, so how can you possibly make the right choice? We’d like to help by showing you the basics of rod and reel selection.

What Type of Fish are You After?

Before you can even think about what rod and reel you want to buy, you need to think about the specific species of fish you want to go after and the type of fishing you will do. Are you looking to join the ranks of bass anglers? Do you want to catch redfish from the flats? Are you going to fish from the beach or shore with bait? While there are rods and reels that work well for a wide variety of fishing, you need to decide what type of angler you want to be.

Find the Right Reel Type

Spinning Reel

This is one of the most versatile and easy-to-learn reel types, so if you are new to fishing, this should probably be your first option. This reel is especially useful for light tackle, including soft plastic lures, small spinning reels, and top-water plugs.


The baitcaster is a bass angler’s best friend, but it requires practice and patience to use effectively. The spool spins by itself, releasing line by the weight of the tackle, making it a good reel for heavier lures like large spinner baits, crank baits, and chatter baits.

Fly Fishing

If you want the classic, elegant fishing experience of fly-fishing, you will need a fly fishing rod. Many people assume fly fishing rods are only for pulling trout from scenic western mountain streams, but they are also effective for many saltwater species in shallow areas and can be used in almost any setting.

Choosing a Rod

Next you will want to decide what type of rod you need. The majority of fishing rods are made from one of two materials: fiberglass or graphite, also called carbon fiber. If you plan on pursuing larger fish, you will likely want a fiberglass rod, as it is has more strength and less bend, giving you leverage to pull up heavy fish. However, most anglers will want a graphite rod, as the sensitivity and light profile make them better for small to medium-sized fish.

You should also consider the “action” of a rod, which is essentially the amount of bend it will have, as well as the length, which will affect the distance and casting accuracy.

Beginner? Choose a Combo Package

Experienced anglers will often choose separate rods and reels, but if you are just getting started, go with a combo package, which will have the rod and reel together. These are often more affordable than buying separately, and can be a great way for you to choose a high-quality product without overspending.

Vibrant Fishing Apparel That Goes with Any Rod and Reel

No matter what rod and reel combination you choose, make sure you have high-quality fishing apparel from RIP A LIP. Visit our online store and you’ll find gorgeous fishing shirt, sweatshirts, hats, and more.