When you're plotting an afternoon on the river or a week on a fishing boat in the ocean, you've got to make sure you have the right supplies. The pole you would use to catch a trout in a local stream is far different from the rod it will take to land that prize Sailfish. Ten pound test fishing line can be fun, but it's not very useful when it comes to catching tuna, dorado, or just about anything you're going to pull out of the sea.
The good news is that you don't need to break the bank in order to get the right tackle for a successful fishing trip. You don't need a top of the line Penn or Shimano reel, you can find a good quality Zebco reel for a fraction of the price, and guess what? The fish won't care!
I recently spent a day fishing a local lake with a friend that goes fishing all the time. Since most of the fishing I do is deep-sea fishing in the Pacific, I didn't have fishing gear that was appropriate for bass or trout fishing. Not to worry! I went to the local super store and picked up a Shakespeare combo kit for under $30.00 that included the pole, the reel, plenty of line, and a small tackle box with an assortment of lures, weights, hooks, and even some Power Bait. Armed with my shiny new tackle, we set out for a day of sun, beers, and hopefully lots of fish!
As the sun was setting and we were heading back to the dock, we compared our catch for the day. Low and behold we had both caught the same amount of fish! I was very happy with my $30 fishing package. I got basically the same results as my friend who estimated his setup cost him just under $400. It just proves that the latest and greatest and most expensive is not necessarily "the best".
With all that being said, if I was planning to do a lot of fresh water fishing I would probably invest in some higher-end tackle simply because it would most likely be more durable. Bells and whistles are nice, but not the best reason to spend more money. I would spend a little more money because the low end tackle is not likely to last nearly as long, and I would end up buying a new cheap rod and cheap reel far too often.
Finally, you have to consider bait. What are you going to use to catch the fish? Nothing is worse than finding a hot cove or reef where it seems like everyone is catching fish as soon as the bait hits the water, only to find out you brought the wrong bait! Don't let this happen to you, because unless your friends are going to share with you, you will simply be a frustrated spectator. Always try to bring a large variety of lures, synthetic baits, and live baits, no matter where you're fishing. Even the smallest tackle box can hold a very broad assortment of fishing lures, and a couple cups of worms don't take up too much space in the boat!