From time to time, my friends ask me about tackle recommendation (yes, now I am viewed as a fine fisherman by lay person, LOL). Which tackles should a beginner buy? General advice of many experts is to buy high or at least mid end tackles from the very beginning. I can see what their points are but cannot fully agree with them considering limited budget of my friends (mostly are students).
To be honest, you can buy any cheap combo (fishing rod + reel) at a discount store like Wal mart, and there will be no problem to catch many fish for long time. Thanks to advanced technology, durability becomes not a big deal even in the cheapest tackle nowadays in my opinion. Other words, you don't need consider function and durability any more in selecting tackles.
Difference between low and high end tackles is coming from quality and warranty service. High end tackle companies provide fast and reliable service when you have a problem which tends to happen at least once. I have accidently my St. Croix rod tip broken this Spring. I ordered the tip part on-line, and it was delivered to me in two days without any extra charge for shipping and handling.
What I called quality is something like finishing, smoothness, design, weight and so on. If you are A to Z person and don't care much about fishing pleasure, quality may not matter. But imagine that you fish all day under burning sun. Your tackle is your only friend to rely on. So, I say that you need pay a bit for the quality.
Let's say that you are after bass at the shores of lakes and river. Here is my recommendation.
1. Rod: 6'6" medium power graphite
For general purpose, 6'6" medium power graphite rod is mostly recommended. St. Croix, Fenwick, Gloomis, Abu Garcia, Quantum, Daiwa, and Shimano are all well known makers. Some of their rods are really expensive, over $$$. I would like to recommend buy cheaper model of these makers.
2. Spining Reel: 2500 size (Shimano measure)
2500 size reel matches with 6'6" rod. Instant anti-reverse feature is must. Without this, you will be annoyed by locking noise. I prefer Japanes makers, Shimano and Daiwa. Quantum, Abu Garcia and Pflueger are good makers. Reels are even more expensive than rods. The same rule applies.
3. Line: 8 pound test mono
8 pound line is enough in most cases. Although you hook a 10 pound monster, you can land it on 8 pound line. When you use heavier test line, it will reduce casting distance. There are three different kinds of fishing lines: Mono, Fluoro carbon and Braided lines. I recommend beginners to start from the very basic, mono line. Trilene is a popular mono line.
4. Lure: realistic swim bait and warm
There are so many lures available at market. They are attracting fisherman badly before being used for fish. You may feel that you need buy all of them to catch something. Wrong. Whatever you have, you can catch if you use it correctly. So, don't be fooled. I recommened beginners realistic swim bait and warm. Swim baits are relatively new baits, and there are a few literatrue about them. But believe me, they are the best lures. Stick on realistic ones. Some swim baits have pre hooked, but the others are not. If not, you need buy hooks, too. Warms are the basic for beginners. You may want to buy two or three packages of lures. That is enough to start.
5. Other tools
You need a plier or multi-tool to cut line and dehook. Leatherman makes good multi tools for fishing purpose.
If you have these five items, you are ready to hit waters. Probably, after every outing, you may feel you need more tackles. You also find yourself visiting sporting goods store regularly. Oh, well, that is a piece of joy of fishing.