Fishing Gear

You don't need to spend a lot of money on fancy equipment to go fishing. In fact, the following basic items will equip you nicely for your first outings.

Shopping list

  • A good all-round rod-and-reel combination—something that will let you catch fish of all sizes. Ask the clerk for a medium-light rod from 5 1/2 to 6 1/2 feet long and a matching reel that will handle lines from 4-pound test to 12-pound test. (The "pound test" tells you how strong the line is.)
  • Monofilament line, 8-pound test, light blue, clear or green. Check your reel or the instructions that came with it to determine how much 8-pound-test line it will hold. Usually a 100-yard spool is large enough to fill a medium-light reel.
  • Package of hooks, size 6
  • A "wheel" of split shot in assorted sizes
  • One package of three bell sinkers, 1/2-ounce
  • A small plastic tackle box
  • Two or three bobbers
  • Stringer
  • Landing net (optional, unless you’re fishing for trout)
  • A Missouri fishing permit (If you are between 16 and 64 or are a non-resident) and a trout permit if your target is trout, except in the state's four trout parks, where you will need a daily permit. Learn more about permits (ADD LINK).

Other useful items

  • Pair of needle-nose pliers
  • Pair of fingernail clippers
  • Cooler or bucket (also bring ice to keep your catch cool if fishing in warm months)

Choosing a rod-and-reel that works for you

Before buying the rod-and-reel, consider the type you would feel most comfortable using. With an open-face spinning reel, the rod is held in the right hand with the reel on the underside for both casting and retrieving. Right-handed anglers reel with their left hand; however, most open face reels can be set up to reel with either hand. Closed face reels with levers are also held in the same underside position. With a push-button, closed-face spinning reel, the rod is held reel up. Cast with the rod in the right hand and switch the rod to the left hand before retrieving. Reel with the right hand.