A quick guide on what you’ll want to start fish­ing

The Denver Post - - SPORTS - By Terry Wick­strom Join Terry ev­ery Satur­day at 9 a.m. for all your out­door in­for­ma­toin on Terry Wick­strom Out­doors on 104.3 FM The Fan

One of the most fre­quent ques­tions I get on my ra­dio show is: “How can I get started fish­ing?” The three bar­ri­ers to get­ting started are knowl­edge, ac­cess and cost of gear. There is a wealth of in­for­ma­tion out there in to­day’s dig­i­tal world to help you with the knowl­edge. For­tu­nately, we live in a state that still has an abun­dance of pub­lic ac­cess and re­sources.

We are go­ing to look at con­ven­tional fish­ing and what you have to spend to get started.

The big­gest ini­tial ex­pense in fish­ing equip­ment is a rod and reel. I like to break this up in a few cat­e­gories; what should you spend, what could you spend and what are you go­ing to tell your spouse you spent.

All kid­ding aside, there is no top end to what you can spend, but you don’t have to spend a for­tune to get started or to even have good equip­ment. If you are just dip­ping your toe in the water (no pun in­tended) or you know you will only fish a hand­ful of times in a sea­son, com­pa­nies like Shake­speare make some very ser­vice­able rod-and-reel com­bos rang­ing in price from about $20 to $50. A 6-foot medium spin­ning rod spooled with 6- or 8-pound test monofil­a­ment will al­low you to par­take in the huge ma­jor­ity of fish­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties in Colorado.

Re­mem­ber these are “throw­away” out­fits that will prob­a­bly need to be re­placed ev­ery cou­ple years. As they wear, their per­for­mance will de­cline, but for the oc­ca­sional an­gler, they are more than ad­e­quate to get you out hav­ing some fun fish­ing.

Satur­day on my ra­dio show, Bob Mil­ner from the Sports­man’s Ware­house in Thorn­ton joined me to talk about the next level of equip­ment. What should you buy if your as­pi­ra­tions are to take fish­ing a lit­tle more se­ri­ously, or if you’re look­ing for gear that will give you top level per­for­mance and last for years? Al­most ev­ery man­u­fac­turer makes spin­ning reels that cost hun­dreds of dol­lars and rods in a sim­i­lar price range. You can eas­ily spend $400 to $800 for a rod-an­dreel combo (it’s en­tirely up to you what you tell your spouse it cost) and you may want more than one. Mil­ner and I agree that while it’s “cool” to have this type of rig, it is, in most cases, un­nec­es­sary. In fact, there are reels out there that will give you top per­for­mance for a frac­tion of the price.

Two of our fa­vorites are the Pflueger Pres­i­dent and Pres­i­dent XT. The Pres­i­dent has been around for sev­eral years, comes in a va­ri­ety of sizes and sells for less than $60. It has the fea­tures of the top-per­form­ing reels on the mar­ket with 10 stain­less steel ball bear­ings that re­sist cor­ro­sion, make for an in­cred­i­bly smooth ac­tion and durable con­struc­tion. It also fea­tures a good drag sys­tem, a strong bail and a braid-ready spool.

I can hon­estly tell you that the ma­jor­ity of my rods are fit­ted with a Pflueger Pres­i­dent reel. I have re­cently added the new Pres­i­dent XT to my equip­ment. It’s a lit­tle lighter, has a faster re­trieve speed and cost about $20 more. Man­u­fac­tur­ers are con­stantly send­ing me equip­ment to test and I have some of those reels that cost hun­dreds of dol­lars. I think I fish just as well with the Pres­i­dent and the Pres­i­dent XT. (Not that the others aren’t won­der­ful, highly en­gi­neered pieces of equip­ment.) Mil­ner likes to pair the Pres­i­dent reels with the Ea­gle se­ries rods from Fen­wick, which also go for less than $60. This will give you a rod-and-reel combo for less than $120 dol­lars that I would feel com­fort­able us­ing to com­pete in pro­fes­sional tour­na­ments.

The re­ally thing about the Pflueger Pres­i­dent reel is you don’t have to hide the price from your spouse. You can af­ford to buy one for them and go fish­ing to­gether.

Whether you’re look­ing for a min­i­mal in­vest­ment for a week­end trip or you are se­ri­ously get­ting into fish­ing, don’t let the cost of equip­ment be a bar­rier to hav­ing fun.

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