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