Equipment considerations

Today’s average angler is anything but a minimalist. The number of gadgets available to the modern angler is almost unlimited, and to a novice, overwhelming. Most of it, while potentially providing increased comfort or some level of increased success, is unnecessary.

This mountain of available equipment can also become a potential economic barrier to participation. Separating out the “must haves” verses the “nice to haves” can be difficult even for the experienced angler. However, this will be a critical task for the instructor of this session.

Fortunately, the regional and seasonal differences in panfishing techniques are minimal, and therefore the list of equipment should also be of the minimal.

Developing this list should be relatively easy. Remember, your participants are novices who may or may not want to continue to fish after the class. Keep the list to the bare essentials. Your state wildlife agency's aquatic education program staff likely has already developed a list of minimal equipment for panfishing. These lists will likely need to be reviewed and modified to make them specific for your program.

In reality, three separate lists should be developed. They are:

  • Equipment that the students are expected to supply;
  • Equipment that the program (or instructor, mentor/guide) will supply; and
  • Optional/nice-to-have equipment.

Because your participants will be adults, we recommend that the rods and reels be upgraded slightly. Light-action spinning and spin-casting equipment is recommended. This should be paired with 4- to 8- pound test line.

In addition, the equipment used should be matched to the techniques being taught, as well as the location you will be instructing. See these sections for recommended pan fishing techniques and their corresponding equipment:

To save instructional time, these lists should be developed in advance and handed out at one of the early class sessions. However, each list should briefly be gone over during the class to explain what each piece of equipment is and what it is used for.

Again, your participants are novices. However, you will want to teach more advanced techniques that will allow participants to advance beyond the rank beginner stage.

Some of your participants likely have other outdoor experience and may have equipment that can be used for fishing. In almost all situations, the participants will be required to purchase some equipment. Those purchases should be kept to a minimum.

In many programs, the program supplies the relatively expensive equipment, such as rods and reels. In addition, many programs supply an assortment of hooks, floats and lures. State agencies may have aquatic education programs and/or confiscated fishing equipment available for your program to use.

In some situations, mentors or guides may also supply equipment. While this practice is not recommended, it is sometimes unavoidable.

In any case, clearly identifying, and listing, the equipment supplied by the program (and where it will be obtained) is important for the participants, instructors, and mentors/guides.

The third list includes optional/nice-to-have equipment, such as seats or chairs for bank fishing. Often, this optional equipment may be supplied by the mentor/guide. Again, these details should be worked out well in advance with the mentor/guide.