Fishing equipment

The number of rods, reels, line, lures, hooks, and bait available to the modern angler is nearly overwhelming. However, for pan fishing, most of it is unnecessary.

Novice anglers should be cautioned (and encouraged) that the necessary equipment to be able to regularly catch panfish is not overly expensive, and should not become an economic barrier to participation. Some specialized equipment will make panfish anglers more effective, but most is not expensive, nor complicated to use.

Separating out the “must haves” versus the “nice to haves” can be difficult, even for experienced anglers. Making these separations will be a critical task for the instructor of this session.

Because panfish are found in a wide geographic region and there are only minor seasonal differences in fishing techniques, the list of the minimum equipment required to go panfishing should be relatively consistent, and developing this list should be fairly easy. Remember, your participants are novices who may or may not want to continue to fish after the class, so keep the list to the bare essentials.

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.

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.

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. Angler equipment loaner programs may have equipment available for your program to use.

In some situations, angler 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 last list includes optional/nice-to-have equipment, such as artificial lures, slip bobbers, flies, scents, and fishing pole supports.  Often, some of this optional equipment may be supplied by the mentor/guide. However, if loaned equipment is going to be used, the details should be worked out well in advance with the mentor/guide.

Equipment lists should include:

  • Rods and reels suitable for pan fish;
  • Hook sizes and types used for panfish;
  • Line types used for panfish;
  • Sinkers used for panfish;
  • Floats and bobbers;
  • Live bait;
  • Artificial lures, jigs, flies, spinners, etc.;
  • Pliers, line cutters, and de-hookers; and
  • Stringers and coolers


NY Beginners Guide to Fresh Water Fishing - Tackle and Techniques

Every angler has stories to tell: my first fish, my biggest fish, and, of course, the one-that-got-away. Before you can tell your own story, you need to hook your first fish. To make this happen, you need a rod, reel, hook, line, bait, lure and other tackle that will get you off to a good start. You also need to learn how to cast and how to choose the spots where you’re most likely to catch fish in a lake, pond or stream. Once you learn these basics, it won’t be long before you have your own stories to tell.