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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
  • 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

Spinning reels and rods and how anglers hold them

  • 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. Closed face reels with levers are also held in this position.
  • 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.

Other useful items

  • Pair of needle-nose pliers
  • Pair of fingernail clippers
  • Cooler or bucket

Line: Your link to the fish

Start out with 8-pound test monofilament line, which is a good compromise for most fish. Choose clear, light blue or green line for your starting outfit.

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.

Follow the instructions that come with your reel and line before filling. The reel is full when the wrapped line is about 1/16 of an inch from the outside edge of the spool. Don't allow knots in your line, except at the end. Knots both weaken line and make it difficult to cast.

Filling the reel spool

Thread the line through the spool cap or under the bail to start. Tie one end of the line to your reel spool with an overhand knot, and then reel it on. Most spools of line come with suggestions on how to avoid line twist when filling your reel.

Key Messages: 

Conservation makes Missouri a great place to hunt and fish.

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