For those who would rather be fishing
One of the most appealing aspects of modern-day fishing is that it can be as simple or as complex as you desire. You can dangle a basic hook-and-worm setup into the lake, or you can drop thousands of dollars on gadgets that tell you where the fish are, how big they are and what they'd prefer to eat. How much money (and faith) you invest in your fishing equipment is completely up to you.
There are, however, two pieces of equipment that are absolutely necessary for successful fishing: rods and bait.
The most basic piece of fishing gear is your rod, but choosing the right rod is anything but basic. First, check the action, or how much the rod bends and gives when it's caught on some weight. On a fast-action rod, only the top quarter bends, while a slow-action rod bends almost entirely, right down to the handle. Fast-action rods are better for heavier fish and longer casting.
Determine how much weight the rod can sustain from fishing lures—lures can weigh up to a few pounds, depending on what type of fish you're chasing.
Reels are important parts of rods, as well. There are hundreds of different fishing reels on the market, so it's best to seek professional help in finding a reel for your needs. Reels for cast fishing are different from those for trolling, which in turn are different from reels for bottom fishing. You also need to match your reel with the size of fish you're hoping to catch, as well as the type of fishing line you're going to use. Finally, it can be handy to compare gear ratios, or how many times the spool rotates with each complete revolution of the handle. The higher the ratio, the faster you can reel in your catch.
Whether you use live bait or fishing lures, you need to tailor your bait to the type of fish you're hoping to attract. Different species prefer different things, and a species' preferences can even change based on water temperature or time of day.
Live bait—such as worms, grasshoppers, minnows and frogs—is thought to be the most successful on most species of fish. But, artificial bait—including lures, flies and jigs—is easier to use (no baiting the hook), is reusable and can be more attractive to certain fish. There is also prepared bait, which is previously made food like cheese or bread.