Beginners and Newcomers to Fishing: the Essentials for Your First Fishing Kit


April 8, 2023


Facebook Email
Fishing essentials

Fishing is quite an art. When you start, you can quickly feel a little lost as the techniques, types of rods, reels, or even lures are numerous. But remember: even the most seasoned anglers with countless stories to tell have started somewhere!

You’re getting ready to catch your first fish? That’s great! Now is the time to put together your first fishing kit. Which fishing rod to choose? Should you opt for a rod and reel set? Which lures should you go for? What are the other essentials to maximize your chances of catching something? We will cover all of this together. And the advantage is that you will not have to break the bank.

Spinning rods, fishing licence for Quebec or Ontario, accessories to keep close at hand, adapted clothing… Let’s list all the essentials to add to your fishing kit so that you, too, can have incredible fishing stories to tell.

In this article, you will discover everything you need to put together your very first fishing kit:

  1. A fishing rod and reel combo
  2. Lures
  3. Fishing Line Adapted to Your Practice
  4. Practical tools and accessories
  5. A fishing rod case
  6. A boat seat
  7. Protective fishing clothing
  8. A life jacket
  9. A tackle box
  10. Your Fishing Licence
  11. FAQ

1. A fishing rod and reel combo

Spinning rod

Instead of getting lost with the wide range of fishing rods on the market, look for or put together a set with a light to medium power spinning rod and a 2000, 2500 or 3000 size spinning reel. This is a good base to outsmart trout, walleye and even bass! And if the objective is limited to staying on the shore to fish for yellow perch or sunfish with your little ones, an ultralight model is all you need.

There are also fishing rod and reel combos for kids if you want to introduce your little ones to the pleasures of fishing.

Shop Rod & Reel Kits Shop Kids’ Kits

2. Lures

Fishing lures

Once you’ve got your fishing rod and spinning reel combo, you’ll want to cast lures that can be supported by your line. Beware of heavy lures. Spoons, spinners and hard baits of all shapes and colours, lures are artificial baits to attract fish based on their habitat and species. Also, get soft plastic lures in a variety of shapes and sizes, change lures during your fishing trip and memorize what works best for the species of fish you want to catch.

See our articles on the right equipment for fly fishing:

Shop Lures

3. Fishing Line Adapted to Your Practice

Selecting the right fishing line is a must if you want to offer the best presentations once on the water. The line must be suitable for the fishing technique used and the type of fish you are after. Given the many types of lines and brands available, however, it is not so easy to choose.

If you are a beginner, it is in your best interest to opt for a versatile line, taking care that its resistance is adapted to the fish caught. It is often better to buy extra line rather than using the one that comes with your brand new rod and reel set.

Beginners are often advised to use monofilament or fluorocarbon fishing line. These types of fishing lines will do just fine for trout. Fluorocarbon is a safe bet for the leader because it is invisible to the fish. Note also that a silk line may be best for fly fishing. It’s up to you to see what you prefer!

When it comes to colours, opt for a green or very light fishing line – the goal is to keep it discreet. Avoid braided line if you are a beginner, as the risk of breakage is greater in hands that are not yet expert.

For resistance, shop fishing line with a strength of 6 to 8 pounds for trout and 8 to 12 pounds for walleye. Remember to check the condition of the line regularly with your fingers to identify any weakened parts.

4. Practical tools and accessories

Fishing pliers

Just like a carpenter, plumber or electrician, an angler must always have his tools handy. Which tools, you may ask? Nothing complicated. A good knife to prepare the catches, but also one to cut the line, a pair of pliers for the stubborn hooks, fishing line and hooks, a landing net to grab your fish before it escapes or just catch some items dropped overboard, a cooler, a towel, some insect repellent, and a box full of worms. Don’t forget your polarized sunglasses!

Shop Tools

5. A fishing rod case

Fishing rod case

Not an insignificant detail, a rigid case with a strap will allow you to carry your rod safely and extend its life. Opt for durable, ripstop, and easy-to-care-for nylon.

Shop Rod Cases

6. A boat seat

Boat seat

Time can sometimes be long in a rowboat, especially when there are no fish around. It may be a good idea to bring a portable fishing seat to level up your comfort, especially if you suffer from back pain.

Shop Seatings

7. Protective fishing clothing

PFG Columbia

Fishing trips can take place under a scorching sun or a fine rain. In either case, it is better to protect yourself well so that the experience remains pleasant! Mosquitoes and other insects can also invite themselves to the party. If you are well equipped, nothing will prevent you from fully enjoying your day of fishing.

Depending on the season, cover yourself with breathable and long-sleeved clothing. Prefer neutral colours and materials that dry quickly, with good UVA and UVB protection. The Columbia Performance Fishing Gear line is specifically designed for fishing. In particular, you will find long-sleeved shirts that are comfortable, breathable and quick to dry. If there is a chance of rain, don’t forget your waterproof coat and rubber boots. Consider also water-repellent shirts as an outer layer, depending on the conditions.

Protect your legs from the sun and mosquitoes as well. Protective pants will be a good ally if you must cross a wooded area to get to the lake or the river – you would not want to get bitten by a tick. In summer, opt for waterproof or water-repellent shorts with UVA and UVB protection.

Do not forget to add a wide-brimmed cap or hat with mosquito netting to your new fishing wardrobe. Again, check out Columbia Performance Fishing Gear, which offers models with mesh ventilation and excellent sun protection.

Shop Fishing Clothing and Boots Shop Men’s Hats Shop Women’s Hats

8. A life jacket

Fishing PFD

Even though you are literally immobile while seated in a rowboat or submerged up to your knees in a river, a life jacket (PFD) is not only essential, but mandatory by law, even if you are in a human-powered watercraft like a canoe or kayak.

Buy a life jacket specially designed for fishing so you can store your lures and enjoy better freedom of movement. Find out more about the fishing PFD in this article.

Shop PFD and Vests

9. A tackle box

Tackle box

In order to organize your tools, accessories and lures, you will most certainly want to store them in a compartmentalized tackle box. Quite frankly, no one wants to find their hook stuck in the car seat or their precious lures scattered in the bottom of the boat. To find everything in the same place, the tackle box is the number one accessory in a good basic fishing kit. Enough to make you feel like an experienced angler who already has a ton of stories to tell!

Shop Tackle Boxes

10. Your Fishing Licence

A good angler is a responsible one who respects the rules. It all starts with a fishing licence valid for Quebec or Ontario, depending on where you cast your line.

A fishing licence is compulsory, with some exceptions. Have it with you at all times at the water’s edge or aboard a watercraft, along with a photo ID. The fishing licence is also valid in digital format on your cell phone. A wildlife protection officer or assistant may ask you for it, so be prepared!

The fishing licence for Quebec can either be annual (from April 1 to March 31 of the following year) or temporary. By opting for a 1-, 3- or 7-day licence, you will discover the joys of fishing at a lower cost. The fishing licence can be purchased online; take advantage!

There are several categories of sport fishing licences. The annual price will depend on your age and place of residence. Be advised: if you want to fish for Atlantic salmon, be sure to get an Atlantic salmon sport fishing licence!

If you want to fish regularly in Ontario, you will need an Outdoors Card and a valid Ontario fishing licence. The latter can be acquired online or from a licence issuer. Its duration is one or three years, depending on your needs. A day licence is also available – perfect for a great afternoon of fishing in Algonquin Provincial Park!

Once you have your licence in your pocket, you will, of course, have to respect the water bodies and the fishing quotas. Responsible fishing preserves the fauna and flora.


Now you know all the essentials to put into a beginner’s first fishing kit! There is no doubt that your fishing equipment will evolve over time, along with your experience and your preferences. That being said, with all the items listed above, you will certainly be geared up to catch your first trout!

Shop for your fishing kit online or visit us at a SAIL store to take advantage of our specialists’ advice! Take the time to explore: your first catches will be all the more beautiful.


What is needed for fishing?

How to equip yourself for fishing?

You might also like