I’ve run into a few people recently who feel overwhelmed with the idea of knowing what tackle and gear to buy to get started bass fishing. In this post, I’ve put together a simple list of the essential bass fishing tackle you need to start catching bass. It includes a great beginning rod and reel set up, the basic few types of hooks and terminal tackle you’ll need, and some specific “go to” baits you need in your arsenal. This post illustrates all the basics supplies I use to catch the often-elusive bass. My goal is to help everyone know how to start off “Kraken” bass!
Essential Bass Fishing Tackle
Here is a list of the essential bass fishing tackle and gear you need to get started bass fishing. Start at the top of the list and work your way down. The essential tackle is ranked in order of importance. Hopefully this way, if you can’t get everything you need in one fail swoop, you will at least be able to put together a decent wish list. This list will help you be prepared for every possible bass fishing situation.
1. Rod, Reel, & Fishing Line:
These are the most important pieces of equipment you need to start bass fishing. There are so many opinions on what is best. Here is the equipment I’ve used that is simple, easy to handle, and get the job done.
I started out fishing with a spinning rod and reel equipped with some 8-pound test fishing line. I still use a spinning rod and reel today and is the first item I give someone when I take them out bass fishing the first time. Listed below are some links to a decent spinning rod, reel, and fishing line you can purchase to begin “Kraken” bass! I like these items because I know they work great for a multitude of techniques. Plus, they are well priced compared to most brands but they aren’t so cheaply made that they don’t work. The right rod, reel, and fishing line will improve your casting ability and greatly enhance your bass-catching potential.
Shimano Spinning Rod 7-Feet 2-Inch Medium Heavy Action
Abu Garcia Cardinal SX30 Spinning Reel
P-Line Fluorocarbon 8 pound test fishing line
2. Hooks & Terminal Tackle:
You absolutely must have some hooks, weights, and a little bit of terminal tackle such as swivels and split rings in your tackle box. These items will help you create a variety of different rigs for fishing soft plastic baits. The right hooks, weights, and swivels are important to not only create unique presentations, but also help you land more fish. I’ve caught more bass on soft plastic baits using the following weights, swivels, and hooks than anything else in my tackle box. Here are my choices for the most essential hooks, weights, swivels, and split rings you need to get “Kraken” bass.
Weights: I try to get weights in a variety of different sizes to fish different depths. I rarely ever go lighter than 1/8 oz. weights and I almost never go over 1/2 oz. weights. If I could only use one size, it would be 1/4 oz. The 1/4 oz. size works in almost every situation. The two main type of weights you need are bullet head weights and drop shot weights. Here are links to both styles of weights I use.
Bullet Weights 1/4 oz. 10 Count Bag
Hooks: I primarily use two types of hooks. I’ve found you can fish a grip load of baits with a 3/0 offset worm hook and a 1/0 drop shot hook. Here are some links to pick up the hooks I use out of my tackle box. I like the Gamakatsu brand hooks because they are razor sharp and super strong for landing big-pig bass.
Gamakatsu 25 Pack EWG Offset Worm Hook (Black, 3/0)
Gamakatsu Split Shot/Drop Shot Hook-Pack Of 25 (Black, 1/0)
Terminal Tackle: You absolutely must have some barrel swivels and split rings. These items help eliminate line twists and can help you create some of my favorite rigs like the Carolina rig or Jika Rig. Here are links to the swivels and split rings I’ve used.
3. Soft Plastic Baits:
I’ve caught more bass on soft plastic imitation baits than anything else in my tackle box. I’ve found bass will eat soft plastics any time of year and in all different types of environments. For starting out bass fishing, I would buy a pack of the following 3 different soft plastic baits. The best color to purchase is green pumpkin. Green pumpkin is a color that always works for me in every type of lake, river, or pond I go bass fishing in. My all-time favorite 3 soft plastic baits are the Yamamoto Senko, Reactions Innovations Sweet Beaver, and the Jackall Cross Tail Shad. Here are the links to grab you some of these awesome baits.
Yamamoto Senko Bait, Dark Green Pumpkin Amber Laminate, 5-Inch
Reaction Innovations Sweet Beaver (Green Pumpkin)
Jackall Cross Tail Shad (Green Pumpkin Pepper)
I’ve done several posts on how to rig these soft plastic baits up and fish them properly. Check out the following posts to help you get rigged up to catch those big bass you’ve been waiting for.
Weightless Texas Rig (Senko’s)
Drop Shot Rig (Crosstail Shad)
Carolina Rig (Sweet Beaver & Senko’s)
(If you had any doubts about purchasing these baits, here’s a picture of a beast-of-a-bass my dad caught on a weightless rigged senko. They catch bass!)
I thought long and hard about what would be the next best lure for catching bass. I’ve decided the spinnerbait would be it. A spinnerbait is awesome for fishing in a lot of different places. You can fish them fast just under the surface or reel them in slow along the bottom. If you are getting started bass fishing, I’d pick up a couple spinnerbaits for sure. They are really easy to fish and have caught me a lot of bass over the years. My favorite spinnerbaits have a small gold blade in the front and a larger silver blade in the back. You can’t go wrong with just a plain white or a shad patterned bait. Here is a link to one of my favorite spinnerbaits. It’s a great one to have in your tackle box.
Strike King Premier Plus Spinnerbaits – Colorado/Willow (Chartreuse Sexy Shad, 0.375-Ounce)
(Here is a beast I caught on this exact bait! It works!)
Lastly, a must-have in your essential bass fishing tackle is a crankbait. They flat-out catch fish all year long. A good mid-depth diving crankbait can get you covering a lot of water and catch a lot of bass. Crankbaits are simple and easy to use. You just throw them out and wind them back. Nothing much more to it than that. I’ve caught some of my biggest bass on crankbaits. Here is a link to my all-time favorite crankbait. It’s a little high in price, but it does work on those big bass! If you’re only going to get one, you might as well make it a good one.
Megabass Cyclone MDX (PM Gill)
(Here is a beast I caught on this exact bait!)
Essential Bass Fishing Tackle – Miscellaneous Items:
There are a few other minor essential bass fishing tackle items every person needs to have handy to help with an exciting fishing experience. Cutting line, unhooking your fish, and showing off your catch are important! Here are links to my favorite fishing scale, pliers, and scissors to help provide some ease while handling your gear on the water.
The Kraken Bass Weigh Scale will help you out when you are on the water. This scale comes with a built-in tape measure and an easy-to-read electronic digital display–showing up in you photos so you can brag to your friends with honesty about the fish you catch. In addition, there is a magnet on the back, attaching the scale hook for easy storage. This scale was built and designed by me. Check it out in the following link on Amazon to pick one up: Kraken Bass Weigh Scale
A pair of needle nose pliers is an absolute must! It will help you unhook the fish or anything else you may find yourself tangled in. There are millions of pairs on the market. Find one with line cutters and an o-ring splitter and you should be stoked for life. Also, make sure to get one that is stainless steel so it doesn’t rust up on you while using it in or around water. Here’s a good one: Pliers & Line Cutters
Well, that should be a great start! Once you get confident with these items, you can start expanding from here. Your next step should be trying to throw other popular baits such as jigs, topwaters, jerkbaits, and swimbaits. I’ve got posts on the blog for all those techniques, helping you to get you going in the right direction.
My dad has a shirt that says “So many lures, so little time.” I know I definitely fall into that trap. Hopefully, this will give you a good idea of where to start. Make sure to subscribe to the blog to keep posted on a variety of other techniques and lures to help expand your bass fishing arsenal with effectiveness. Please leave your thoughts about this post in the comments below. Now get out and get “Kraken” bass!
Great article could have used it a few years ago.
Thanks man! I know I wish I would of had this same info when I started. It would of helped my learning curve for sure!
I mostly fish from a small boat with my butt close to the water. I am 5’9″ tall, and slightly built. Would you still recommend rods over 7′ long, or would shorter rods work better for me? I just like to catch fish; don’t care how big they are (not a monster hunter), so I mostly use smaller lures. Thanks.
I’m a short dude as well at only 5’10” the reason why I prefer the 7 foot rods, is you get a lot more distance out of your casts. Especially when you fish clear water it can make all the difference in the world. I feel like the distance from the cast out weighs the ease of a smaller rod. I’ve used both, but I like being able to cast farther than the other guy with a little longer rod.
JB – I have a gut feeling that the guys using long rods are taller than us, and are standing up in front of a bass boat (not sitting down in a small boat). So they have a lot more room to work a long rod without hitting something, and can use the extra leverage to their advantage. I have been upgrading my old short rods to longer sticks, and think I will not exceed 7′ for now. I am building a 6’3″ casting rod for pinpoint casting to shallow cover, so distance is not an issue with this rod; hopefully it will work better than the 51/2′ pistol-grip rods from years ago. Thanks for the reply.
You bet! Let me know how the new rod works out!
Great advice , great article, thank you! #KrackenBass
Glad you enjoy my friend! Keep it stoked!
Is there a specific reason you recommend a spincaster over a baitcaster? I’m looking into getting into bass fishing and it really seems people are split over this, especially for beginners.
Good question! You eventually need to become proficient with both! I started with a spinning rod. They are easier to cast, and work really well for finesse smaller baits to get you more bites to get the feel of how bass bite, and where they are at. Then when you are ready jump into a baitcaster. The baitcaster provides you with the ability to throw much larger baits, and gives you more accurate casts. Plus, with the bait caster you can start pitching and flipping which can be super fun.