Must Have Fishing Gear for Beginners: The Essential Checklist

Fishing is a hobby that’s loved by people of all ages. Whether it’s for food, for sport or for fun, fishing in Australia is one of the country’s favourite pastimes. But with so many types of rods and reels, what does a beginner need to learn to fish safely? 

A spinning fishing rod and reel are essential for any beginner fisher. Having a line and lure that specifically works with a spinning reel is going to make learning to fish much easier. A multi tool with a quality set of pliers and a dedicated fishing knife are also essential for any fisher.

Still don’t know where to start? Don’t worry! This handy guide goes over all the fishing essentials every beginner needs in Australia, and where to pick up a bargain, so you can get casting right away!

Best Fishing Gear For Beginners

Fishing rods, reels, lures and hooks are the most important fishing gear as they will allow you to actually fish. Things like multi tools, tackle boxes and gloves will all improve your quality of life while fishing. A fishing licence is also an essential piece of fishing gear often forgotten by beginners.

Fishing Rod and Reel

Fishing rods and reels are the most important piece of fishing gear. Choosing the right type of fishing rod for your skill level and fishing location will make a significant difference on your results.

What are the Different Types of Fishing Rods?

Different types of fishing rods are designed to catch different fish in different settings, from on a boat in the ocean, to fly fishing in a river. The different types of fishing rods you will come across include spin, casting, trolling, telescopic and fly fishing rods.

Spin Fishing Rods – Spin fishing rods are the rods you are likely most familiar with, featuring a spinning reel which drastically minimises line tangling and snagging. These rods are almost universally used and are a favourite among beginners and veterans alike.

Casting Fishing Rods – Casting fishing rods, as the name implies, are specifically designed to cast your line over long distances, especially in the ocean. These rods are actually much simpler and more enjoyable to use, making them popular amongst kids and beginners, although it’s best to have an experienced angler around as they are prone to tangling.

Fly Fishing Rods – Fly fishing rods are completely unique rods that are different to standard fishing rods in many ways, including the reel, the way the line is cast, and the settings in which you use it. Fly fishing rods are non negotiable if you want to fly fish, and is the only way to catch some species of fish, although it is much more difficult than normal fishing.

Trolling Fishing Rods – Trolling rods are a unique type of rod made specifically for boat fishing. More accurately, trolling rods are installed into the boat and are cast and left alone. As the boat moves, the line and lure trolls behind it. This movement helps catch the eyes of larger ocean fish, which is why trolling rods are much sturdier. While only trolling rods can really be used to fish like this, these rods only really benefit when used like this; making them a very niche rod.

Telescopic Fishing Rods – As the name implies, telescopic fishing rods are collapsible rods with a similar design to that of a telescope. These fishing rods are versatile and easy to carry, especially for people hiking, backpacking or generally travelling around with not a lot of room; although they admittedly have worse casts on average.

What is the Best Type of Fishing Rod for Beginners?

A fishing rod with a spinning reel is ideal for beginner anglers. Spinning reels are widely known as the most beginner friendly reel for several reasons. First off, they are fairly inexpensive, which is perfect for people who are still learning to fish and whether it’s for them.

In addition, spinning reels are much easier to use. The spinning reel is the only reel that attaches from underneath and feels a lot more comfortable to hold. This, combined with the spinning reels’ open design, makes it much easier to learn how to cast properly and safely.

Spinning reels are also the easiest to troubleshoot. Their design means the line probably won’t get twisted or jammed, but the open design allows you to get in there to fix it much easier, if it does.

A spinning reel is overall more versatile. You’ll be able to take a rod with a spinning reel off the shelf, and easily catch fish anywhere, from a boat in saltwater, to land fishing in a river. Many experienced anglers will say that a PENN Pursuit II spin reelOpens in a new tab. combined with a Daiwa Laguna LGC Spinning RodOpens in a new tab. is the go-to combination for beginners. 

Fishing Line

Monofilament fishing lines, also known as mono or nylon, are the first choice for beginners all the way up to master fishers. Nylon fishing lines uniquely combine a high stretchability, which is important for tackling those bigger catches, with high abrasion resistance and low cost.

Other than the fact that it’s more affordable, one of the biggest perks about using a nylon fishing line is that it doesn’t tangle anywhere near as easily as other lines. When you are learning to fish, having a line that won’t tangle and has some give when you’re reeling in a live one is exactly what you need, and is where nylon lines shine. 

Fluorocarbon lines are also recommended for beginners because they are clear in the water and have similar stretchability and abrasion resistance, but the extra stretch and affordability that comes from nylon lines are why they remain a staple recommendation for people new to fishing. 

The Daiwa J-Braid Grand lineOpens in a new tab. is a nylon line that comes in a variety of lengths and size capacities. No matter how much fishing you’ll be doing, and how big the fish are, there will be a line set perfect for your needs. 

Fishing Lures

If you’re new to fishing, you can’t go past a spinning lure. A spinning lure, or spinnerbait, is designed to work best with a spinning reel and rod combination, which is what we recommend for beginner fishers.

Spinning lures are convenient and cost-effective and have many advantages when stacked up against live bait. A spinning lure is a one time purchase, while you lose a little bit of live bait every time you cast. If you’re new to fishing and aren’t ready to sink a lot of money into the hobby, buying a spinning lure once is a lot more convenient than buying a lot of bait every time you go out on the water.

Spinning lures are also clean and smell-free, and you won’t have to worry about finding a place to cut a piece of bait before every cast. When you’re new to fishing, a lure like the Daiwa Steez SpinnerbaitOpens in a new tab. will have you spending more time fishing, and less time fiddling around with bait. 

Fishing Hooks

Fishing hooks come in all shapes and sizes, but none of them quite have the amazing results that circle hooks do. Circle hooks have quickly become the golden standard in fishing, with people of all skill levels using them to catch their fish. As a result, they make for the perfect type of hook for a beginner to use.

Circle hooks are beneficial to both people catching fish for food as well as catch and release anglers. The circle design of the hook prevents it from being lodged further into the fish and is almost always found stuck in the fish’s mouth. Having the hook caught in the mouth makes it easier for you to remove, increases the fish’s chance of survival, and reduces the amount of tackle lost or damaged.

Circle hooks are also easier to bait, making them great for beginners. A bulk lot of 100 Tuna Circle fishing hooksOpens in a new tab. is not only affordable, but the large quantity for a low price is perfect for beginners who are still learning how to tie their hooks properly. 

Fishing Gloves

Fishing gloves are an essential and sometimes overlooked beginner fisher item, but it’s absolutely essential to have a pair. Fish are slippery and covered in sharp fins and scales. A pair of fishing gloves can mean the difference between holding onto a fish or not, and is going to keep you safe from cuts and scrapes.

The added benefit of fishing gloves is that it’s going to help protect you from cutting yourself while you cut bait on choppy waters. A pair of fishing gloves will last you multiple fishing seasons, both on open water and while freshwater fishing.

A Lindy Fish Handling gloveOpens in a new tab. is a great pickup for beginners. These affordable fishing gloves come in a range of styles and sizes, and the non-slip, puncture-proof design is a sturdy glove you can rely on. 

Multi Tool With Pliers

Pliers and multi tools aren’t just a camper’s best friend, you should never leave the land without one! A multi tool with a set of pliers on it is going to have everything you need for a fishing trip.

The multi tool is for more than just pulling a hook out of a fish. The average multi tool comes with the attachments needed to cut, crimp and attach hooks to lines, and a range of smaller knives in case your dedicated fishing knife goes overboard. Most also come with a bottle opener, so you can have a brew on your fishing trip, as long as you aren’t the skipper!

You can’t just grab any old set of pliers out of your tool shed and chuck it in your tackle box, they do very different things! Workshop pliers aren’t built to withstand the wet conditions on a boat and will quickly rust and seize up. Fishing pliers are designed specifically to cut lines, crimp hooks, and not slip out of your hand when you hit a big wave. 

The Gerber Suspension MultitoolOpens in a new tab. is a complete fifteen tool multitool that has everything you need for your next fishing trip. The butterfly open design makes all fifteen of those tools easy to access whenever you need them. With spring loaded jaws and fine serrated blades, you’ll be trimming and cutting lines and getting back in the action before you know it. This multitool comes with a lifetime guarantee making it the perfect fishing partner. 

Fishing Knife

Whether you are cutting live bait or preparing caught fish, a fishing knife is non-negotiable for any fishing trip. You can’t just take any old knife in your kitchen, you’ll need something that’s the right shape, is water-resistant and isn’t going to slip out of your hand and risk injury.

Although your multi tool will come with a couple of blades, they are no substitute for a proper fishing knife. The standard seven-inch fishing knife is going to do everything you need from a knife, with a titanium coated blade to prevent rusting and corrosion.

The shape of a fishing knife blade is unique, something you won’t find in your knife draw. The long, narrow blade is specially made to help quickly and easily fillet fish. Combined with a non-slip handle, the Mustad Filleting KnifeOpens in a new tab. is an affordable and durable beginner’s knife that’s going to work perfectly for catches of all sizes. 

Tackle Bag

In the last ten years, tackle bags have completely overtaken tackle boxes, with most anglers making the switch and never looking back. Tackle bags and boxes both serve the same purpose, a convenient way to store bait, tackle, hooks, lines and even knives.

Tackle bags are generally larger and have more compartments, and are much more convenient to carry around. Instead of having multiple levels of open storage in a tackle box, a tackle bag allows you to slide in multiple sealed tackle cases, so your hooks will never get mixed up and stuck together.

Because they aren’t made of plastic, a tackle bag is much safer to have on a boat. It can move around on harsh waves and isn’t going to risk cracking, breaking and spilling hooks and lures across the boat.

The standard Plano Weekend Series tackle bagOpens in a new tab. may seem small, but it’s going to be big enough for all of your fishing supplies. It’s got enough room for two or three tackle cases, and has plenty of pockets for knives, multi tools and gloves with room to spare. This affordable tackle bag is one that’s purchased by beginner anglers and is still used years later.

Fishing Licence

Although not a piece of fishing gear or tackle, a fishing licence is an important addition to any fishing expedition. Although not all states require fishing, all states have some form of protected species. Below are the states which require fishing licences and where to get them.

Western Australia – Western Australia does not require a standard fishing licence to catch fish in the state. However you will need a special licence from the Department of FisheriesOpens in a new tab. if you plan to catch:

  • Rock lobster
  • Marron
  • Abalone

You will also need a licence to go netting, recreational boat fishing, or freshwater angling in the south west of Western Australia.

Northern Territory – In the Northern Territory, you can only have a maximum of fifteen fish on your person during a fishing trip. The amount of fish you can have broken down into amounts per species, meaning you cannot have 15 of the same fish (other than bream). The full list of fishing restrictions in the Northern TerritoryOpens in a new tab. on the Northern Territory Marine Government website. 

South Australia – Fishing in South Australia does not require a standard fishing licence, however there are some protected fish species in South AustraliaOpens in a new tab.. These fish cannot be taken under any circumstances and must be safely returned to the water immediately.

Queensland – Anglers in Queensland are required to get a fishing licence to legally fish in the state. A Queensland Recreational Fishing LicenceOpens in a new tab. will allow you to catch all fish in the state. Be aware that there are fishing catch limits in QueenslandOpens in a new tab. that apply to both freshwater and saltwater fish.

Victoria – A Victorian Fishing LicenceOpens in a new tab. is required to fish in the state and lasts for up to three years. Anglers need to be aware of Victorian catch and size limitsOpens in a new tab. for fish to avoid harsh fines.

NSW – Similar to other states, you are required to purchase and carry proof of purchase, for a fishing licence in NSW. The NSW fishing licenceOpens in a new tab. lasts from three days to three years, depending on the licence purchased. Like all other states, there are prohibited and limited fish you can catch in NSWOpens in a new tab., so it’s best to check before you embark on your next fishing expedition.


Sunglasses are more than just a fashion accessory, when you’re out fishing it’s a piece of safety gear! Not only will you be out on a sunny day fishing for hours, but the reflection of the sun on the water can be especially damaging to your eyes more than you know!

In addition, when you’re fishing with other people or in a popular area, it’s important to be able to see what you’re doing without the glare of the sun. Bright days can affect your ability to safely navigate your boat or cast your line with other people around. Ensure that you are bringing a pair of polarised sunglasses as part of your must-have fishing essentials.

We rely on the Spotters Arctic plus Polarised SunglassesOpens in a new tab. to keep us safe from the sun’s harmful rays. These polarised glasses are tough and flexible, perfect for any angler. You’ll never be caught out with glare in your eyes again with these thick glasses that block sunlight from all directions.

What Else Should I Consider When Buying Fishing Equipment in Australia?

Knowing where you plan to fish and what type of fish you’ll be catching are important to consider when buying fishing equipment in Australia. Some fishing gear is made to excel in deep ocean waters, which will be unnecessary if you only plan on river fishing.

You need to consider the size of the fish you are trying to catch. If you’re going for larger game, you’ll need rods and lines that can support heavier fish without breaking. While some fishing gear is universally applicable, considering where and what you’ll be fishing can help you save money by only buying the gear you’ll actually need.

Related Questions

Is it Better to Use Live Bait or Lures?

Using lures is better in water that has dense schools of fish as it will attract nearby fish much easier; while live bait is better at catching larger fish from a distance as the smell of the bait in the water will attract fish from a distance.

However, different fish have different preferences between live bait and lures, so it’s best to consult an Australian fishing bait guideOpens in a new tab. depending on where you are, and what you want to catch.

What Do I Get a Kid That Likes Fishing?

Getting a child who likes fishing a beginners fishing rod is a great idea to help prepare future anglers. There are a variety of kid friendly fishing rods on the market that are small and easy enough for kids of all ages to use to learn to fish.

Although sharp hooks may sound scary, a child’s fishing rod such as the Shakespeare Whiz Kid Junior fisOpens in a new tab.hing rod is a great start for any junior fisherman or woman. This rod is perfectly sized for kids aged 10-15 and comes unrigged, perfect to teach your kid how to rig one up themselves.

For much younger kids who still enjoy getting on the boat or on the jetty while everyone is fishing, a Pryml Neo Junior Fishing Tool BucketOpens in a new tab. is another great addition for any fishing trip. This kit comes with a measuring mat, mini tackle box and a fishing and bait net, perfect to get kids under ten more involved in the fishing process.  

James Mitchell

Hi, I’m Jimmy Mitchell and I love exploring this great country with my wife and two boys. I have a 2015 Sterling LX that is the Mitchell Family camping machine. Lets Getaway is the website where I share things about my trailer as I learn them, and help other camper owners to enjoy their RV even more.

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