Recommended Fishing Gear
(updated December, 2017) Over the years I’ve had the opportunity to test all kinds of fishing gear, including fishing reels, rods, lures, tackle and much more as it’s related to fishing. Some products were better than others and while some were very good in their own right, they just weren’t for me. I’m constantly getting emails by readers and being asked by family and friends what do I actually use when I’m on the water.
For this reason, I’ve listed some of the gear that I use on a regular basis when fishing. Keep in mind that as time goes by these products may change and as they do, I will update this list.
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these products, and I recommend them because they are good quality and make my time on the water that much more enjoyable and productive.
There’s plenty of debate among fishermen when it comes to the best fishing reels, but for me personally, I love Penn Reels. I especially love my Penn Spinfisher V 4500 saltwater spinning reel.
This is without a doubt my favorite all around reel.
I use it for all of my inshore fishing. It’s a little heavy, but because it’s so well balanced, it feels extremely comfortable in my hand, even when casting lures all day long.
Please note that I use the regular version and not the "live liner".
The St. Croix Tidemaster 7ft medium/light fast action rod is my go to rod for all of my inshore fishing. Paired with the Spinfisher reel, you have a fishing combo that can handle most any inshore species, including tarpon, snook and redfish.
These rods are a little pricey, but in my opinion are well worth it. I’ve settled for cheap rods before only to have them deteriorate within a few month or worse...snap in half when battling that trophy snook. In fact, this is exactly what happened to me and is the reason I switched to a better quality fishing rod.
What can I say, I’m a braid guy! My favorite braided fishing line is Suffix’s 832 Advanced Superline Braid. It comes in a variety of strengths from 6lbs all the way up to 80lbs, but for inshore I use and recommend either the 10lb or 20 lb options. I mainly use 10 lbs on my rods, but always have a rod and reel spooled with 20lbs just in case.
I used to use Power Pro, but found that pound for pound Suffix seems to be much stronger. I will say that the one thing about Suffix that I don’t like is that it doesn’t come in 15lb test. Also, after switching to Suffix, I noticed that I was getting a lot less wind knots than before. Now if this is due to the line itself, or just by chance, I really can’t say for certain. All I know is less is better. Overall I’ve been very happy with Suffix.
I test and use hundreds of different fishing lures each year in all shapes, sizes, materials and colors, but if I had to choose just one as my go-to-lure, it would be the penny colored Gulp Shrimp with the chartreuse tail.
They can get a little pricey, especially when you have pinfish biting the tails off of them after every other cast. With that being said, I’ve probably caught more fish with the Gulp Shrimp than any other artificial lure I’ve ever used.
I have a big head and so far the brand of hat that fits me best is Columbia’s PFG Mesh Ball Cap. I’m sure the smaller sizes fit guys who have smaller heads too.
They have a mesh back that will keep your head cool while providing protection from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Again, I'm not saying that this hat is the best by any means, it's just the best fit for my big head.
If you have a favorite brand of hat then wear it.
I don’t necessarily have a preference when it comes to fishing shirts, just so long as they fit and keep me cool.
With that being said, if you look in my drawers, you’ll probably find more Columbia shirts than anything else.
I particularly love their men’s Terminal Tackle Long Sleeve fishing shirts.
They don’t have a lot of designs all over them, they fit me good, and keep me cool during Florida’s hot summer days.
Every fisherman knows that you need a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Not only do they protect your eyes from the sun, but they also allow you to see fish and structure more clearly in the water.
Just like with fishing rods, I use to settle for the $10 pair of polarized sunglasses that you can find at Walmart. That is until I forgot my pair during a particular fishing trip with a buddy of mine, who happened to have an extra pair of Costa sunglasses in his glove compartment that he let me borrow. The difference between my cheap pair of sunglasses and his Costa’s were evident as soon as I put them on. The Costa’s clarity, fit, and quality were unmistakably much better. I was sold!
If it wasn’t for the fact that I use my cooler to stand and sit on while out on the water, I would opt for a $45 dollar Walmart special. However, I’m also not going to pay $400 dollars for a Yeti! Lucky for me, I found a cooler that is very similar to a Yeti but for half the price.
The RTIC rotomold cooler is comparable to a Yeti in every way. It’s sturdy enough for a grown man to stand on and holds ice for up to 10 days depending on how hot it is. On average I’ve found it to keep ice for a good 5-7 days, which from what I’ve heard is pretty standard for most rotomold coolers, including Yeti coolers.