Get Rigged Up with a Basic Rod and Reel Combo

     Ideally, the well equipped angler would hit the water with a selection of rods and reels, each suited to a specific location or maybe a targeted species of fish.  That's not really very practical, so most folks start out with a basic "multi-purpose" outfit and build their arsenal over a period of time.

‚Äč     As a starter outfit, it's hard to go wrong with a 7-foot spinning rod, mated to a 2500 to 3000 series spinning reel.  The rod should be fairly stiff,  designed to handle weights from 1/4 ounce up to one ounce. This rod will easily handle most of the lure or bait and weight combos used in this area.

        Load the reel with either 12-pound test monofilament or 15-pound test braided line.   I like the braid.  Even though braided line is very thin, it's easy for fish to see, no matter what color line you choose.  Fix this by tying a 24-inch piece of monofilament  or fluorocarbon leader to the end of the braid. The strength of the leader may vary from 20 to 40-pound test. Twenty pound test works great for speckled trout and redfish, but 30 to 40-pound test is recommended for snook or Spanish mackerel because they have sharp gill plates or teeth that might cut the light leader.  
         A Uni-Knot is an effective knot for connecting leaders to your line.  Learn to tie this versatile knot at www.netknots.com, a helpful site for tying all types of fishing and boating knots.   The Uni-Knot is also featured in my surf fishing book.
        This line and leader combination will work for casting a lure, fishing with live shrimp under a popping cork, or presenting a piece of cut bait on the bottom.