If you are just getting started in fishing, here's what you should know.
Things to Buy:
(Note: saltwater, silver, and freshwater, bronze, hooks are made out of different materials, freshwater hooks will dissolve in saltwater)
-2 spinning rods per person, one 7' medium action, one 6' light action (if you're going cheap: Bass Pro Shops brand is okay, Cabela's brand is not)
-2 Abu Garcia Cardinal reels, per person, one 301 and one 302: $30 each
|Abu Garcia Cardinal 301|
-600 yards of around 6-8 pound original Stren or original Trilene (this ages and should be replaced at least every other year)
-A pile of silver and gold 1/16 oz jigs
-A handful of silver and gold 1/32 oz jigs
-A handful of silver and gold 1/8 oz jigs
-A lot of 3" to 6" Powerbait, make sure that some are simple grubs (color doesn't matter, but favor natural colors, not fluorescent)
-As many small deep diving Rapala Shad Raps as you can afford: if you have access to deep water 6-10', color doesn't matter, but gold silver, and perch are always good options, the one pictured below is about as big as you want to get
-A few small Rapala Original Floating Minnows (optional) the one pictured below is as small as you want to get
-A bunch of in-line spinners, size 0 to 4 (There will almost certainly be a number on the blade; Mepps and Panther Martin brands preferred)
|Mepps No. 1, Original Floating Minnow, Jig w/tinsel, 2 plain Jigs, Shad Rap (electrical tape at top for scale)|
-Some Beetle Spins
-1 pair of needle-nose pliers
-Replacement rod tips, matches and hot-melt glue
-Fly tying vise (optional)
-Fly tying thread (optional)
-Sparkly Flashabou or sparkly thread, or whatever materiel (optional)
I struggled to catch trout from a stream until I fished with a guy who knew what he was doing.
Take your lighter rod, and either put on one of the in-line spinners, beetle spin, or a jig with Powerbait, or an Original Floating Minnow (that order preferred).
Walk quietly, slowly, while wearing neutral colors, and keeping a low profile. The fish will be facing upstream, you don't want them to see, or hear, you.
Cast as close as you can to the far shore and reel your lure in, repeat. They will usually be lying along the shorelines, behind rocks and trees in the water or near the rapids.
Small Freshwater Fish (bass, walleyes, perch, bluegills, crappies)
Find a body of water that is fertile, darker water, more weeds, and more fish.
Look for structure. (Structure is anything that provides cover for a fish: logs, piers, weeds, rocks, points, steep drop offs, etc.) Each species will prefer a different kind of structure.
Cast any of the small lures as close as you can get to the structure. What will be ideal is to have your cast land past the structure, and then have the lure pass the structure on the retrieve.
If the water is cold, use smaller stuff and move more slowly. If the water is warm you can move them faster.
Large Freshwater Fish (Northern Pike and Muskies)
Use your biggest stuff in the same way you did for the smaller fish. (Smaller fish are more numerous, and easier to catch. They should therefore be your focus, if you are fishing for survival.)
Bottom Feeders (carp, bullheads, suckers)
Grab your jigs and find some worms, or grubs, or leeches. Stick the hook through the invertebrate. Let the jig/bait rest on the bottom of a likely looking place.
When I'm in doubt, I am most comfortable using a 1/16 ounce jig, with a 3" or 4" white Powerbait grub.
Reel it straight in, or cast it so that it sinks right alongside the structure that you are fishing. Then just lift your rod tip up a few inches, and then let it sink back to the bottom. Do this several times, then move to the next spot.
I've caught 4" bluegills and 40" (about 13 pounds) muskies doing this.