Rods, reels...spinners,'s quite a list. Taking up a new sport can be a lot, but there is no need to be overwhelmed.

It all comes down to what you're fishing for and where you're casting. Have a look at our top picks for whatever suits you.

The tackle and equipment you'll need will vary depending on the location and timing of your fishing and of course your chosen technique.

A basic outfit of rod, reel and line, plus a few lures are all that's necessary for a novice to have a good chance of catching trout.

A wide brimmed hat is essential, along with quality sun screen, during the summer. Generally you can wade in shorts but lightweight trousers or waders are often used.


Spin fishing basics


The reel is the most important part of a spinning outfit and like most things in life, you get what you pay for. Buy the best you can afford. Reels are available in right or left-hand wind or ambidextrous models, whichever suits you. There's no point in paying for an ambidextrous model if you are going to use the handle on the same side all the time. A good rod should have trouble-free operation, be light but large enough to carry sufficient line, and not so big as to be cumbersome.


The rod should be from 1.80m to 2.40m long and as light at possible but with enough power to cast the weight of lure you will regularly use. The handle should be comfortable to hold and the reel fitting secure. Guides lined with a tough ceramic material are preferable to chromed wire ones as they won’t wear out or develop sharp edges to chafe the line. The price of rods varies according to the material it's made from. Glass is the cheapest, and boron the dearest with carbon fibre somewhere in between. The quality of reel fitting and guides also adds to the price. Again buy the best you can afford.


Use a nylon monofilament line of 3-4kg (about 8lb) breaking strain. Such a line should be capable of landing most fish in all but the most adverse conditions.


A small spool of nylon of slightly lower breaking strain than the main line is advisable. A short piece of this thinner line is connected to the main line by a swivel, which also prevents spinning lures from kinking the main line. The other end of the trace is tied directly to the lure. This prevents the loss of the main line when a lure becomes irretrievably snagged, as this weak link will break first.

Equipment for different techniques
  • Shore-based spin anglers should use a 6’6 or 7’ rod and good quality reel with 6 pound line. Small 7gram or 10gram lures such as cobras, Rapalas and tobys work most effectively.
  • Anglers who target lake trout use techniques such as jigging, lead lining, trolling and harling (shallow trolling).
  • For fly fishers, a six or seven weight fly rod with a weight forward or double taper line, nine foot leader and plenty of backing will be adequate for most fishing conditions. If you wish to target smaller waters, a five weight rod would be more appropriate as would an eight weight rod when targeting large rivers or lakes in winter. Salmon fishing requires specialised equipment.
  • Local sports shops and Fish & Game New Zealand offices provide detailed information on all fishing techniques.

Have a look at our videos for tips on landing your fish here, looking after your trout, and smoking your fish. 

For more information, please contact a regional Fish & Game office or the New Zealand Council on (04) 499 4767, or email