What Do You Need For Bass Fishing: 7 Essentials

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So, are you planning to go bass fishing? And want to be sure you have everything needed? Here is a rundown of the main essentials you need, this can vary depending on where you are fishing and how experienced you are but it’s a good general guide, especially for beginners.

So, what do you need for Bass fishing? The short answer is;

  1. A good Spinning or Baitcasting rod
  2. A good reel with a number of ballbearings, good drag and gear ratio of 5:1+
  3. The right line (best to stick to monofilament, fluorocarbon, or braided line)
  4. The right baits and lures (Crank baits, Soft plastics, Top Water Baits or Spinner Baits). Always carry spares incase you lose them.
  5. Check the weather report (p.s. going early morning is usually the best for bites).
  6. Check if you need a license or pay a fee to fish?
  7. Take supplies (food, drink and the right clothes as per the weather, Rain Suits are always a good idea).


1. The Right Rod

First off, you want to think about whether you want to use a spinning or baitcasting rod. Sure, there are other types of rods too, but these are the most commonly used ones.

When it comes down to it, a spinning rod is going to be easier to use for beginners. So, if you are a beginner angler, you will want to use a spinning rod as opposed to a baitcasting rod.

On the other hand, if you are experienced and know how to handle yourself, a baitcasting rod is probably best. Baitcasters, while being more difficult to use, are more accurate for casting, plus they can cast further distances too.

Related: 6 great baitcasting combos for Beginners.

Action & Power

Now, before you choose a rod, you also want to consider 2 main things, these being the action and power of the rod. In terms of action, you do want to go with a medium-fast or fast action rod, which is true for most kinds of bass fishing. A fast action rod will allow you to engage in finesse fishing. A fast action rod moves only right near the tip, and thus makes the lure and line much more responsive to your movements.

It is ideal for jigging, top water fishing, and other such techniques often used for bass fishing. At the end of the day, a medium-fast or fast action rod is what you want to go with for bass fishing. It’s all about having a responsive rod. A fast action rod will work well for jerk baits, crank baits, spinner baits, and top water baits, all of which are ideal for bass fishing, both for large mouth and small mouth bass.

In terms of the rod power, which is defined by the amount of weight or pressure it actually takes to bend the rod, you want to go with a fairly high power rating. For one, a heavier fishing rod will allow you to perform a really fast hook set, which is often needed for bass, as they are skittish and quick, and therefore you need to be able to set the hook really fast.

A high power rod, anything over medium or medium-heavy, will also allow you to put a lot of pressure on the bass and really muscle it back. The power of the rod does also correlate to its strength.

The more power the rod has, the less likely it is to snap when you are fighting and angry bass. There is also the fact that when you use a heavier rod, you can also cast bigger baits at further distances. Therefore, in our opinion, when bass fishing, you want a fast action rod with a heavy power rating, ideally a baitcasting rod.

2. The Right Reel

Personally, we would go with a fishing reel that can be used in both saltwater and freshwater. Sure, most of the bass you go for will be in freshwater, but some do also reside in saltwater. Therefore, getting a reel that has been treated for saltwater and has sealed gears will serve you best for all situations.

Moreover, you do want a reel that has a good number of ball bearings, because the smoother the reel is, the further you can cast the bait, and the faster you can retrieve your catch. Once again, the ball bearings should be sealed. On that same note, one anti-reverse ball bearing in the handle is much needed too, as this will stop the handle from rotating in the opposite direction in the event that a bass tries to take off with your lure.

You also want the fishing reel in question to have a fairly high gear ratio. Here, anything over 5:1 should do fine. When bass fishing, seeing as they can be fighters, you do want to be able to reel them in fairly fast, but not too fast. As long as the reel in question can haul in between 20 and 30 inches of line per crank of the handle, you should be just fine.

You do also want the reel in question to have a good drag system. Now, this really all depends on the size of fish you are going for, and the fishing line weight you are using, but bass are pretty big, so generally speaking, the more pressure or weight the drag system can handle, the better off you will be.

3. Fishing Line

In terms of fishing line for bass fishing, you do also need to choose the right one. There are 3 main types of fishing line which are often used for bass fishing, each of which have certain benefits and drawbacks too. These types of fishing line include monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braided line. Let’s take a closer look at each of them real quick.


Monofilament line tends to be the least expensive of all lines, making it good for beginners and people on limited budgets. Knots can be tied in this type of line very easily, and it is also quite easy to cast. Monofilament line usually floats, which makes it a good option for top water fishing.

You do want to pay attention here, because monofilament line has some stretch to it. If you need a really fast hook set, such as with reaction baits, this can be a problem. However, a stretchy line is also one that is fairly durable and allows for some leeway.


Fluorocarbon line is another good type of fishing line to go with for bass fishing. One of the best parts about fluorocarbon line is that it is quite strong and has quite a bit of abrasion resistance, making it ideal for environments with lots of debris and obstacles.

If you are fishing for bass that are quite skittish, using this line is good because it is more or less invisible when submerged. Fluorocarbon line does sink, making it better for deeper fishing and for reaction baits. Fluorocarbon line does have a bit of stretch to it.


The other option that works well for some types of bass fishing is braided line. The best part about braided line is that it usually has absolutely no stretch, which makes it very sensitive to bites, and also allows for really fast hook sets.

Braided line is quite visible when submerged, but on the other hand, it is also quite strong and durable.

4. Baits & Lures

Finally, you will also need to use the right baits and lures for bass fishing. When it comes down to it, you absolutely need the right bass fishing lures, as this will decide whether or not they will actually bite. So, what are the best baits and lures to use for bass fishing?

Crank Baits

One of the favorites across the board for bass fishing is the crank bait. The crank bait creates a lot of water movement and works well for simple casting and retrieval.

You can find ones of all sizes, colors, and with all types of movement, which is good depending on the time of year and specific type of bass you are going for. The most important part to remember with crank baits is to try and make it move erratically.

Soft Plastics

Yes, bass are hungry fish and they love to eat, which makes soft plastic baits really good for bass fishing. Tubes, worms, grubs, and even little frogs will all work quite well here. Just make sure to choose soft plastics with the right colors for the fishing conditions of the day.

Top Water Baits

Poppers and frog baits that zip across the top of the water do also work quite well for bass fishing. Now, they may not produce as many strikes as crank baits or soft plastics, but it sure is exciting to see a bass strike a frog bait right at the surface of the water.


Spinner Baits

The other kind of bait that works really well for bass fishing is the spinner bait. These things move fast, they create a whole lot of water movement, light reflection, and some can even make noise too. The beauty about spinner baits is that they can be used for deep water and top water fishing.

We have covered a good guide on finding bass without a fish finder, you can check it out here.


As you can see, the gear needed for bass fishing is actually quite simple. We think that if you follow out tips, and make sure to have the right rod, reel, line, and lure, you should excel at catching tons of bass.

Jason Downs

I created Fishtackly to share my 30 years of fishing experience and knowledge with others with the aim to help, and hopefully get more people involved and educated in this fantastic hobby that I love.