The Ideal Beginner’s Lure Fishing Set-Up

Let’s break down each part of a lure fishing set up and will explain why we recommend the lure fishing set ups we do. You may already know most of this, so more advanced tips will be further down the page for those that need them. If there’s one thing a beginner must remember, it’s that you need to make sure you get the right size reel for the rod, and put the right strength line on that reel! Then, all you need to do is use lures that weigh under the rods maximum casting weight and you’re set! Boom. We’re fishing…

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Beginners Lure Rod

Look for a rod between 8-9ft, that casts up to about 40-60g. I’ll show a few examples…

Imax Dam Salt-X – from Veals
Penn Squadron III Labrax – from Veals or Amazon
Daiwa Ninja – from Veals
Nomura Kuro Revenge – from Veals
Abu Garcia Devil – from Amazon
Shimano Catana – on Veals

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The Abu Garcia Devil Spin with the Daiwa Crossfire, loaded with braid.
beginners lure rod and reel
Shimano FX rod and Shimano FX reel – the best budget rod and reel combo I’ve found for using modern single lures
beginners rod and reel combo
Imax Dam Salt-X with the Shimano Catana 3000 (also on Veals) – at this price kit starts to feel luxurious compared to mainstream sea fishing kit
beginners lure fishing kit
Shimano Bassterra 9ft with the Shimano Sedona 4000 – getting serious

To really maximise your lure fishing experience balanced kit is a must. Your rod, reel, line and lure must all work well together. If they don’t, when you cast your lures will plop at your feet, your line will tangle, your rod will snap or your reel will pack it in. It’s rather frustrating and is a common part of the fishing journey that most of us have gone through.

On the side of the fishing rod near the handle there is writing that tells you what the casting weight of the rod is. This is what the manufacturers say the rod can handle. If you tie on a 50g casting jig on a rod that says 7-30g, the rod will probably snap. If you tie on a toby spoon that weighs 7g on a rod rated 40g, it won’t cast far because spinners that are closer to the rods maximum casting weight will fly much further.

tail walk rod
This rod casts only up to 20g, making it an unlikely choice for a beginner that wants to be able to use a range of lures. It’s part of the Tailwalk range of Japanese lure rods.

A rod rated to 40-60g will allow you to use pretty much all the popular bass lures out there, as well as the cheaper staples – dexter wedges, toby spoons and casting jigs.

This rod will cover most of your lure fishing needs from bass fishing in surf, to mackerel fishing from a harbour. A rod that can cast up to 40-60g provides a bit of grunt to the rod, so will be able to handle most UK fish. Rods lighter than this are prone to snapping because you really have to choose the lures you use carefully. It’s better to learn with a slightly more powerful rod. This is still a light rod by British sea fishing standards, casting 2oz or less as a maximum. A 9ft rod will help punching out lures in rougher conditions. This rod will give you plenty of power when pulling wrasse away from snags and will allow you to cast plugs, soft plastics and metal jigs and spinners beautifully.

Beginner Spinning Set-Up
Penn Squadron Labrax & Penn Fierce 3000 combo

Beginners Spinning Reel (size 3000-4000)

The standard size for a spinning reel for all-round lure fishing is 4000. A reel of this size will pair well with a rod of about 9ft. If the rod has a narrow blank, like a Japanese lure rod, Daiwa and Shimano are better choices than Penn. The Penn reels have a more rugged and heavier body. For the rods we listed above, we recommend a 3000-size reel. This seems quite small to most British sea fishermen, but it can easily handle anything you throw at it. A 4000 reel will work, but depending on the brand might be a bit unbalanced with the rods above.

Stick to the main brands for reliability – Shimano, Daiwa and Penn. Some of the online-only brands promise the world, and sadly fall short. The really budget fishing reels will struggle with braided line, creating more tangles and wind knots. Maximise fishing time by spending at least £40. We recommend against buying something for £25 on Amazon unless it’s the Shimano FX or Sweepfire. Otherwise, it’s probably going to last you a few sessions and then pack it in!

Daiwa Crossfire – Check it out on Veals or Amazon
Shimano Catana – View on Veals and Amazon
Daiwa 20 Legalis – This is more of a luxury option – available at Veals and Amazon

lure fishing set up braided line- Berkley whiplash
Major Craft Ceana & Daiwa Legalis 3000 with Berkley Whiplash 23lb Braid – proper nice kit this

Should you use braid or mono?

25lb Braid with a 20lb Fluorocarbon Leader.

If you are willing to learn how to tie together two pieces of line into a strong knot, then you should use braid in pretty much all situations. You want braid of 20-25lb breaking strain, and some 20lb flourocarbon for your leader, which is a 1m section of line that is tied to the end of your braid mainline.

To maximise sensitivity braided line is crucial, as regular monofilament lines (the see-through stuff) stretches. This means you don’t feel when fish bite as much. With braid you can feel every little knock and tap – it’s a game changer. It also casts significantly further even at a much higher breaking strain. When buying braid we recommend avoiding the cheapest braid because it’s worse than regular mono.

Daiwa J-Braid – Check it out on Veals (300m spool) or Amazon
Berkley Sick with Fluorocarbon Leader – View on Veals or Amazon
Fluorocarbon Leader Veals or Amazon

lure fishing from the rocks with ugly stick
Penn Pursuit 4000 pairs with the Ugly Stik 2.1m – good those that want something rugged, cheap & cheerful

What Lures do I need?

There are almost an infinite number of different lures out there. If you look inside an angler’s box you’ll likely see packets and packets of the things, but if you ask them what they are missing, they’ll have 5 items immediately slip off the tongue.

A handful of lures can cover you in most situations, especially if you choose wisely.

Fish will sometimes have a preference for a certain lure and presentation, sometimes there’s a pattern to this behaviour, and sometimes you’re left scratching your head. It’s best just to go out there, and just mix it up a bit. If you’re not catching on one lure, switch it up, use a different type or colour.

We’ve got a full guides on lures for each species.

A quick note on Lure Colour

Selection of lures

The general rule is to ‘match the hatch’ – basically try to imitate their food. For example, a lure with a green top, and a white bottom would imitate a Sandeel. But sometimes a completely radical approach works. I’ve fished before where I had no takes on a ‘natural’ baitfish imitation, I then switched to a baby pink and glowing green lure and started getting take. Sometimes the fish want something different. Trying different lures is key.

With that in mind, Lures can be split into three different types or categories. its good to have at least one lure from each category, and a bit of variation in colour.

lure

Soft Plastics

Soft plastic lures particularly useful in situations when casting distance isn’t key, or you’re fishing rough ground with slower retrievals. They are useful when you want to slow down the speed a lure sinks through the water so you can linger in areas for longer without snagging up.

Bass Fishing with soft plastics has really kicked off over the last 10 years. When fished weedless (the hook is hidden) it has the advantage of putting your lure in ground deemed too rough for other lures. The most popular Bass lure is the Fish Minnow. It’s a weedless Lure, with a weighted head, meaning you can cast a good distance and fish some pretty gnarly ground, with less risk of snagging up and losing your lure. Another good option is a weedless weightless lure, such as the Gravity Sticks. This is for when you want to fish slowly through really rough ground. A very successful method on it’s day.

Pre-rigged soft plastics are the best for beginners:

Fiiish Black Minnow – The go-to lure for a lot of anglers – view on Veals or Amazon
Minnow copies – Not as good as the real thing, but more value price – view on Veals or Amazon
Savage Gear Sandeel Weedless – A weedless version of a classic lure – View on Veals or Amazon

A weedless weightless soft lure allows you to fish extremely shallow, rough ground, slowly:

Savage Gear Gravity Sticks – available on Veals or Amazon

spinners

Spinners

Best for when distance is crucial, helping to cover a lot of ground very quickly.

These are perfect for Mackerel, but can be used for Bass and Pollock. On the cheaper end, you have dexter wedges. They are more of a Mackerel Lure, but you can still catch Bass on these. On the other end of the spectrum, you get slow jigs and Pencil lures. They tend to have better success rate with bass, and generally do a better job of imitating bait fish. We recommend getting some dexter wedges, and one Pencil or Slow Jig. These metal lures cast MILES.

Dexter Wedges – A classic for Mackerel – View on Veals or Amazon
Slow jig – Expensive, but can be a killer bass lure – View on Veals or Amazon
Savage Gear Sandeel Pencil – This casts like a bullet – View on Veals or Amazon

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Plugs

Best for when shallower rocky marks when the lure needs to stay at the top of the water column.

This is a very popular method to target Bass. There are two types: surface, and sub-surface lures. Surface lures for Bass is one of the most exciting forms of fishing, it’s definitely worth having at least one in your tackle box. Sub-surface lures can be great to punch into a wind, and they don’t need you to impart any action on the lure, just cast and wind. They can be very effective. Most plugs come with treble hooks. If you plan on releasing your fish, seriously consider switching the trebles out for single hooks. A single hook is very different to 3, and it makes unhooking way easier for you and the fish.

Most Popular Surface Lure:

Xorus Patchinko – The most popular surface lure – view on Veals or Amazon
Patchinko Imitation – view on Veals or Amazon

Most Popular Sub-surface Lure:

IMA Komomo – View on Veals or Amazon

lure fishing at night

Types of lure fishing in the UK:

What type of lure fishing are you going to be doing? If you are targeting perch, trout or mackerel and other smaller species, a lure rod that casts around 45g is a great choice for a beginner. You could go lighter, down to 10g if you wanted to, with no negative results but a rod like that is much easier to break if you use the wrong weight lures or lines with it. If you are targeting bass and pike, a rod that casts at least 30g and preferably 50g is useful when you’re starting out.

Check out our complete lure fishing guide.

Bass Fishing

Bass lure rods range from 7-11ft long, and have a max casting weight of about 42g. To learn more about Bass fishing we have pages covering the principles of Bass Fishing, specific Bass Lures, and Bass Rods

Check out our bass fishing guide

lure fishing rod and reel

Perch Fishing

Found right around the UK and Europe. Perch can be a great way to get fishing in the winter when the sea is too rough or blown out. These predators can be better targeted on a light lure set up, we have a guide on perch fishing that covers the tackle needed in more detail.

Check out our perch fishing guide

perch lure
Perch lures

Mackerel Fishing

Mackerel Fishing is how most people get into lure fishing, and it’s easy to see why. They’re fun to catch, and can be pretty plentiful on the UK shores. We have a separate more detailed guide on targeting mackerel.

Check out our mackerel fishing guide

mackerel fishing

LRF

LRF rods are some of the lightest lure rods you can get, with some rods having a max casting weight of just 3g! These rods provide a great way to target Mackerel in the summer, but they really excel when species hunting. It’s a great style of fishing, and you’ll generally never blank.

Useful Accessories:

Polarised Glasses: A surprising number of sunglasses are already polarised, so check you don’t already have a pair before you invest. They are so useful when fishing shallow water to see hidden features or gullies. You might even see a fish following your lure!

One last thing – how rods break

There’s a few ways rods can break. Either falling with your rod, or something called “high sticking”, this is when the angle between your line and the tip of your rod is less than 90 degrees. This is especially important when playing, or lifting a fish. When this angle is less than 90, it puts uneven load on the tip of the rod, which can causes the rod to snap. So be careful on the rocks, and keep that angle big!

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