-- Last Updated: Jul-30-11 12:38 PM EST --
...... my suggestion is to purchase a 6'-6" one piece rod that is IM6 graphite , has ultra-lite eye rings , Med.(medium) , fast action , 6-1/2" butt ...
Examples of rods like these that I can recomend are Berkley Lightning rods and Feild and Stream 1874 Sportsman rods ... there are other comparables . Rods like these perform excellent and are not expensive .
For reels my basic suggestion is to get one in the 2500 series size ... they hold 120/10 , 140/8 , 200/6 . An example would be Shimano Stradic 2500 FI . I personally use Shimano Stradic reels almost exclusively now , but they cost from 150. plus each ... you may not want to spend that on a reel , but I am willing to because everyone I've purchased is still working perfectly , many many years and hrs. use on them . Other less expensive reels have always bit the dust within a year or two but worked nice at first .
I prefer and use Berkley Trilene XL mono. line ... the XL means "extra limp" . I have 1-2 extra spools for each reel , and the extra spools are loaded with either lighter or heavier line so I can change up on the spot if desired . I will use Spider Wire braided line on some spools also in the 15 or 20 lb. test which has the diameters of 4-6 lb. mono. lines .
Lures and baits ... everything depends on "where" you are fishing , "what" you are fishing for , and "when" you are fishing for it (time/season of year , and even time of day) .
How to fish and catch fish ... ah , that is the real goal . That is best accomplished by limiting your efforts to one place at a time , learning all about that place , it's water depths , structures and cover ... mastering one type fish species in one place at a time . Know that place like no one else does ... then move on to learn another place .
My best advice to you is to keep it as simple as possible . What I'm saying here is this ... I may go out to do some Largemouth Bass fishing on a lake , the only thing that gets put on my line is a 7" purple plastic worm set up , that's it , that's all the lure I take (just that I have a bag full of them with me) ... another , I may go out into the river for Smallies , the only thing that gets put on my line is a Yum Crawbug & jig heads , or a Mepps #3 spinner , that's it , that's all I need to take for lures (but I'll have maybe 1/2 dozen Mepps and 25 Yums) . I've had days when the 25 Yums were not enough , all got destroyed and there where still more fish to be caught but nothing to catch them with , and also days when I really only needed a half doz. Yums .
I'll go to bay bridge with a dozen Bucktails and a half bag of white plastic worms for teasers , that's it , that's all I need , I may end up loosing as many as 6 of those to fish in one night .
You can take a ton of tackle , lures , baits , etc. along with you ... you can try this one , try that one , try em all ... but I'm saying to you don't do that , just take one or two things and master them , nothing else is needed .