One day I just decided to buy a rod (after my daughter were pissing me off about going out fishing)... I had no idea of what to look for; and of course, when you are on the tackle shop...With all those possibilities and brands, types materials etc... the choice becomes overwhelming.
Specialized stores might have a salesman willing to help; but when you are taking over 10 minutes and have literally no idea on how and why to spend 200 bucks on a rod.... they trend to leave you alone and hunt of another customer....
Wall mart superstores type of place are even better experience.... there is nobody around. So chances of buying something completely wrong is high.... usually when you have no idea of what you are doing, you end up buying the cheapest thing you can find...
The right equipment depends largely on what you intend to do with it. ...but there is the issue, I had no idea.
So I started to investigate and stuff... and the info I found was more likely people trying to sell me a specific brand or the overwhelming info about specific types of rods and techniques... .so here I am telling you what to do.
If you look at the butt end of the rod, near the handle, you will see some specifications printed on the rod. These printed specifications usually tell you the length of the rod, the rod’s action, and the range of line and lure size they are designed to cast.. within those specifications, look for the following:
Buy a 6 to7 foot MEDIUM power rod.
Rods are rated by length, power, action, materials and type of reel. Medium power will cover a wide range of fish... is a medium; so it is in the middle.
Rod power is basically the rating it has to handle specific line test. The blank itself and guides are designed to a specific range of line width... which should be, at least in theory, in accordance with the species of fish you target. Medium is supposed to handle line between 8 and 17 pound test (or it's equivalent in mono filament width).. and also depending of the designer/brand lures weights around half ounce to one and a half or something like that....
Here is the funny part. Been an engineer I know that if the line says 12 pound test, it is supposed to hold 12 pounds of tension, which means it will not break with 12 pounds hanging on it vertically; but these lines should have some tolerance... (it will actually break on higher load as the manufactur3e will somehow cover his ass)... and, if a 12 pound fish is hooked to my line, it won't be applying 12 pounds of tension as the weight of the fish will not be applied at 100% to the line due to phisics.
...a 12 pound fish is big enough to brag about it.. specially when you are just getting into this.
From here, everything else is a matter of personal taste and to get the taste; and you must get your line wet and catch some fish in order to develop that taste.
About the length.. .think about the lever principle. The longer, the better (longer cast, more leverage etc) but there is a point where it becomes unpractical and plain and simple ridiculous... 6 to 7 should o it.
Buy a spinning rod
The spinning reel is the latest design as far as I know.. and it had to do with the evolution of the materials used to make the fishing line more than anything. By the time Dupont discovered nylon, and it became fishing line; it was so thick and hard that spinning tackle was not practical... eventually, with better manufacturing process, line became thin and the spinning reel was born.
Spinning tackle is easier to use.. and everybody will master it in less than 15 minutes... again, if you develop a taste for baitcasters is because you are not a newbie.
Buy new line.
Assuming you are like any other newbie in the world... you will be looking for a medium spinning combo (rod comes with a reel). Some of these are spooled with line ready to go; but YOU HAVE NO IDEA when it was spooled. Chances are, that line is not worth a dime.
Nylon is affected by light and trend to have memory... if the line is too old it will become off the spool like a slinky and that just sucks... plus, if it is rated for 10 pounds.. it won't hold 10 pounds because degradation. I've notice that combos nowday comes with no line.. but if you are buying an old model uglystick for example... you might be getting old nylon that won't perform.