Cheap Sea Fishing Tackle

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I will approach  this as your first set of cheap sea fishing tackle as it is part of our guide on sea fishing for beginners and you want something that can be used for a range of applications. I would suggest the following gear for an all-round sea fishing set up that will provide you with hours of enjoyment as well as being the first step on the ladder.

Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through those links.

This type of gear (cheap sea fishing tackle) will work for harbour fishing, pier fishing and some rock, estuary and beach marks. There is no true one size fits all, you will have to compromise. Sea Fishing tackle is like any sporting equipment, the more role specific it becomes the less forgiving it is.

There are two common types of sea fishing reel used for sea angling, multiplier and fixed spool.

Fixed Spool Reels

Cheap Fixed spool Shore reelA fixed spool sea fishing reel has line wrapped around a spool which dose not rotate. An arm, known as the bail arm is driven by the winding handle which wraps the line onto the spool. The spool sits on a mechanism connected to the winding arm which oscillates the spool up and down, causing the line to cross its self, preventing the line wrapping under its self and tangling. To cast, the arm is moved and the line is free to leave the spool. To get the best casting efficiency the spool needs to be kept well loaded with line.

When you cast a fixed spool reel, the end gear / lure literally pulls the line off the spool. The better the line lay, the less resistance and the further the cast will go. Due to the nature of no moving parts a fixed spool reel  prevents big birds nests (see multipliers below), but is not the most efficient for very long casts… opinions do differ on this point.

Fixed spool reels have two forms of drag – front and rear. Drag adds resistance to the spool increasing / decreasing the force required to pull the line from the reel. It used when playing a fish. The preference of front and rear drag is yours. I would suggest for longer range casting a front drag is best as it needs to be wound tight to prevent the drag slipping during the casting action. I like rear drag sea fishing reels for lure / spinning set ups.

A mid sized fixed spool reel will set you up nicely. It will cope with heavy lure work, pier fishing rock marks and light beach casting.

It is very important to rinse your reels with fresh water after each and every sea fishing session. If storing your reel use desiccant or rice to completely dry the reel. It is well worth your while to get the reel serviced from a local tackle store or manufacturer after a seasons use.

£30 – £40 should buy you a nice reel which, if  looked after should last you a few good seasons.

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Multiplier Reels

Multiplier Fishng Reel

These sea fishing reels work in a very different way to the fixed spool system I just talked about. This time the spool is driven by the winding handle when reeling in and when prepared for a cast the spool is disengaged from the winding handle and almost floats on bearings.

When the rod is cast, the momentum of the end gear accelerates the spool. The end gear starts slowing very quickly in the cast, but this time the energy in the spool keeps feeding line of the spool, reducing drag. this allows for a very efficient cast, but creates its own problems!

  1. If you accelerate the spool and the end gear hits the sea water to quickly, coming to a sudden stop, the fishing reel will keep turning and the fishing line has nowhere to go, hence it creates loose loops on the spool which tangle – Birds Nest.
  2. your cast has to be timed perfectly to get everything working for you, but even then strong head winds and other factors will decelerate the end gear and if the spool is not stopped or slowed with the thumb, again a birds nest will happen in the line.

There are mechanisms to assist you. Some reels have magnets that are pulled toward the spool at high revolution speed causing gentle breaking on the reel. the other popular systems are small break pads that get pushed outwards by centripetal force against the reel housing, causing friction and allowing more control over the cast. Both of these features are adjustable, but do not make up for a well timed cast.

The other thing we have to consider is how we are going to get the line on the spool so it will not cut into its self and cause a catastrophic break. The line needs to be laid cross ways on the spool by either a level wind which moves the line across the spool, or your thumb. level winds do take energy from the cast and can prevent you getting a lot of purchase on the spool to prevent it moving during a cast.

There is a lot of money invested in this area of the sport, let Abu explain more about one of their superb shore casting reels.

I have owned a number of Abu Reels and they have lasted almost 20 years so far & still going strong!

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Fishing rod

There is no such thing as a standard fishing rod, they are designed for a specific role. There are rods that over lap in functionality and can be used for multiple uses.

A fishing rod consists of:

  • Tip section – the thinnest section
  • Butt section – the fattest end
  • Reel Seat – the securing machanism attaching the rod and reel
  • Rings – guides for the line

Some rods come in multiple section eg travel rods. Others are telescope and there are rods without eyes, where the line runs through the rod its self. The more eyes, generally, the better the rod, as the line pulls the rod into a nice curve and does not square it between eyes.

Rods are generally described by there action: fast, medium and slow, describing how quickly the rod will flex from curved back to straight.

The action is a function of the taper of the rod. A slow taper rod will be a similar thickness throughout it’s length, hence the rod gradually curves lower and lower along it’s length. This makes a rod for a beginner a little more forgiving and absorbs a lot of the energy and it allows you more margin of error. A fast taper will have a very fine tip compared to the butt section (the bottom end past the reel seat). This means the rod will be very responsive for indicating bites or working lures, but it will be less forgiving in the untrained hand.

A soft through action, meaning as it sounds a rod that flexes easily and gently without snapping back straight, taking the curve from the tip gradually down towards the butt would be a good option. A rod of this make up will not fight you back and will allow for initial mistakes in casting and playing fish. 10 to 13 foot would be about the right length for a general purpose set up. Shorter makes rock and pier fishing hard, longer makes it very ungainly and hard to use for the beginner, consider your size, where you will fish most and balance your needs.
You need to think what type of fishing you are going to do most often. A lighter casting weight will suite the pier / estuary angler, if casting distance is more important then consider a heavier casting weight. A casting weight of 1- 3 ozs is considered light 3 – 6 is moderate 4 – 8 is heavy. I would suggest you should be thinking light to moderate at this stage.

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Fishing line

You will hear a lot about braid and new hi-tech fishing lines which out fish standard mono filament. Don’t worry and stick to good old fashioned mono. It’s far more forgiving than many of the new lines on the market and until you become confident at what you are doing stick to the old favourite.

Lines that are hard for the fish to detect are important in clear still waters. The use of flurocarbon line should be considered in these situations. It only need to be used for the hook length of the rig, not your main line.

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Rigs and end gear

When you have decided on the location you are going to fish and your target species have a look around the site and other for species specific information on hook size and rig types. Hooks vary in size and strength ( I wrote this article about hook patterns)

You need to decide whether to float fish or ledger (fish the bottom), use multiple hook rigs or single hook rigs, beads, attractors, wishboom rigs… and on and on.

A word of advice is to remember KIS – Keep It Simple – the less tied onto your line as a beginner, the less there is to go wrong. I see so many people casting beautifully crafted rigs into the sea on the wrong conditions, only to retrieve a cats cradle of a mess once it has been cast in the water for a bit. Bad casting will tie rigs into knots!!

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If you have any questions about cheap sea fishing tackle or feel the information written on this article could be improved, please comment on this post.
Image thanks to Velo Steve