How to Set Up a Fishing Rod for Lake Fishing- For Beginners

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Are you wondering how you can set up a fishing rod for lake fishing? If you are, you are in the right place. Lake fishing has become quite popular in recent times. For some people, it’s leisure, while some do it as a job. 

To catch your first fish, you will need to learn how to set up a fishing rod. Luckily, the procedure is relatively straightforward. You won’t even need any sophisticated gear or multiple uses of fishing equipment. Before I walk you through the steps, let’s first discuss the items you will require. 

Necessary Equipment 

If you have everything necessary, your fishing experience will be fun. Here’s what you will need:

A Fishing Rod and Reel

There are various types of fishing reels, and you will need to have both to catch some fish. The most common types include spincast reels, spinning reels, and baitcast reels. If you don’t own yet, you can buy online or from your local fishing store. 


There are different sizes of hooks, and you can choose several, depending on the type of fish you plan to catch. If you plan to catch small fish like trout, you can go for a hook ranging from size four to ten. Check this video to know how to set up a fishing rod to catch trout. If you plan to catch bigger fish, you can go for bigger hooks. The larger the hook, the more the potential to catch big fish.

Fishing Line 

In most cases, you will buy a fishing line alongside the reel and rod. However, if you already have a reel but don’t have a fishing line, you can buy one from your local store. Fishing lines are also available online. The reel manufacturer usually recommends the line one should use with their reel. Be sure to follow their recommendation. 


There are various types of baits, and they all get the job done. You can choose live baits such as worms and insects or artificial ones that you can purchase in your local fishing store. The best bait for you depends on your preference. However, the type of fish you plan to catch can also affect the type of bait you should use. 


Fishing Float

Buy yourself a strong floater that will ensure the bait and hook do not sink too deep into the lake water. Alternatively, you can choose bobbers. 


Finally, you will also need to carry some weights to hold onto the floaters/bobbers. Ensure that the weights are light enough such that they can hold onto the floaters and not pull them down into the water. 

Now that you know what you should carry let’s discuss how to set up the rod. The fishing rod can be set up differently. We will cover each of these setups. The right set up will depend on the current weather as well as the type of fish you plan to catch. 

Set-Up 1: Cast and Retrieve 

This set up requires you to cast recurrently and retrieve the lure each time you feel the hook has caught something. You can use this method to fish from the middle of the lake. 

  • Ensure that you have a floater or bobber if you are going to use this method. The floater will ensure your bait stays in the middle part of the lake. 
  •  Ensure that you have a swivel. It will stop the bobber from sliding to the lure, plus help decrease line twists, which are fairly common with spinning reels. 
  • You can use artificial or live bait for your lure. The type of bait you choose will depend on the type of fish you plan to catch. Learn the fish’s preference and go for bait that mimics the food it prefers. 

Set-Up 2: Suspended Float Setup 

Suspended float setup has become fairly common, and it is mostly used to catch fish located at the mid-section or top section of the lake. Here is how to go about it:

  • Use a floater or bobber to ensure your bait remains suspended either on top or mid-section. Without a floater, the bait will probably go too deep into the sea. Make sure to use a Neutral Buoyant Float. With it, you can adjust the depth of the float and speed depending on the quantity of water. The float helps you notice when the fish takes the bait. If the fish takes it (bait), the float will sink. 
  • Use a swivel to prevent line twists.
  • Check with the local legislation to ensure you use the right hooks. 
  • Use split shots on the line. 
  • Use artificial or live baits. I recommend using live baits. Worms and shrimps do an excellent job. They will increase your chances of attracting the fish you want to catch. Please note that there are some rules surrounding the use of live baits. Be sure to comply with the rules.            

Set-Up 3: Bottom Fishing 

As the name already suggests, this type of set up targets fish deep down in the lake. When the air is cold, most fish usually rest at the bottom of the lake. 

For example, during winter, the water and air at the top of the lake are cold. However, at the bottom of the lake, the water is a bit warm. That means that the fish will probably rest at the lake’s bottom than in the middle or top section.  That said, at a time like that, the best set up will be bottom fishing. With the bottom fishing set up, you can be sure to catch fish at the bottom of the sea, such as catfish and bass. Here’s how to go about it. 

  • Get a three-way swivel. This kind of swivel adds weight on the line to help it sink even deeper. 
  • Ensure that the weight size is not too much. It should be just enough to cast the line appropriately. It shouldn’t be too light, either. Be sure to do some tests on the weight before you go out fishing. 
  • Use a leader line measuring between eight and 12 inches to connect the hook and the three-way swivel. 
  • Check with the local legislation to get the type of hook you should go for. 
  • Depending on how it looks like deep down in the sea, choose artificial or live bait. Use floating bait if it is muddy down there. That way, the bait will not sink into the mud, making it hard for the fish to notice it. 

Handy Lake Fishing Tips You Should Know 

Now that you know how to set up the rod, it is vital to ensure you are safe while fishing. Accidents happen in the lake, but the damage will be less when you are well prepared to face them. That said, here are some tips you should know.

Bring extra gloves and clothes with you. That way, even if you accidentally fall into the water, you will be able to remain warm. The gloves will ensure you minimize the risk of cutting your hands should the other pair get punctured. Some types of fish may also hurt you if you handle them with bare hands. If you can find puncture-resistant gloves, go for them. 

Finally, you should ensure to carry a first aid kit in case of an injury. Injuries rarely happen while fishing, but it does not hurt being prepared. 

Final Thoughts 

Now that you have an idea on how to set up a fishing rod, you can head over to the nearest lake and catch some fish. Learn more about the fish you want to catch, and this will make it easier for you during fishing. You will be able to choose the right baits, reels, and fishing lines. Finally, do not forget to comply with your local fishing regulations. They are not meant to limit you but to preserve the wildlife and keep anglers safe.


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