We have a number of buying guides written by our Fly, coarse and sea fishing experts:
Tackle preferences vary amongst anglers, and it’s often only after experiencing the actual fishing that the novice gains some knowledge of what gear he needs and a preference for the tackle he likes. Starting out, you rely to an extent on tackle dealers, other anglers, the press, and guides like this. My advice is to go easy when purchasing your first major angling items such as a rod and reel. Take the advice of dealers and experienced anglers, etc., and buy to your budget. You do need to buy gear that will give you a chance of experiencing the sport, but not necessarily expensive or state of the art tackle. But do look for reasonable quality because poor tackle will put you at a big disadvantage and any lack of success will effect your enthusiasm. Upgrading later on is less of a problem because of your experience and an improved skill level. As a general rule, the more you pay for tackle the better quality gear you buy; however, there are plenty of tackle bargains around, but it’s wise to stay away from really cheap because the cheapest combination outfits (rod and reel) are produced for the casual and holiday market and not for long term use.
A major consideration when choosing gear is the after sales service, so look for a reputable make rather than a supermarket cheapie. Seawater and Freshwater are hostile environments, and apart from corrosion and the general wear and tear imposed on tackle, accidents are always waiting to happen. Drop your precious rod or reel on stones or a concrete promenade and things will break; so apart from general toughness and durability of the gear you chose it’s a good idea to ensure that you have some spares back up, this is especially the case with reels.