Once the ice melts and the weather picks up a little, it’s time for some spring fishing. Take a look at your fishing gear and take inventory before you leave that Gon’ Fishin’ sign. Hi, I’m Brian Sticka, and I’ve been a Fleet Farm fishing expert for 35 years. I know you’re itching to get back out there to catch some big panfish or walleye. Let me show you some of the gear I recommend you’ll need for the best early season fishing.

Fishing Rods

Finding a good fishing rod is key to having a successful fishing trip. There are plenty to choose from, but I have some recommendations for you. If you are looking for a quality rod for a good price, a Lakes N Rivers rod fits the bill. Lakes N Rivers has a wide range of excellent rods for all kinds of fishing. They have high flexibility for those ones that smack your lure. Take a look and you’ll find these poles are suitable for panfish, bass, musky, and walleye.

Lakes & Rivers fishing rod

Fishing Reels

You can’t fish with just a rod. Upgrade that fishing rod with one of the latest spinning reels. These Creed GT spinning reels and their 6-disk drag system give you a smooth release when you cast and reel them in. These reels use fat bail wire and steel ball bearings to make every turn of the handle smooth and easy.

Creed GT spinning reel

Rod & Reel Combos

If you’re not an expert fisherman, it can be difficult to know where to start when it comes to rods and reels. Sometimes it’s best to go with a reliable rod & reel combo. These combos are matched together for excellent performance on the water. This 13 Fishing Creed spinning combo is a great choice for the start of the season. Its reel has a large capacity to handle plenty of line so you can reel in those fighters without a snag.

Creed spinning combo

Fishing Shirts

Make sure to look good in those trophy photos with some slick fishing shirts. These HUK fishing shirts are ideal for long days of fishing. These shirts are designed with 50+ SPF material to block out UV rays for better protection against sunburns. They also offer flexibility to let you move as you need, especially when you have a fish on the line. These shirts make you feel cool in the summer heat and keep you dry in the rain. See which one is your favorite!

Huk fishing shirt


You have to throw something in the water to get those fish to bite. Try out your luck with some new lures. The Rapala jigging shadow rap is a great choice for your next lure. It’s lightweight for a slower drop rate, giving the fish more time to take the bait. This is a must-have for walleye fishermen. The exclusive Berkley Built Flicker Shad and Minnow Bodies are some other options for you to choose from that offer bright colors to attract those big trophy fish.

Rapala jigging crankbait

Tackle Bags & Trays

You need something to carry all those lures in. The Lakes N Rivers tackle bag is a great choice for when you’re fishing with lots of crankbaits with its eight large lure trays. You can also take a look at these Plano tackle trays that you can add to your tackle bag and stow them away to have more room for your baits, lures, and hooks.

Lakes N Rivers tackle bag

Fishing Net

When you need a little help bringing that fish onboard, a telescopic fishing net is great to have on deck. This EGO crappie net can extend to 3 feet for longer reach and has a 14’X18’ hoop, which gives you plenty of space for those big whoppers. This net is ideal for panfish large and small. Plus, it’s lightweight and easy to store in your boat for added convenience.

EGO fishing net

Boat Wax

With the cost of boats today we need to do what we can to keep them looking like new. Pick up some Meguiars boat wax and give it a shiny new look. This premium boat wax offers UV protection and gives your boat a richer, clearer color. It’s not just for looks either, after a good cleaning and waxing I can feel that the boat operates better in the water with less drag and goes faster.

Planer Boards

Having trouble keeping the line away from your boat? Planer boards are great for trolling. They’re great for having multiple lines in the water as you slowly cruise over that fishing hotspot. These Offshore planer boards are a must-have for inland lake and Great Lakes fishing, especially if you’re looking for that trophy walleye.

Off Shore planer board

These picks can help give you the edge on the lake this spring. Double check before you head out on the water this spring to make sure you’re prepared. If you’re looking for more Stick’s Picks, check out the rest of my tips and tricks at the Fleet Farm Almanac. Otherwise, you can find tons of fishing gear at our stores or by visiting us online at FleetFarm.com, all in one place.