It is important to correctly set up a fishing rod and reel as this allows you to be able to target a large number of species. Once you have purchased a rod and reel online, at a local sporting goods store or a bait shop, it is not difficult to set it up. Getting the line on it and then preparing the pole for fishing take a minimum amount of time and effort.
Attach the reel to the fishing rod. On the handle end of the rod there will be a slot for the reel to fit into. Place the reel in this slot, and then turn the ring on the bottom half of the rod's handle to hold the reel securely in place.
Spool your fishing line onto the reel. This is best accomplished with the help of someone else. Thread the line though the eyes of the pole, and tie the line onto the bobber of the reel. Cut the line as close to the knot as possible without cutting the knot. Be sure that when you turn the handle of the reel that the line will wind around the bobber. Once you have the line tied, then have your companion place a screwdriver through the holes in the spool of fishing line so that the spool can turn as you turn the handle of the reel and wind the line onto the reel. When you have spooled the line within a quarter inch of the lip of the bobber, stop turning the handle and cut the line off the spool. It is better to have too much line than not enough since you can always remove line if needed.
Tie a leader onto the end of the fishing line. The leader allows you to change your bait quickly. It opens up so you can slide a hook, rubber worm, lure or any other bait onto it before snapping it securely shut. This makes it unnecessary to cut the line continually and tie a new lure or hook on every time you want to change bait.
Put a pair of large split shots onto the line about 18 inches above the leader. Split shots are needed when fishing with live bait such as night crawlers or earthworms. They add weight to the line and increase casting distance, and also serve to keep the bait somewhat stable in running water such as you would find in a river or stream. If you are going to be fishing using artificial lures such as spoons, spinnerbaits or buzzbaits, then sinkers will not be necessary.
Go to an open area and take a few practice casts. If you have put too much line on the reel, this is when you will find out. It will spill out when you cast and potentially tangle. If you have too much line on the reel, then remove some of the line, thread the line back through the eyes of the rod and reattach the leader and split shots.
Slip a hook or whatever bait you will be using onto the leader and close it. Make certain that the leader closed all the way or you risk losing the bait when you cast. Secure the loose hook to one of the eyes of the rod, and reel in until it is tight and cannot come loose. Your rod and reel are now ready for use.