Are you new to the sport and need help getting that first rod and reel? A veteran looking for tips on tackle before you throw down your money on gear? I'll do my best to provide a 101 on getting setup to target larger double digit catfish from the bank or piers. Most of my knowledge comes from saltwater, so I'll recommend mostly saltwater gear. Why? Well even the most expensive freshwater reel won't hold up to saltwater use, while the cheapest saltwater gear will pull double duty just fine. You may not be able to find this at your local tackle store, but there are plenty available online, or at larger outdoors stores, like Bass Pro, Cablea's, Gander Mountain, Sportsman's Warehouse, ect. Rods: If you ask me it's better to spend your money on a nice rod than a cheapo rod and a $200 reel. You generally want a steady bend, a rod that will load well while casting 2-3 oz plus bait, and that has quality guides. Quality Fuji reel seats always help, but most reel seats will work, especially if your reel comes with a clamp. What length and rating should your rod be? It depends on your frame (height/weight), budget, desired distance, room to transport the rod (small car vs truck), and room to cast at your fishing spot. Next you need to decide if you want a casting or spinning rod. Spinning rods need the large gathering guide, the one closest to the reel. Though most can be used for spinning or conventional (baitcasting) reels, it's best to pick one based on the reel you're using as the rod is build differently, like the spine of the rod being on the top or bottom, relative to the guides, the larger and smaller guides, reel seats, ect. When you're looking at bigger fish and requiring distance, look at 8' rods and up. Shorter rods just generally don't have the power to sling your bait out. I prefer 9 foot and bigger, with 10' rods being a typical setup for me. 12' is about the max I would go, and only if you need great distance. Most rods will sling it fine, you just have to learn how, but an extra foot or two will give you a little more distance right off the bat, assuming you can handle the lenth. These are a few rods I recommend: Tsunami Airwave Tica UEHA Series Tica Dolphin Series Ocean Master The saltwater St. Croix, Lamiglas, ect, rods, but they're out of my budget. I don't like Ugly Stiks because they're so darn heavy. You'll be looking at 60-80 minimum to set up to the good graphite rods, but they're worth it, IMO. Reels: While I'd rather have a nicer rod, they're still very important. Proper cleaning and lubing will buy you some more distance as well, so take care of them. You need to make a few decisions first. Do you want spinning or conventional (baitcasting)? Let's tackle conventionals first, since there's more to them. You have another decision to make. Do you want a levelwind reel? The levelwind is the thing that you thread your line through that levels the line on the spool for you while you reel. If it fails during a fight, due to pressure, abuse, falling in the dirt, ect, your line will pile up until it hits the cage and you won't be able to reel anymore. The reels without levelwinds require you to level it yourself with your left thumb (assuming you have a right handed reel) while you reel. This quickly becomes habit and isn't a big deal unless you don't like change. Some levelwind reels can have it removed and later reinstalled if you change your mind. The choice is yours. You'll only find me using levelwinds on bass reels and lighter panfish rods at the ocean. Don't forget about the clickers. Most of these have them but the assembly can be removed if you want, or just don't use them. I love my clickers. Also remember you to size your line diameter and capacity to the reel. I like 240+ yards of 17 lb test (.0016") line. Thinner line will net you some more distance but I wouldn't go less than 15, and if you're in heavy cover you may need 25 or so. Recommendations: Abu Garcia Round Reels - They make too many to list. I wouldn't use less than a 6500 but that's my preference. All of the CT, C3, C4, ect, ect, ect, model numbers after the size number mean something to read up on them first. They're nice reels, and pretty, but not as beefy as some of the other reels I'll recommend. Daiwa Sealine-X 20SHA, 30SHA (SHV models as well, as well as the Sealine - SH series (SL0SH). Daiwa Saltist 20H, 30H Penn 525 Mag, 535 Mag Avet SX Spinning reels are generally regarded as easier to use, and they work great, while they don't have as much "oomph" to them as the conventionals, they're nice, especially for smaller to medium sized cats, and there's huge models available if you want them. Most of the distance guys use baitcasting over spinners but if you don't need huge numbers, they'll do the job too. Main things here are baitrunner features, line capacity, and drag. A bait runner is sort of like opening the bail without opening the bail. It lets line come off while the fish is taking it before you set the hook. Line capacity again should be 200 yards of a good 17 lb line or better, smaller if you're not in heavy cover or are after smaller cats. One thing baitcasting/conventionals have had on spinners for years is superior drags. They're much smoother and stronger, but in recent years spinning reels are getting better. This is only really important if you plan to tangle with bigger catfish, 25+ lbs, but it's nice to know. Recommended spinning reels: Daiwa Black Gold (BG) 20 Abu Garcia Cardinal 807i Penn Slammer 550 and up Penn SSg About any Shimano with the right line capacity And many others in the traditional size numbering of 50, 60, and occasionaly 65. Lastly let me end by saying buying this grade of tackle isn't nessecary to catch double digit fish and enjoy it! It's only meant as a gudie if you're looking at nice tackle to cast farther than most people on your lake/river can, and don't know what your options for solid gear is.