If you are going to fish LKN, MIL, LH, LW,LB or any of the lakes in the Yadkin and Catawba chain of lakes you do not necessarly need the big stuff. But, if you are going to fish lakes or rivers with heavy current, then my suggestions do not apply. For starters I would suggest that you look at the Abu Garcias (6,500 to 7,000 series), Quantum Irons (410 and 420 series), or other similar priced reels. The ugly stick in a medium to medium heavy rating is hard to beat. Same goes for the Catmaster rods with the same ratings. You can move up to Tiger Rods and later on when you are sure that you are going to stay with catfishing, move up to a custom rods and you can find those on the BOC under Sponsors. There are a multitude of fishing lines to choose from, red, green, yellow, blue, clear and so on. They are all good, some better than others. Over time you will find what you like and that is probably more important than what I would have to say about it! Hooks come in a vary of sizes, shape, color and functions. If you are going to drift, either by the wind or your trolling motor, I would suggest a circle hook in the size range of 6/0 to 10/0. If you like to anchor down and fish, then you can use J hooks or circle hooks of different sizes, such as, from as small as 2/0 to as large as an 11/0. Don't go spending a lot of money on a big tackle box, which most of us have done at one time or the other. Something large enough to hold your hooks, shock leader material, swivels, sinkers, pliers, knife, etc. would and will suffice. A lot of State records for Ark. Blues and Flatheads have been caught with the type of gear that I have suggested. If you will spend some time with your gear and understand how it functions you will be ready when your time comes for that trophy cat. There are some good catters that use spinning reels and rods for catfish. I have no major experience with them and this is why I have offered no suggestions about them. A decent rod and reel will cost you about $115 plus sales tax. Buying one ain't so bad, but four or six can add up! But, if you take care of it, it will last you a long time. I have some Abu's and Irons that are used at least 200 days a year and they are anywhere from 8 to 30 years old and still working like they were designed too. If you are not already a member of the BOC, I would suggest you join and then when you need some help or advice, just start your own thread and state your question and wait a minute or two and your brothers and sisters will offer their advice on the subject. There is a wealth of info. available in the BOC library and elsewhere on this board. Last, but not least, wear a life jacket if you are fishing by yourself or if you have a medical problem.