When you are looking to buy a fishing pole you need to first decide what type of rod you will need. There are many different types of fishing poles you can buy. Ask yourself some questions. Are you going deep sea fishing for marlin? Are you fishing in a creek for brook trout? Are you fishing for 10 feet long sturgeon in the American Falls Dam?
When do you fish most of the time? If the vast majority of your fishing is in a small creek for brook trout then you do not need a 9 foot bait caster designed for huge fish. At the same time if the vast majority of your fishing is for large sturgeon or huge salt water fish then you definitely do not want to purchase a small fishing rod designed for small creeks and ponds.
After you have narrowed down the type of fishing you will need and then decided on the best style of fishing pole to buy then you can consider some other factors. What type of fishing reel do you want. Do you need a bait caster, a spin cast reel or a spinning cast reel. A spin cast is a closed faced reel that is typically used by many people when they begin fishing. A closed faced spin casting reel keeps things simple. An opened faced spinning cast reel is by far the most common fishing reel for freshwater fishing and for good reason. The opened face reel is easy to learn and the open faced design allows for much more control. Usually people think of the closed faced reel as the simplest but in the long run most people find a spinning open faced fishing reel to be a lot simpler to fish with. Another type of reel to consider is the bait caster. The bait caster is generally used for large fish such as sturgeon or marlin. The bait caster reel will take a lot of practice to get used to using. The bait caster reel is not as easy to learn however if you are fishing for large fish then you will want to get a bait caster reel for your fishing pole.
There is also the rod and reel designed for fly fishing. If you are planning on fly fishing in Idaho for salmon then you will not want or need a bait caster reel
Instead of buying a fishing pole at a large department store consider using a locally owned and operated tackle store. The employees of these smaller fishing supply stores will be able to not only get you the correct rod and reel for your fishing needs but they will also be able to help train you in not only how to use your new gear but also where to use your new fishing gear. You will pay a little bit more than at a mass department store but what you will receive from the small tackle store is worth much more than the price you will pay.