Broken down to its basic necessities, all you need to catch a bass is a line, a hook and a bait.
Normally people include rods and reels, but really I caught my first big bass with a rubber worm, hook and 50 feet of 20-pound monofilament line. I lassoed it around my head and flung it into a pond. The biggest bass of my childhood latched on, and I've never been the same since. I will say, however, the sport got a lot easier and efficient with my first rod and reel.
For the sake of argument, however, let's say all you need is a rod, reel, line, bait---artifical or alive--- and a hook. It's best to look at each individually. Here are four quick articles that break down the 4 pieces of fishing tackle necessary to begin bass fishing.
- A Guide to Bass Fishing Reels - a quick guide to the different types of reels, how they work and more.
- A Guide to Bass Fishing Rods - a quick reference article on rod terminology, combining with reels, etc.
- A Guide to Bass Fishing Line Types - Everything you need to know about fluoro, mono, braid and backing.
- A Guide to Bass Fishing Lures - from the differences from each type of lure to how to fish them and master them.
Once you've read those four pieces, you'll want to move on to how to rig your rods and lures, beginning with how to spool line on your reel.