First you need to figure out the level of fisherman you are. Are you a novice, someone that may go fishing once or twice a year and what type if equipment you are now using and do you understand how to use it. Next choice is the experienced fisherman, that would be to person that goes fishing several times a year and you know how to use your equipment well and have a well stocked tackle box. Next choice is expert. This fishermen has several types of fishing poles and reel and know how to use them all. He will pick out different types of equipment depending on the type of fishing he want to do that day.
Most of us do not fit in the expert class of fishermen. There is a large number of fishermen in the novice class. It is to this type of fishermen I hope to talk to today. When you go to the sporting good store looking to buy a new rod and reel I recommend you pick out an 8' salmon/steelhead rod with a medium action. Get the best rod you can afford. Don't go over board with the price but on the same hand don't buy the cheapest. Although, I have caught salmon on a $15.00 rod and reel and one of my favorite rods for trout was only $10.00 for rod and reel. The inexpensive salmon rod I steel have and use now and again.
Most of the time you will purchase a spinning rod and reel which is the easist to use and is used for every type of fishing you will do. Please be sure the rod and reel fit well together. Don't get a reel that is to small or to big for your rod. Generally they come as one unit. Hold them and purchase the one that feels good to you. Be careful not to pay attention to what someone else is telling you about the different outfits. Purchase the one that fits you well and is easy to operate.
Next, take the rod and reel home and rig it up and do and couple of practice cast in the yard and then load up the car or truck and go fishing. Remember this is a outing and I want you to enjoy yourself. It doesn't really matter if you catch a fish or not, although that is why we are there, at least you got out of the house and into the outdoors.