You can spend as much or as little as you want-and still catch plenty of fish. My gear consists of shimano 2500 series spinning reels paired with all star 6.5 medium rods. Reels like sedonas or sonoras are high quality and med. priced. rods in the 49-69 dollar range work great and can catch any thing that swims in the tx. bays.Now for the kicker ,get some 15 lb. power probraid and you are ready for the salt,i use 40 lb.big game as a leader-go getem!