As anglers, we are always looking for the latest and greatest, the next big thing in tackle, be it lures, line, electronics and rod technology. We get so wrapped up with what the next thing is, we often forget to include the basics in our tackle systems. Here is a look at 10 things all anglers should keep in their tackle bags. This, by no means is an final list. Go to our facebook page to add your unique tackle-bag must haves to the list!
1) Nail clippers
For Heaven’s Sake! Save your teeth. Nail clippers are essential equipment for every angler’s tackle bag. They are great for cutting all kinds of fishing line including braid. If you get a pair with a file, you also have an impromptu hook sharpener in a pinch. Put it on a lanyard and wear it around your neck or invest in one of those retractable pin clips and hang it off your belt loop. Many nail clippers have been designed for anglers and also include a pin push for clearing the eyes of jigheads that have been sealed with head paint.
2) Needle nose pliers
Needle nose pliers is indispensible equipment for every angler. They are usefull for a multitude of tasks from helping with any boat maintenance that needs to be done on the water to going deep into a toothy critter’s mouth to retrieve a lure or hook. They definitely have saved many a finger from turning into hamburger trying to get that favorite lure back.
3) Slime Rag
Whether you fish bonefish in the Bahamas or giant pike in Canada’s north, fish slime tends to get everywhere when you’re catching them fast and furious. As it dries, it smells and has the opportunity to ruin the clothes you wear, or the carpet in your boat. Keeping a slime rag, or a small towel in your tackle system will help protect your stuff. It’s also great to have if you get blood (yours or the fish) on your gel coat or aluminum boat. Dried blood can be near impossible to get off without a power washer. NOTE*** remember to wash your slime rag after each outing… DO NOT accidentally leave it in your bag for the next time you go out. Believe me, it won’t end well.
4) Portable fish finder
Technology is amazing today and fishing is not left behind as new and inventive gadgets are brought to market. Portable fish finders have hit the market and are excellent for backcountry adventures or that hike to an unfished lake. There exists battery powered portable fish finders that you can put in your pocket, will last 8-10 hours on a single charge and communicate to your smartphone or tables via Bluetooth. The technology is amazing for any angler who wants to see what’s below.
5)First aid kit
This might be the most important thing to have in your tackle bag. Quickly a great day of fishing can be cut short by a accident on the water. Cuts and nicks can be cleaned and dressed immediately, hooks can be removed from anglers without the inevitable trip to the hospital.
6) Measuring tape
The scenario, you have just landed the largest brook trout of your life and it’s so big you just might be able to qualify it as a live release world record! You’re super excited and reach into your bag to get the tape measure, but you forgot to include it. You release the fish without proper documentation. Conservation minded anglers can use a formula to accurately estimate weight of a fish using length and girth calculation. Bring your tape and get that fish back in the water fast and unharmed. Here is the formula: (Girth X Girth) X Length) / 800 = weight in pounds
Just like the measuring tape, documentation of a big or beautiful fish will remind you for years to come of a remarkable catch! Having a camera on hand and at the ready is a great way to preserve memories of, fish, friends scenery and wildlife. Note to keep a spare set of batteries with the camera as well – just in case!
8) Emergency fire starting kit.
This, along with the first aid kit could help, what could be a dire situation turn out alright. Either a storebought flint or a homemade denim with flint kit could literally save a life if something bad were to happen. At the least, put a stack of wooden matches in a waterproof vessel such as a film (what’s film?) canister or a small Tupperware.
As anglers, we tend to spend extended periods of time in the outdoors, which means, we are constantly exposed to the elements. In today’s environment, even on cloudy days, the uv damage of the sun can cause severe sun burns. Keeping a good high spf sunscreen in your bag will help keep the sun away. A reminder for those who use a hat to shade the sun; you can get an equally bad sunburn from the suns rays reflected up from both the surface of the water and the light or silver color of many boat interiors, especially aluminum. A surefire solution is to wear long sleeves, long pants, wide brimmed hat and sunscreen on all exposed skin – don’t forget the tops of your feet!
10) Energy Bar
Having a high calorie energy bar you can grab in a pinch will actually help you catch more fish! Fishing fatigue slows you down, you don’t cast as much, you lull around and lose focus. Keeping your energy up will allow you to fish longer, and ultimately catch more fish. It’s a nice treat when you’re getting increasingly hangry as the day goes on and suddenly remember you have an energy bar in your bag! Like finding a twenty dollar bill in your spring jacket you never knew was there.