Updated: Apr 21, 2020
When you are first making that leap into a new hobby it can quickly become intimidating and overwhelming to the point that it makes you hesitates longer to start. This is at least how I felt when I first started fishing. I did do some research about the different rod types and what might be good for what I was fishing at the time. It was hard to wade through the mess differing opinions and find what I felt I needed.
Looking back I feel like there are seven major items that I should have had with me when I took to the water to fish. These are common tackle items that I have found myself frequently using or turning to while I am out on the water or in a bind on the bank.
These are in no order of importance. Feel free to take these and make your own personal adjustments on it to fit your own fishing situation.
Fishing in California and later in Idaho has given me my own fair share of sun burns. Some worse than others. If you are just beginning at fishing you will get burned just due to the amount of time you will be out in the sun. I learned real quick that I need to keep something on me or wear something that will prevent me from getting burned.
I currently work in a dermatology office and I see first hand what chronic sun damage can do to someone’s skin. This helped motivate me to be a little more diligent and proactive when it came to protecting my skin from the sun.
Ill just give the very basic of information on sunscreen and tell you what I use on the water that I wished I used when I first started.
Sunscreen comes in different forms and ratings. There are two main types of sunscreen. Chemical barriers, a mixture of chemicals that break down when exposed to UV radiation, and physical barriers. A physical ingredient that reflects the uv radiation and light. These physical barriers are commonly zinc oxide and Titanium dioxide.
SPF is the rating for sunscreens and helps you know how effective they are at protecting you from UV radiation. Anything with SPF 30 and up should work fine. SPF 30 is able to protect you from the majority of harmful UV radiation.
My choice is a physical barrier sunscreen. Chemical barriers work just fine but I find myself reapplying sunscreen more often when I use the chemical barriers
This is a physical barrier sunscreen.
With using sunscreen I also use sun shirts. These are nice because I can just wear these instead of taking the time to apply sunscreen. I recently bought a neck gator as well that I pull up around my face to protect my face from the reflection on the water. I am one of those superstitious types and feel that if I use sunscreen it will stay on my hands and get all over my lure and line when I cast. Therefore putting the fish off to the lure.
Pick what you like and find more comfortable when you are out fishing.
If you have done any research into fishing or watched any fishing videos online you may have noticed fairly quickly that these anglers are wearing polarized sunglasses. There are a couple reasons why most anglers invest a pretty penny into a good pair of polarized sunglasses
The first being that they are good for protecting your eyes while spending hours on the water during a sunny summer day. Take care of your eyes because you will not regret it in the future
The second reason being that the polarization allows you to see into the water a little better than if you were to look at the water with any other types of sunglasses or your naked eye. This gives you an advantage while fishing by allowing you to see the fishes behavior to your lure or bait making it possible for you to make adjustments to possibly hook them up.
Cheap polarized sunglasses can be found anywhere. I got a prescription pair but before that I used ones from online that were not dirt cheap but certainly cheaper than the popular ones.
Cheap Sharp Knife
A good reliable knife can sometimes make or break a fishing trip. I have a cheap but very sharp knife made by Mora knives. It can take a beating, holds and edge well, and can sit on my hip comfortably making it easy to grab in a pinch.
I use the knife to cut line when adding a leader, to cutting the gills to bleed the fish, and then eventually gutting the fish. If your state or area allows you to carry knife do it and obviously follow the laws when it comes to carrying and using the knife. It is a tool not a toy and should be respected and used as such.
Needle Nose pliers that do not have a spring assist.
This is a must have tool when fishing. Needle nose pliers are used for everything from getting a hook out of a fishes mouth, to prepping your line when putting on a hook. I use it to crimp the barbs on the hooks if I want to make it easier for me to get the hook out of the fish. I really only do this if I am not keeping the fish.
A good thing to do is get a holster that allows you to keep the needle nose pliers in an easy accessible area so you could get to them quickly as well as not loose them, which happens to me more than I would like to admit.
The pliers that I like to use are small and they not have a spring assist to open up the pliers. And it helps when the pliers have a section to them that allows you to cut the line with after tying lures or hooks on. They are a multi-use item that you will find yourself using a lot when out on the water.
A small tackle bag
Traveling light and being able to pick up and go relatively quickly is something that I personally like to do. I feel being able to change spots quickly after a handful of casts has helped me find and hook up more fish.
The bag I carry is a waist bag that is able to hold three small tackle boxes with my different tackle items and lures. It has pockets on the side that I use to carry a water bottle or other items. This has helped me to stay organized, as long as I take to the time to keep things in their original place, and pick up and move if a spot is not producing like I would like.
Traveling light keeps your mind on finding fish and less on making sure you can keep an eye on all your stuff you decided bring with you that you are starting to admit that you may have not needed. Some planning ahead will help with this.
This is my bag I use. It is small and light enough allowing me to focus on the fishing and not having to worry about extra stuff.
Panther martins are my go to starting lure when I am trying to get a feel of the water and what the fish doing. Any spinner would be good but I have come to really like the panther martins. I admit though that it is an bias that I have. I know Panther martins can be expensive but do your own experimentation when it comes to what you like and what helps you understand what is going on in the area that you are fishing.
When you get any spinners make sure you mix up the selection. I always have at least a solid gold and solid silver one. I have had days where I throw a gold and switch to a silver after an hour of poor fishing with the gold and then after the switch I start to hook up fish.
Maybe it is the new lure that all of a sudden stirs the fish up and annoys them enough to go after it, or maybe it is just chance that some new fish with new taste moved into the area. Whatever it is, it helps to have a little variety and options to lean on when the fishing isn’t going as planned.
The Panther Martins are the two right ones and the first one on the left. Like was mentioned earlier though, spinners like the one in the middle can be just as productive.
Bait fishing tackle
If you get to the point where you have tried different spinners and other lures and you feel like you are ready to just pack up and head home don’t forget about the small tub of nightcrawlers that you bought before going out.
The tackle for bait fishing that works with my system, traveling light, is a package of multiple varieties of split shot, and at least a size six or eight bait hooks.
I am not a huge fan of bait fishing just due to the lack of patience that I have for it. My mind starts to play the “what if game” and my eyes start to play tricks on my mind. I start to think that maybe the pull I just saw on the line was a hit and could never have been the slight breeze that I just felt. It’s a mind game for me that I dread playing unless really have to.
Nevertheless, it can be hard to argue with the results of smart bait fishing if you get on a good spot. This is a tried and true method of fishing and has turned an almost skunked day into a fun and full cooler day.
When taking the dive into the world of bank fishing for the first time, it can be intimidating to try and figure out what is needed and what may not be as needed on the water. Looking back I feel that these seven items are a must have due to the how often I find myself using them. As you adopt these seven items and work them into your fishing system you will find that the fishing you are doing is improving, your knowledge will increase, thereby making the experience more memorable. So good luck and tight lines.