Basic Fishing Tackle - What Supplies Are You Going To Need?

About to go fishing? You're going to need the right fishing tackle if you expect to catch lots of fish. But what sort of fishing tackle should you buy? This guide will tell you everything you need to know

If you've decided to take up fishing as a hobby or sport and get out into the fresh air and sunshine, you've made a good choice. Fishing can be very relaxing and it gets you away from the hustle, bustle and stress of daily life and makes you one with nature.

Like all other hobbies, sports and activities, there are a few basic things that you will need. The right fishing tackle will make your time spent fishing much more enjoyable...

Fishing tackle is equipment you use to get live or artificial bait into the water, dangling in front of the fish.

It's not necessary to have a lot of tackle if you are just taking up the sport of fishing, but you do need basic and proper tackle.

If you are a beginner, it's best to keep tackle to a minimum until you hone your skills. Then, and only then is the time to try more advanced tackle.

Rod and Reel

A rod and reel can be purchased at your local fishing store. It's best to buy a lightweight rod because they make it easier for you to tell when you have a bite.

Spinner reels are best for beginners.

Often, you can purchase a rod and reel as one unit. If you don't want to buy a rod and reel until you've tried the sport, borrow one from a family member or friend. An adult fishing rod should be approximately 6 feet long.

A rod for a child will be between 4 and 5 feet long.

Fishing Line

Fishing line, also called filament, comes in a wide range of sizes or strengths, which are called pound-test. The larger the pound-test, the stronger the fishing line.

For instance, eight pound-test is not as strong as ten pound-test.

The trick here is to match your line's pound-test to your rod and reel, the bait you plan to use and the species of fish that you're hoping to catch.

Small, lightweight rods that use spin-casting or spinning reels will use a line that is up to six pound-test. If you have a large spinning reel, be sure to use a strong pound-test line.

Bait casting reels use a heavier line that can run anywhere from six to thirty pound-test. However, eight to sixteen pound-test is the most popular size of fishing line.

Keep in mind that if your line is too heavy, you won't get as many bites or strikes because the fish can see the line. If you're a beginner or if you're using line for kids' rods, eight pound-test is recommended.

Fishing Net

A fishing net isn't an absolute necessity but they do come in handy when you're landing a fish. They're also useful for keeping kids busy when they tire of fishing.

They can catch frogs, minnows and tadpoles and discover a whole new world.


There are several different kinds of bait, both live and artificial.

Night crawlers, also known as earthworms, are great for beginners. Instead of buying a dozen, take a flashlight out into the yard after dark when there's dew on the grass and pick your own, or dig them out of your compost heap.

Place them in a plastic container that contains a bit of soil and store them in the refrigerator over night. Be sure to punch holes in the lid of the container and make sure the top is secure.

Other types of baits include mealworms, kernel corn, grubs and bread balls.


Bobbers are floats that you attach to your fishing line to dangle the bait in front of the fish.

They also give extra weight when casting. The bobber sits on the water surface and when it dips into the water, you know you have a bite.

Small is better. Use a bobber that has just enough weight to keep your bait from dragging it under the water.

The most sensitive bobbers are the pencil style. Round bobbers are less sensitive and therefore it's easier for you to tell if you have a bite using a pencil bobber.

However, round bobbers are the easiest to cast. Slip bobbers can be adjusted quickly and easily to allow you to fish at different depths and they're easy to cast.

They come in both pencil and round styles and are perfect for beginners and children.

Fish Hooks

Fish hooks come in a wide variety of sizes and styles. If you are planning to use live bait, it's best to buy a variety pack that includes hooks in sizes that range from No. 6 to No. 10.

If you are fishing for bullhead or catfish, you will need larger hooks. If you intent to catch and release, fish hook barbs can be flattened.

This gives you more of a challenge and inflicts less pain and injury on the fish. Flattening barbs reduce the amount of fish that die because of wounds or because they swallowed the hook.

A good rule of thumb to keep this from happening is to use hooks that are compatible with the size of the fish's mouth that you are hoping to catch. If the hook is too small, it is easily swallowed and if it's too large the fish won't take the bait.


Sinkers, or weights as they're sometimes called, come in a variety of sizes and are used to keep your line from floating on the water surface.

Split shot sinkers range in size from minute to about the size of the end of a lead pencil, and are the smallest type of weights.

Sinkers range from split shot to weights of a pound or more. The most popular and frequently used sinkers are split shot and they are the best weights for beginners and children.

When you purchase sinkers be sure they are lead free in order to protect the environment and wildlife species.

Fishing Leaders

Fishing leaders are fine pieces of metal with an eye on one end and a small easy to use pin catch on the other.

You open this pin to slip a hook or lure onto it. The fishing line is threaded through the eye and knotted. Leaders aren't necessary for beginners or children but are recommended for ease of changing hooks and lures.

Leaders are also used when fishing for game fish such as northern pike, muskellunge and walleye. The metal leaders stop these toothy fish from biting through your line.

Fishing Line Swivels

Instead of attaching leaders, hooks and lures to the fishing line, many anglers use a small device called a snap swivel.

There is an eye on one end and a pin clip on the other.

The fishing line is threaded through the eye and fastened securely with a fishing knot. The pin clip opens much the same as a safety pin and the hook, lure or leader is slipped onto it and the clip pin is closed.

Snap swivels protect your line from tangling as your bait moves and spins through the water. Snap swivels allow you to change bait or to change leaders quickly without cutting and re-tying your fishing line.

Fishing Knife

A fishing knife comes in handy if you have to cut snagged or tangled line. They are also used for scaling and cleaning fish. If kids are fishing, give them nail clippers to cut their line.

Needle Nose Pliers

These assist in removing the hook when the fish swallows it.

Fishing First Aid Kit

Pack some bandages, peroxide and anti-bacterial ointment in your tackle box to treat cuts and scrapes.

Fishing Tackle Box

A fishing tackle box is used for organizing and storing bobbers, hooks, line, lures, leaders and other small items you will need to have a successful fishing experience.

Boxes that open from the top and have two trays are great for beginners, children and casual anglers.

Tackle boxes often come with a small amount of tackle such as hooks, bobbers, sinkers and artificial worms.

Now that you have your rod, reel and tackle, you are ready to head out to the old fishing hole.

Find a nice shady spot on the bank of a creek, pond or stream or on the side of a lake and relax while you wait for that nibble or strike.

To read more about fishing and fishing tackle, click here to return to the Fishing Home Page

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