Need It or Want It?

Nitro Z-8

Wanting an item of fishing tackle isn’t the same as needing it. Knowing the difference can make you a better angler. By Dean Travis Clarke Let’s call it like it is: All types of fishing tackle, especially lures, are designed to catch fishermen first! A fish neither knows nor cares what kind of tackle you have in your hand. With that said, there are solid ways to determine what you actually need — not what you want — to fish productively and enjoyably. I won’t presume to tell expert anglers what they should and should not have in the way of tackle. Rather, I’ll provide less experienced anglers and newbies an overview of commonsense fishing equipment inventories and what is not necessary. Buying fishing tackle should be undertaken in the same manner you would purchase a boat. Assess your reallife needs and find what will fill those. Just as you don’t need a 50-foot muscle boat if you plan to take your family out for weekends of cruising, picnicking and tubing, you don’t need a 50-pound rod and reel and a flying gaff to bottomfish for bass. Start with exactly what you plan to fish for, and then match your tackle to the application.


As with any other pastime about which people become passionate (or fanatical), you can spend a fortune on the latest advanced-technology tackle. You don’t need it. The more advanced stuff sometimes isn’t as sturdy or durable as older, low-tech stuff. Until you learn to love fishing, I suggest you get a sturdy fiberglass rod. Simple dings and chips can cause rods made of graphite and other materials to break. Spinning rods work well if you prefer to cast to fish rather than troll. Your tackle shop can help you to match the rod to the reel.


Ever wonder how people can catch a 200-pound fish on 30-pound-test fishing line? The same way a person can use the brake pedal and stop an 8,000-pound SUV traveling at 70 mph. A fishing reel has an adjustable disc brake inside it that allows line to leave the reel slowly while still putting pressure on the fish. A smooth drag, whether on a trolling or spinning reel, constitutes the most important feature. Your tackle shop will be more than happy to put all that monofilament line on your reel for you. Take advantage of this service, as spooling up is a reel pain in the Paducah. So, you don’t need an electric reel spooler. If you plan to fish for food rather than sport, get yourself a slightly heftier rod and reel, perhaps in the 30-pound class. That should suffi ce for about anything you might catch, except the truly big ones. You don’t want to deal with them anyway. Don’t bother with the most expensive reels right now. Nobody will be impressed.


Monofilament line stretches and rarely tests at the strength printed on the box. It’s best for trolling offshore. Braided line doesn’t stretch and is best for bottom fishing and fishing around structures. It doesn’t abrade as easily as mono, and when you set the hook, the pressure on the fish is instantaneous. If you fish for sport, lighter line will offer a greater challenge. Food fishing calls for heavier stuff. Don’t mess around. A professor at MIT tested many monofilament and fluorocarbon lines and determined that the underwater visibility of more expensive fluorocarbon closely matches that of mono. However, fluorocarbon line is harder and resists abrasion far better, making it a very good leader material.


At the outset, you needn’t purchase an expensive scanning sonar or a huge depth sounder. An inexpensive combination depth sounder with CHIRP technology and a GPS chart plotter will more than suffice. Talk to your electronics dealer about what power output it should have based on the depth of water where you fi sh. For the time being, consider electric reels, down riggers and underwater sound systems blasting bait-school sounds into the sea unnecessary.


Any fisherman can go crazy when surrounded by tons of cool fishing accessories. A fisherman in a big tackle store becomes impulse-buy royalty. A few tips that can be very helpful include:

-Get a ROD Belt. It will protect your abdomen from getting bruised while fighting a fish. –
-Have a Gaff or Net. Make sure the handle is long enough to reach a foot or so into the water according to the height of your boat’s gunwales
-You Don’t Need Expensive lures and teasers (hookless lures to attract fish). After a lifetime of fishing all over the world, I have come to the conclusion that if a fish is feeding, it will strike anything that crosses its path. If it is not feeding, no color, size, shape or composition of any lure, or even natural bait, will cause that fish to strike. A few of the most popular colors and sizes for your fishing area and intended target fish will be plenty to get started. Your local tackle shop will be happy to help you gear up.


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