Growing up by the ocean I was fortunate that fishing was an activity that was convenient to not only learn, but to enjoy. Something I lost touch with when military service, college and a new family came to absorb all of my time. As preppers it is an important skill to learn and the changes in equipment have been dramatic over the years. As much relaxation as sport, at least the way I do it, it was my one pastime that afforded me some quiet moments. Time to get back into it, not only as a form or relaxation but as a way to put stock in the freeze for the rainy days sure to come. With the exception of the fish-finder, the information is as applicable to a mountain lake as to the ocean or a river.
Anymore choosing the right gear can make all the difference between a successful (productive) fishing trip and simply drowning bait. But, with the assortment of equipment on the market, pinpointing what you need can be a tricky balancing affair.
What lures should you use? Do you need a specific reel? Do you have to buy special lines to catch certain fish? Indeed, the list of questions is endless, or is it? Well, not if you know how to avoid the wrong stuff.
Hopefully the following rundown of essential gear will make fishing super easy, whether you’re a seasoned fisherman or trying to learn the ropes of the game.
It doesn’t get better than this, does it? Imagine having a device that allows you to track down your finned friends every time you head out for a fishing weekend. Yep, that’s right! A fish-finder, at its core, will detect the presence of fish in the underwater environs of your boat.
On top of that, it’ll measure the depth of the water, and convert the info into a graphic rendition before displaying it on a high-definition screen. That way, not only will it help you identify suitable targets, but it will also allow you to guide your bait more intelligently.
All fish-finders are not the same though. As this Focus Fishings’ Garmin comparison explains, any model worth your attention must have a large display (5 inches or more) with stellar resolution. Further, it should have a back lit keypad so that you can use it at night. Of course, it has to be powerful enough to work in your projected fishing environment, and with your boat and its console.
Think of a fish-finder as the tool that will give you an edge time and time again.
Rod and Reel
Okay, some fishing enthusiasts may like to argue that you don’t need a rod and reel. Sure, but using the duo makes the entire experience smooth and easy. Even then, it is essential to note that there are specific rods and reels for every fishing style. You’re better off with a rod and reel combo that allows you to bait and lure fish that you are looking to catch. The old know-before-you-go adage. Be it fishing for rainbow trout and hooking a brown trout can be considers a bonus effect, like ocean fishing for sea bass and hooking a grouper or a yellow fin.
A medium action rod, with a line rating of 8 to 20 pounds is an excellent pick if you want to catch a variety of species found in rivers and lakes. A spinning reel (also known as “open face”) is ideal if you’re a first-time angler. Do your homework here as rods and reels can be inexpensive to beyond belief in costs. Most ocean fishing reels are north of $500 for a good one and can cost upwards of $8,000 for those used on professional charters looking for Marlin , Sword fish and Big Tuna. Expensive doesn’t always mean better for your needs, do your homework.
Lines, just like reels and rods come in a collection of diameters and materials. Large-diameter lines are relatively stronger in comparison to their smaller counterparts. Choose fluorocarbon lines, especially if you go fishing frequently. These are robust, thin and abrasion resistant. And the beauty of it is that they’re almost invisible underwater.
Keep in mind that the idea is to use equipment that’ll increase your chance of catching fish as soon as possible
Tip – Learn how to tie knots before you go for fishing. The last thing that you want to do is to forget how to re-tie a hook to your line when a fish is biting. Some basic knots to master to include the uni, Palomar and clinch knots. I for one tie about a dozen of them the night before any trip in the comfort of my home and keep them in my clean tackle box. Once I burn through that many I start to consider calling it a day.
Tackles come in the form of hooks, floats, and weights and anything else you can squeeze in the box, like scissors, knives, hook removers, leaders, spinners, lures, lunch, beer can opener, beer can, and bait.
These help ensure that your bait stays underwater while providing a more casting distance. Consider split-shot weights if you’re a beginner. Besides, these are affordable (because you will surly lose some) and super easy to install.
There’s a lot to say about hooks, but for now, be sure and pick the snelled type. Why? Well, because these come with a pre-tied leader that you can quickly attach to a swivel snap. Also, ensure that your hooks are sharp and well-made. I for one do this by ALWAYS poking myself with one. I don’t recommend the method but I seem to be incapable of avoiding it, a price I’ll pay in the hopes of something fresh and pan fried later as a reward.
Often referred to as strike indicators or bobbers, these help keep your bait at a reasonable distance underwater and provide a visual indication that a fish is close to being on your hook. Floats are perfect for freshwater fishing in lakes or pockets of still water in flowing rivers. They are a big aid in bringing the “relaxation” into fishing.
You must keep your gear organized – and that’s where a tackle bag/box comes in. Make sure that yours is big enough to accommodate everything. The grip has to be on point too, with contours for comfortable all-day carrying. Put differently: a tackle bag/box allows you to move from point A to B without overloading your hands. Now one can not talk about fishing tackle bags or boxes without paying homage to the age old tradition that it is considered bad luck to ever clean them. I myself practice an axiom to that rule where, if we are going in my vehicle, and you have followed this tradition to the point where flies are drawn to your equipment from the next county, your bad luck will hit before the day starts with you being left behind, smelly gear and all. I appreciate not getting cleaning fluids and oils on your gear, but when all your hooks have rusted together, well….
Fishing doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, it is an enjoyable pastime if you know how to do it correctly. Other than the gear listed above, you’ll also need to have live bait and lures. With everything in place, you’re now set for a successful day (or night) of fishing. So, go forth and put food on your table and in your freezer.