Ponds, lakes, streams – all the bodies of water out there are ripe with a menu of the most prized catches possible. Even that trophy is just waiting for the ‘star’ fisherman to outsmart it.
But tackling the tackle is difficult. For the amateur or enthusiast just starting out, selecting the right tackle is not only important to outwit the prey, but also can be more than a bit confusing. Everyone knows the basics; but just as it is with ammo for the hunter, gear used for fishing is varied. From terminal tackle (leaders, swivels, sinkers, etc.), to fishing tackle specifically designed for a certain type of fishing, a complete assembly of tackle can be difficult to attain.
Commercial fishing, of course, has it’s own gear and essential items, but now that the weather is warm and the lakes are calling out to one and all, the recreational angler is the one we focus on.
The hook was used thousands of years ago and was just a long, thin piece of bone. The hook would be fixed with bait and, when swallowed, a tug on the line was all that was needed to nab dinner.
Seeing as that there are an enormous variety of fish, there are just as many hooks to choose from. Various sizes and every imaginable shape are manufactured, in a wide range of materials depending on the hook’s purpose. Fish hooks are made for all types of artificial or dead/live baits used in bait, fly, or even lure fishing.
Now comes the line. Once made of horse hair, lines are now made from nylon, polyethylene and other materials that offer strength, buoyancy and the ability to stretch under load. When purchasing line, length, material and weight need to be checked out! In addition to the hook and line, that heavy trophy may just require a landing net.
A sinker is used as a weight when angling to make the lure/bait sink faster or to increase cast distance. Coming in many shapes, sinkers may be made of lead. This is something to think about, seeing as that certain states have banned the use of lead sinkers because of the harm they could bring to those healthy ecosystems.
A fishing rod is an additional tool used with the hook, line and sinker. The length of fishing line attaches to the long, flexible rod or pole and basically hooks the fish. This is common knowledge. However, there are so many types of rods to choose from, it is best that the fisherman knows exactly what type of fishing they want to do before ever going shopping.
Rods have become very sophisticated in our day and age, fitted with line guides and a reel for line stowage. Manufactured in everything from fiberglass to carbon fiber to bamboo, the rods can be found in many lengths ranging from 24 inches up to 20 feet. The longer the rod, the greater the advantage when it comes to casting. Fly rods, spin and bait casting rods, ice rods, surf rods, trolling rods – the list goes on, representing any possible fishing the angler wants to try.
A spinning reel is basically a spool mounted on an axle and is used for deploying and then retrieving the line. Although reels are a traditional angler’s need, there are many reels offered for very specialized fishing.
There are a list of other items to aid the angler, but when it comes to choosing the bait this may just be the most important decision you make. Thankfully, fish are a lot like dogs when it comes to snacking – treats can come in all forms to entice them. Natural bait is usually best. Alive or dead, the most common bait includes; worms, leeches, salamanders and other insects. The earthworm is still the universal choice to nab the fresh water fish and the more lifelike, the better.
Above all, enjoy the challenges that fishing brings. And with a little luck, you may just outsmart that ‘king’ of the lake.