Outfitting Your First Tackle Box









Outfitting a tackle box can seem challenging, especially when you are in the sporting goods store with thousands of potential items to include. Understanding what kind of fishing you want to do and the species of fish you will target helps determine the type of tackle box you need and what will go inside. For example, using live bait for catfish requires sinkers, swivels, hooks and bait jars, while largemouth bass fishing needs crank baits, soft plastics and other artificial lures. With a little forethought and planning, you can have your tackle box properly set up for your next fishing trip.

Selecting a Tackle Box

Select a tackle box that is large enough to hold the amount of tackle you need, with about 20 percent more room to spare. Examine the tackle box trays for wells and racks that can hold the type of tackle you use, from small swivels to large spools of fishing line. Consider purchasing a tackle box that is expandable, with add-on trays to increase and vary the storage space.

Purchase a good supply of basic tackle if you are building an all-around freshwater tackle box. A range of utility tackle such as sinkers, swivels, beads,
bobbers, hooks and other items will help you be prepared for any fishing trip. Select tackle that works for the size of fish species you want to catch.

Divide your tackle by type. Place utility tackle in one drawer, and soft plastics such as worms and grubs in another. Jigs, hard baits, flies, spinner baits and
other artificial lures should each have their own compartments.

Make space in your tackle box for other non-tackle items. Include nail clippers, pliers, surgical clamps, knives and other such gear that come in handy at one
time or another while fishing. A first aid kit and sunscreen are also useful.

Tackle: Buying the Basics

• Hooks (sizes 10, 12, or 14 for panfish; 6 or 8 for bass and catfish)
• Sinkers (in various weights)
• Bobbers (usually the smaller the better)

Thinking about buying your own tackle? If so, you have two choices: pay a little extra and shop at a fishing specialty store with the help of professionals, or save a few bucks and go it alone at discount department stores or through fishing tackle websites.

Fishing line comes in pound-test. The pound test refers to the amount of force it takes to break the line. The larger the line size, the stronger it is. Six pound test line is more flexible and casts easier, but is not as strong as 12 pound test line. Match your fishing line to your rod and reel capacity and the species of fish you want to catch. Six pound test line is best suited for most fishing.

Next, you will need hooks, sinkers (weights), and bobbers (floats). Hooks and sinkers can be purchased in variety packs that include many sizes and styles. Sinkers are weights used to cast your bait, take bait to the bottom, hold bait in place, or keep your bobber upright. When purchasing bobbers, keep in mind that smaller tends to be better. The amount of resistance a fish feels on the line when taking a bait is directly related to the size of the bobber.

More experienced anglers may enjoy trying to catch fish on artificial lures. Smaller baits are attractive to more kinds and sizes of fish, so choose lures in the 1/8 to 1/4 ounce size range. Also, choose colors that mimic what the bait is supposed to imitate. For example, if the lure is a minnow imitation, either silver or gold would be a good color choice.