There aren’t many things more exciting than preparing for your next fishing trip. If you’re like me, then you have forgotten some essential equipment at home during past trips. It can be very frustrating and cause issues for your trip that could have easily been prevented. I hope that this list can be a good reference or checklist for you in the future before you head out on the water.
Or maybe you’re new to bass fishing on the other hand. I remember those first few outings where I didn’t have a clue on what equipment I really needed. I wish I could have referenced a list like the one below. Boy would that have come in handy and saved me some frustration.
This list on bass fishing essentials applies whether you are fishing from the bank or boat. Let’s take a look at those essential items that you can’t leave home without.
If there is one item on this list that I am most apt to forget, it is sunglasses. They are, however, one of the most important items on this list. Sunglasses help to protect your eyes from harmful UV rays. They also help to cut down on glare coming off the water, which can be a real blessing on those bright, sunny days. Polarized sunglasses are the most popular types of sunglasses today for fishermen. The polarization of the sunglasses helps the angler to see under the surface of the water. This can be very beneficial in sight fishing situations for trout, bass, or redfish. Polarized sunglasses can be an expensive item for sure, but there are also plenty of affordable options to get you started. You may be surprised at the effectiveness of some of the bargain priced sunglasses available at the local sporting goods store .
Rod and Reel
The rod and reel seems like a no-brainer for some of you out there. Without a rod and reel there really won’t be any fishing done. But it can be overwhelming for beginners, and some seasoned anglers, when knowing what rod and reel to grab however. As a good point of reference, beginners may want to start with a nice spinning or spincast combo. Seasoned anglers may want to opt for a baitcast combo. The 6’6” to 7’0” medium action rods will be versatile enough for most applications. If you are chasing large saltwater fish, you may want to reconsider and go for a heavy action rod. There are also plenty of telescoping rod and reel combos out there if you need to maximize storage space. You can find quality rod and reel combos for around $75, so there are options that will not break the bank.
If you’ve not been on a trip for an extended period of time, you may want to think about replacing your fishing line. Over time, some types of fishing line will break down and can be a liability on the water. No one wants to have that personal best break off because of old, brittle line. The type of line you choose depends on the environment, water clarity, and fish you are after. A good all around line is 8-10 lb. Monofilament. It will handle most freshwater fish and is a very popular choice for bass fisherman. The options for fishing line can be as overwhelming as anything. If you are looking to learn more about the types of fishing line, check out our article.
Pliers are as essential as tackle in my opinion. That opinion has been formed through trips where the pliers proved the difference in releasing a fish alive or not. Fish will swallow the hook, and the pliers serve as the tool to remove the swallowed hook in an efficient way. As anglers, our goal should be to release fish ethically. Without pliers, that becomes a much more difficult job. Attempt to find a quality pair of pliers that is made of stainless steel. This will make sure that they will not rust over time. Especially if you are going to be around saltwater often. Many pairs now come with line cutters. The line cutters can be much more safe than trying to cut the line with a knife. Although that doesn’t mean a knife shouldn’t make the trip, as we will see on down the list.
How many times have you hung up your new lure that you just paid $10+ for? It will make you sick to your stomach. Now imagine it was an expensive swimbait. Yikes! That’s why we have included the lure retriever on the list of essentials. There are numerous tricks that have been circulated to help in recovering a hung lure, but those aren’t nearly as effective as a lure retriever. The lure retriever uses a weight or similar tool that attaches to the line. The weight then slides down the line and knocks the lure free of the snag. Most lure retrievers are small enough to fit among the lures in your tackle box, so it is a win-win. Don’t worry about spending too much on these either, as they are reasonably priced at less than $20. If the lure retriever can recover 2 of your new lures, then it has paid for itself.
It is always good to have a quality knife with you while you are out on the water. If you have ever been in a situation where you needed to cut the line in a hurry, you know how essential the knife can be. There are a lot of anglers out there that prefer to fish with braided line. Braided line is the most difficult line to cut on the market. A knife can be essential when using braid. I have seen line cutters that will not cut the braid effectively. If you’re worried about safely using the knife, check out some of the safety knife options. They can be effective on the water and can be safe for use if you have youngsters on the water.
Organization can be a fisherman’s best friend. That is where the tackle box comes in handy. Separating your tackle into various plastic storage boxes based on application, species, etc. can help you to be more efficient on the water. There are few things more frustrating than needing a specific lure and being unable to find it in your tackle box. Make sure to take the time to organize your tackle box, and you will have a much more enjoyable trip.
When searching for a tackle box, do not be overwhelmed by the choices. It may be best to start with a smaller tackle box and work into a larger option once it is filled. There are mainly two types of tackle boxes: hard and soft side tackle boxes. My personal preference is a soft side tackle box, but everyone is different.
There are more options for bait and lures than any other item on this list. When focusing on bass fishing, there are some lures that it pays to have in your tackle box. If you’re going to be using live bait to target bass, make sure to have all the tackle you will need for using live bait (bobbers, bullet weights, split shots, hooks, etc.). If using artificial lures, make sure to bring along extra lures of the same type in case you lose one on the water. Who wants to lose a lure the fish are tearing up only to find out that you didn’t bring another? Preparation is key when preparing bait/lures because of the number of components needed.
Have you ever caught a great fish and had to guess on its weight and length? I know I have. Then your friends don’t believe you when you present them with the story. Make sure that doesn’t happen again by packing a scale. Most scales these days have built-in tape measures. These can be very helpful if wanting to have mount done based on the fish’s measurements. You can also get a digital scale which are used on the tournament trail today and provide a high degree of certainty in measurement. There are many quality options for sale under $30. Check out the newer models that use a clamp instead of an old style hook. These can be much quicker to connect and disconnect.
I hope that this list on bass fishing essentials helps you in preparing for your next fishing trip. If you take the time to make sure you have each of these items and a good understanding of them, you will be well ahead of where I was as a beginner. If you would like to learn more about the types of fishing rods and types of fishing reels, make sure to check out our other articles.
Remember to have fun and enjoy the experience. Good luck out there!