If you fish often enough, you’ve probably experienced the strange occurrence of fishing tackle that just plain disappears into thin air. Wasn’t it just a week or two ago that you stocked up on five packs of 4/0 hooks, three bags of plastic worms, and a brand new pair of pliers? How can it be that you searched every compartment of your tackle box only to come up with empty packages?
There must be a logical explanation for this kind of situation… and there is. The explanation starts with the tree you got snagged on, the fishing buddy of yours that put your pliers in his pocket and then forgot to give them back before he hopped off your boat, and all the plastic worms you tore up that day the largemouth bite was on. Yep, looks like you’re making ANOTHER trip to the tackle shop.
Here are five pieces of tackle that tend to disappear the quickest along with a few suggestions on how to stay stocked up. You may also want to keep these items in mind when buying gifts for fellow anglers since they will always be used.
1. Hooks – Since hooks often break off and get stuck in trees or other kinds of structure, it’s a good idea to stay stocked up on a variety of sizes of hooks. As an example, if you are inshore saltwater fishing, you might want to have a range from 1/0 to 5/0 depending the bait you are using and the species you want to catch. If you see hooks on sale or being sold at a discount, buy them.
2. Leader line - Your leader will rub up against dock pilings, logs, rocks, and rough fish mouths, so it makes good sense to have extra spools of fluorocarbon leader line in several different weights. If you are fishing freshwater for bass, you might want to keep two or three spools of 12, 14 and 20-pound test depending on the area. For saltwater inshore, you may want to keep a supply of 15, 20 and 30-pound test leader line. Again, the type of fishing you do will dictate the range of leader line weights you’ll want to have handy.
3. Pliers - Pliers seem to sprout legs and walk off, get dropped into the water or lost in the deep recesses of a tackle box way too easily. Since they are a necessity for removing hooks, always have an extra pair on hand (find a pair that has a built-in line cutter if you can).
4. Weights and sinkers - Buy an extra container or two of weights and sinkers. If you’re fishing freshwater, you will want to have a variety pack of split shots and bullet weights. If you’re fishing saltwater, you may need extra egg sinkers, casting sinkers, split shots, pyramid weights, and hook weights.
5. Soft plastic baits – Have several extra packages of plastic baits such as worms, frogs, and crawfish in your tackle box when fishing freshwater. For saltwater, you may want to have a few spare packages of soft plastic shrimp, crabs and shad.
These items would all make great holiday stocking stuffers for the anglers on your list, so pick them up the next time you visit your local tackle shop or specialty outdoor retailer… and don’t forget that fishing licenses make good stocking stuffers too!