Fishing has been steadily increasing in popularity over the past year and it’s not hard to see why. It’s a calming activity that gets you outdoors and can often be a great time to bond as well. If you’re looking to dip a toe in the water and try it out for yourself, there’s a few fishing essentials you’ll need to grab first.
There’s the obvious ones like a rod and fishing line and the less obvious ones like lures and bobbers which you may not be familiar with. This handy guide is going to lay out everything you need and where you can grab them.
Unless you plan on catching a fish with your bare hands, the most important thing you’ll need is a fishing rod. In fact, as far as fishing essentials go, this one is at the top of the list.
Fishing rods are slender poles made from a flexible but durable material (usually something like fibreglass). They can be classified by their strength (power), responsiveness, action (bending capability) and taper.
Choosing the right rod is entirely dependent on the kind of fishing you’re looking to do. If you’re just starting out then a medium strength rod is a great choice as you can angle different kinds of fish and easily feel when you’ve got a bite on the line. The ideal length of the rod should be around 30cm longer than your height.
You can grab this beginners fishing rod for $63.99 or a telescopic fishing rod for $109.75. The telescopic part just means it can fold up, giving it the element of portability if you’re planning to fish on a trip.
Your fishing reel is then attached to the rod which helps you to wind the line and pull your catch in.
Next up on the list is fishing line. If you’ve bought a brand new reel, it’s possible it’ll come with one or two rolls of line but it’s important to keep spares handy. It’s pretty common for fishing lines to get tangled up or broken so you can never go wrong with an extra roll.
You’ll want to have a variety of fishing lines with different strengths and weights. Many lines are classified based on their visibility and elasticity so the one you choose will be dependent on the type of fish you’re looking to catch.
Rough environmental conditions require a heavier, stronger fishing line while clear waters can manage with thin and clear ones (like braided lines $27.83). Monofilament lines (from $11.91) are also a popular choice as they’re user-friendly and easy to knot.
With the two key players out of the way, next on the list of fishing essentials is undoubtedly the hooks. You’ll need to stock up on an assortment of different hooks to catch fish of different sizes.
There’s a wide variety of hooks out there including single, double, circle, and treble. If you’re a beginner though, it’s better to start with single hooks. Sizes range from number 32 (smallest) to 19/0 (largest).
You can get a 200-piece box of assorted hooks for $23.55.
Bait is what you attach to the end of your line to attract the fish and is about as essential as it gets. Without bait, you’ve just got a rod dangling in the water hoping to catch something, but with nothing to attract the fish in it’ll probably never happen.
Live bait is said to be the most effective which you can usually grab from your local fishing shop, but there’s a few other options if you aren’t too keen on the idea.
Dough bait is a popular alternative to live bait which is basically a small ball of dough which has been scented to attract fish (it’s like their version of catnip). The Powerbait Crappie Nibbles ($10.43) has somewhat of a cult following in the fishing community for its effectiveness so it’s always a failsafe choice. The Gulp! Earthworms ($9.78) are also a popular alternative if you’re looking to shake up your bait variety. They look like worms and have the same appeal to the fish but you won’t have to deal with the wriggling of live ones.
Fishing lures are artificial bait which are designed to mimic real fish in order to catch the attention of predators. If you’ve run out of live bait or prefer not to use it, these are a great option. Some people find the variety of lures makes it easier to hunt different types of fish and are easier to use in different weather and water conditions. It’s easiest to buy a variety pack of different lures and try them out to see which works best. You can grab 168-piece pack here for $39.59 which includes everything from fish to worms and even plastic frogs.
Lighter coloured lures are better for bright days and clear water while darker lures are often used on cloudy days and darker waters. Two-toned plastic worms are also considered effective in murky waters. Plastic worms ($19.99), especially ones with long tails, are said to be excellent for bass fishing.
Also known as floaters, this nifty tool helps keep your bait closer to the surface to make it obvious when a fish has taken interest. When a fish bites the bait, you’ll see the bobber sink which will be your cue to reel the catch in. Given how important this process is, a bobber is an integral part of your fishing arsenal.
There’s a few choices when it comes to picking the best bobber for you. Traditional types are made from cork with a stick to attach it to your line ($18.71). The most popular type are red and white in colour and made from plastic ($3.49). These are great as they’re easy to attach to your line but they can also limit how deep you cast it – it really depends on the type of fishing you’re planning to do. If you’re looking to fish in deeper water, you can opt for an elongated slip bobber ($22.10) which can slide up and down the line allowing you to sink your hook deeper in the water.
As the name suggests, sinkers help to weigh your line down to stabilise the hook and help your bait sink deeper into the water. It’s important to have a few of these on hand when you go out as you’ll likely lose a few if you’re fishing for a long time.
Traditional sinkers are made from lead but newer models are more environmentally friendly and made from materials like iron ($17.59). They’re also available in different shapes and weights depending how far you’d like them to sink.
You can also opt for a small split shot sinker ($13.04) which you can easily clip on and off your line. These help to hold the bait at the desired depth and can keep your longer bobbers standing up in the water.
If you haven’t dealt with fishing line before, you probably won’t realise just how sturdy they are. The line is designed to be pretty tough to deal with a fish thrashing around on the other end so you won’t be able to snap it with your hands to separate it. If you need to set up a new line, you’ll need a pair of line cutters handy.
Most fishers like them to be on the smaller side so they’re handy to carry around or fit in your tackle box. You can pick up a decent pair for just $20.58 here.
Some baits and lures can make your line spin, causing it to twist (we don’t want that). A swivel essentially works as a connecting tool between your line and the bait, allowing it to move and spin freely without affecting your line.
They’re inexpensive and extremely useful so it’s in your best interest to grab one. You can pick up a pack of 20 swivels for under $17.
Finally, you’ll need a tackle box to store all your new toys. Most tackle boxes are fitted with different compartments which makes sorting and organising everything really easy. You can grab one with plenty of storage for $74.99.
Finally, you’ll need a few basics like sunscreen, sunglasses and a first aid kit. We have a handy article here on how to make your own first aid kit. You never know what can happen out there on the water.