If you’re new to fishing or have been fishing a while but never had a nice tackle box setup we’re going to cover some of the basics of what you will want to stock it with. The options can be overwhelming, but let’s try and break it down a bit.
I’m going to recommend something that’s not exactly a box but will provide you with great storage and versatility. The Plano Guide Series Tackle Bag 3500 Series is going to come with 5 plastic lure stowaway, a bag with a shoulder strap to hold everything, and extra pockets to keep all the other gear you’ll need to bring. The bag setup offers several advantages in that it will be comfortable to lug around, durable, and non-slip thanks to the rubber footpads. So if using on a boat, you won’t have to worry about it sliding away. It also features a magnetic dropzone on the top of the bag which is a cool feature that uses a magnet to catch and hold any lures, hooks, or weights you want to set aside temporarily. It even includes a waterproof pouch to hold your phone and anything else you need to keep dry. You can find this bag for about $60.
One of the most important tools in your tackle kit is going to be a solid pair of pliers. You can get as fancy as you want here with some models going for as much as $250. But, In general, I would get a pair that is stainless steel, at least 6″ in length, and has soft grip handles. You will be using these on every fish you catch so will want a decent pair. I like the Rapala RPLD-1 6″ pliers. They feature a good-sized handle, a spring open design (makes them easy to use with gloves on), and can grip hooks well. You can this pair of pliers for about $11.
Scissors or Nippers to Cut Line
If you are going to be fishing mono or fluorocarbon line you can get by with any small set of scissors or nail clippers. However, if you are going to run braided line you will want to pick up a pair of scissors that are rated to cut it. Braid is extremely abrasion-resistant and if you’ve ever tried to cut it with regular scissors you know how frustrating it can be. The Rapala RSD-1 Super Line Scissors are inexpensive at $7, and easily cut through braided line. Pick up a pair.
If you are new to fishing one of the most complex things can be learning the knots you need and being able to quickly tie them while out on the water. The Tie Fast Knot Tyer is a small piece of stainless steel that includes instructions to use it for tying basic knots and makes doing it a breeze. For $9 you can’t go wrong picking one of these up.
Small Med Kit
Dealing with sharp hooks flying around is inevitably going to lead to some bloodshed. When you throw in being outside for long periods you would do well to pack some basic first aid kit items in your tackle box. A roll of medical tape, some gauze patches, some bandaids, Neosporin, bug spray, Benadryl, sunscreen, and other basics will help keep you comfortable and from having to end a good day of fishing for a cut finger.
Line and Leader
I would always keep an extra box of whatever line you’re using in your box. Stuff happens and even as strong as braid is I have seen it snap. Having a backup ensures that you can fix the problem and respool if it happens. Also, I would keep a couple of different strengths of leader in your kit. If fishing a 10lb test, maybe keep a 10, and 12 lb leader on hand. You will want to be able to vary your setup on the fly for different lures. You can learn all about fishing lines and leader in another article I wrote here.
This is what the purpose of the whole tackle bag is right? Keeping a nice variety of lures onhand is going to increase your versatility and allow you to change things up when your first choice isn’t working or you want to target a different type of fish. I would say carrying any more than 60 lures regularly is going to be a bit of overkill unless you have them stored on a boat or are a professional. Our Know Your Lures series breaks down a different type of lure each week. Plan on having multiples of your favorite lures and a wide range from soft plastic baits to hard crankbaits.
Hooks could be a whole series of articles in itself. Like lures, I would suggest a variety of sizes and shapes. The more options you have at your disposal the better off you will be. Eagle claw sells a lot of decent hook variety packs each designed for targeting a specific fish, like this one for bass. A solid pack should run you about $13.
Split Shot and Sinkers
A good assortment pack of removable split shot is a must as it will allow you to vary your setup. I like the removable design for split shot because it allows me to reuse and quickly change my setup. I haven’t had any issues with removable shot coming loose on a spinning setup yet. Water Gremlin makes a great starter kit.
I highly recommend the Rapala Fish N Fillet knife for your first fishing knife. It’s sharp, easy to resharpen, reliable, and features a great warranty. You can pick up the 6-inch flexible model for about $25 making this a great buy. I do a more in-depth review of the knife here.
You should be able to put together your first serious tackle rig for about $110 if you go with my recommendations, not including the cost of lures, line, and leader. The main thing you are looking for is storage of no more than 60 lures, portability, storage for other accessories like line, hooks, split shot, medical stuff, and the tools you need to filet fish and remove hooks.