Recreational fishing is enjoyed by millions of people. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reported that there was an 8 percent increase in anglers between 2011 and 2017. Expenditures by anglers nationwide rose 2 percent during the same time, from $45 billion to $46.1 billion.
As more people stay closer to home, they’re eager to engage in hobbies that are fun and accessible but still promote social distancing. Fishing checks each of those boxes. Prospective anglers who are eager to get into saltwater or freshwater fishing should know that the right gear is essential. For fishing enthusiasts, that gear starts with a rod and reel. Afterward, it is important to fill a tackle box with other essentials.
Extra fishing line: Lines get snagged, torn or snapped when reeling in a great catch, so extra fishing line is essential.
Extra hooks: The traditional J-hook can snag many types of fish, but some anglers like a French hook. No matter which hook you prefer, make sure you have a variety of sizes on hand so you can switch if need be.
A set of fishing pliers: Purchase pliers specifically made for fishing. Most come in aluminum so they will not corrode due to the elements. Also, if you’re using braided fishing line, be sure the pliers have a cutter made for cutting braid.
Bobbers in various sizes: Bobbers, also called floaters, help anglers know when a fish is biting. Round clip-on bobbers are popular and widely available. Slip bobbers will slide up and down the line, enabling anglers to get the hook into deeper water.
Sinkers: The yin to the bobber’s yang, sinkers are weights that help weigh down a worm or artificial lure to reach the right level to attract fish.
Fishing regulations/ruler: A variety of rules govern when and where you can fish. Also, you’ll need to know which size fish are keepers and which need to be tossed back. Keep a regulation ruler in the tackle box to avoid fines.
Pocket knife: Keep a sharp knife for cutting lines and bait. Reserve a special filet knife for cleaning fish.
Selection of lures: Research which fish you’re angling for and then purchase a variety of appropriate lures. Some lures will attract a wide array of fish.
Stringer: A stringer is a device that is used to hold several caught fish through their gills. It anchors to land and the other end with the fish on it is placed in the water to keep the fish alive until you’re ready to pack up and go. It’s a good alternative to a cooler or bucket filled with water.
Fishing license: Many conservation or fish and wildlife departments require a license for fishing for anglers of a certain age. Be sure to have it on hand or you may be susceptible to fines or other penalties.