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A Hillbilly's Simple Guide to Gearing Up a Tackle Box

Updated on June 15, 2011
The ugly one is me and the pretty one is a fish I caught less than a week after I first published this hub.
The ugly one is me and the pretty one is a fish I caught less than a week after I first published this hub.

If you aren't an experienced fisher you may find assembling a tackle box daunting and expensive, or you may find yourself out in the wilderness trying to fish without the right equipment which can ruin your whole experience. Or maybe you are thinking of getting a loved one or your children their first tackle box. This guide is meant to help the inexperienced person get the right gear and possibly serve as somewhat of a check list for getting the basic fishing tackle necessities.

Tackle Sets

If you shop around a little you may be able to find sets that come with many of the items you will need in them for fairly reasonable prices. Some of these items may not be of the highest quality but it's a good way to start your collection, and low quality items are always better than no items when you are miles from civilization trying to catch a big fish. You can always replace the low quality items for better ones, while saving the lower quality as back up. This is a great way to get started on your new tackle collection.

The Box

Picking the right tackle box isn't nearly as challenging as it may seem, and actually can be an enjoyable process with all the different styles and choices too choose from. There is no need to get carried away however, and if this is going to be your first tackle box a simple cheap small box will work. Personally, I like having two tackle boxes. I like having a large tackle box that I might not always take to the water with me, but can store lots of tackle in. I like to have a smaller tackle box that I can fill with all the tackle I plan on using for the specific trip I am going on, and cater to the desires of whatever particular fish I am after. Of course that is just my preference and if you really don't need more than one small cheap tackle box, especially if you are building your collection on a budget.


The type of hooks you need is dependent on what type of fish you are after and what kind of bait you are going to be using. However, if you aren't really sure it's ok because hooks don't take up much space and are fairly cheap. I would just grab a variety of hooks including small, medium, large, worm hooks, and whatever else catches your eye.


I pretty much only recommend reusable split shot. Its quick, cheap, and reusable. You can pick up little sets with multiple sizes for a few bucks, or you can buy bags with one size for around one dollar. I would just grab one of the little sets myself, as the multiple sizes could come in handy. Or just grab a few different bags, either way you're better off with some different weight choices.


Don't listen to the naysayers... You are never too old to use a bobber. Bobbers rock! If you are trying to kick back and relax while fishing, there really isn't anything easier than just staring at a little bobber bouncing around in the water. Also bobbers will allow you to get clever and creative in your fishing. Let's say for instance you keep casting and pulling up seaweed. Well it might be hard for the fish to find your bait in that mess. You can set a bobber on your line so your bait floats above the sea weed rather than sitting in it. Bobbers are also cheap and can be bought in fairly large quantities at very reasonable prices

Extra Fishing Line

It is always a good idea to keep a small spool of extra fishing line available in case your reel runs out. You don't need the most expensive line to catch fish. The cheap stuff will generally work just fine. Choosing the right lb. test depends on what kind of reel you have, and what you are fishing for. Your rod or reel may have this information labeled on them somewhere. If you aren't sure and can't find the info to help you I would suggest a 6 or 8 lb. test as a decent middle ground choice.


If you plan on keeping your fish you may want a stringer. I actually recommend two. I like the metal ones with the clips primarily, but I also use the simple string ones as well. This way if I've only caught a few fish I plan on keeping I can secure them on the metal clips, but tie the string one to the end of the metal one to give me more length to get my prisoners a little more room to breath in deeper water. Then if by chance I am lucky enough to catch several more I wish to keep I will have a spare. It's always important to obey the law, and only take as many fish as the law allows. In most places though there is a different limit on different kinds of fish, so if you are in a place where you are catching different kinds you might be able to keep several. I recommend never going above the limit. I say this because it can not only lead to a hefty fine, but those laws are in place for reason. The limit they set is to keep the population strong, if everyone broke it regularly then there would be less fish to catch... and well that would be sad.

Needle Nose Pliers

When you are releasing the fish you catch back in to the wild, you want to be able to remove the hook from the fish quickly and without harming the fish. Unfortunately sometimes the hooks are hard to get out. In these cases a pair of pliers comes in very handy. In most fishing sections of the store they will have needle nose pliers designed for this purpose. However, you may be able to get a cheaper pair that work just as well from the hardware section of the store.

Finger Nail Clippers

You might have read that title and thought I was joking. Well I'm not. Finger nail clippers are maybe the best tool for cutting fishing line, and they are much less dangerous to young ones than a knife or other sharp objects

Fake Baits and Lures

Buying fake baits and lures can be very daunting as there are thousands of styles, colors, and brands. The trick is simply knowing what kind of fish you are after and what their environment commonly offers them for food. You might not always have this information so I would recommend just trying some random different things. Everyone tends to like different things, and if you ask around people you know I guarantee you will get lots of different recommendations. I would recommend you try some but be cautious as people tend to over exaggerate their fishing tales. Fortunately, most lures and fake baits aren't too expensive, so you should be able to find several different things to try without breaking the bank. A good quality name that comes to mind is the brand Rapala for their hard bodied lures. I've caught a lot of fish with their products.

If you plan to use fake bait I highly recommend also dropping a small amount of money to get some swivels. Swivels are little metal objects that will allow you to quickly change what ever lure you are using.

Fishing License

If you are planning on fishing anywhere outside of a private owned pond I highly recommend getting your fishing license. In most states they are fairly inexpensive and last for a year. The fine for not having one tends to be pretty hefty.

A Final Note

Fishing is a great cost effective way to have a great time in nature. It can get pretty expensive if you let it, but really you can get everything you need to last you for years for a fairly reasonable price. Good luck out there!


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