Fishing Accessories No Fisherman Should Be Without
Useful Fishing Accessories
There are literally thousands of products in the fishing accessories category today. So many in fact, that it can be quite overwhelming. So where to start? This guide will highlight fishing and boating accessories essentials to make every trip as enjoyable as possible.
Protect your eyes and see more fish.
Polarized sunglasses are easily one of the most important accessories you need when fishing. Whether fishing a small mountain stream for trout or fishing blue water for marlin, a good quality pair of polarized sunglasses is invaluable. Polarized sunglasses significantly decrease the amount of sun glare reflecting off the water allowing your eyes to 'penetrate' the water better. They can also enhance contrast in low-light conditions with the right lenses.
Even more important than the fishing benefits are the benefits to your eyes. Polarized glasses cut a majority of the harmful UV rays your eyes would otherwise be subject to, and do so much better than a pair of regular sunglasses. This combined with their enhanced fish spotting abilities make them a must have for every fisherman.
Keep your tackle organized and safe.
Tackle boxes are another essential item no fisherman can live without. Tackle boxes come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and styles. From the simple clear plastic container to complex tackle storage systems, there is a tackle box out there for every situation.
Starting out, a single smaller tackle box is sufficient. Ideally it will have enough storage for a spool of line, some leader material, and a variety of hooks and sinkers, floats etc. After the essentials are in place, add a couple of jig heads and some soft plastics, and a couple of spoons. I'd advise avoiding the prepackaged deals normally. The tackle they 'give' you for free is normally garbage, and after fishing for a little while you'll quickly throw most if not all of it away. Better to buy an empty box and get the tackle you will actually use.
As you continue to fish you will eventually want a larger tackle box. My favorite style of tackle box is the bag-type tackle box with storage compartments inside. It's waterproof (unless you leave the lid open) and very portable. They also just look good.
For the boater on a large boat, or for the angler blessed with some sort of storage area for tackle, a large multi-drawared storage box is ideal. It makes storing, and more importantly finding your tackle easy and fast. And being large, you can store over-sized draws, multiple extra spools of line and pretty much anything else you want in them.
Pliers and De-Hookers
Pliers, de-hookers and venting tools
Everyone likes having ten full fingers right? Well the next item on our fishing accessories essentials list will help you stay that way. Pliers and de-hookers are the safest way to remove hooks from a fish's mouth, especially when that fish has plenty of teeth and is not in the best of moods with a hook in its jaw. And let's face it, you'd be pretty tee-off too if you had a hook in your mouth. A good pair of needle-nosed pliers, or better yet a de-hooker device, are the only way to go.
A good pair of needle-nosed pliers would be those made specifically for fishing, as they are often corrosion resistant and sometimes are spring-loaded making them easier to use. With a de-hooker and a little bit of practice you won't even have to touch the fish to release it, a plus for both you and the fish.
When a fish is swimming in deep water and is rapidly brought to the surface by an angler compressed gasses in the fish expand, disabling the fish for a time and leaving it defenseless. The venting tool is a hollowed out needle used to allow these pent-up gasses escape. Use of venting tools is mandatory when reef fishing in the Gulf of Mexico, and should be practiced world-wide. In some studies the survival rate of fish that had been properly vented rose nearly 90% over fish that hadn't been vented.
The proper way to vent a fish is by inserting the venting tool into the fish's body cavity just behind the pectoral fin. penetrate only far enough to allow the gases to escape, you'll know when this happens as you will actually hear the air hiss as it escapes. Never vent a fish with a knife or by piercing the swim bladder, as this more often than not leads to death for the fish.
Gaffs and Landing Nets
Never lose another trophy fish again.
Gaffs and landing nets are key to successfully landing trophy fish. Far to often a good fish is hooked, fought, and ready to be brought on board (or ashore) and lost at the last second because no on thought to bring a landing net or a gaff.
When choosing a landing net, keep the size of the fish being targeted in mind. A smaller net is easier to handle while a larger net can of course land larger fish. Also keep in mind the length of the handle. I prefer a little longer handle when I'm fishing, if it is too long though it just becomes unmanageable.
Net material is also important. I prefer to use rubber nets over cloth-type materials because hooks won't get caught up in the rubber netting as much.
There are a few different gaff types to choose from. For everyday fishing a lip-gaff and a basic gaff are fine, and every boat should be equipped with both.
A lip gaff helps you to control a fish without removing it from the water, or to remove a fish from the water without killing it. Anytime you remove a fish from the water you plan on releasing always make sure to wet your gloves/hands first, and support the weight of the fish with your opposite hand to reduce stress. Get your measurements and pictures quickly, and then release the fish back into the water.
A general gaff should only be used when you plan on keeping a fish. Try to gaff the fish in the mouth if possible, or through the eyes. This way you will avoid damaging the edible parts of the fish.
When choosing a gaff, try to find a good balance between length, weight, and handling ability. Avoid gaffs that are too long or too short, and always check both the hook strength and sharpness. In fact, you should get in the habit of sharpening your gaff point after each trip.
Whether you are chasing crappie from the local fishing hole or monster tuna hundreds of miles offshore, every fisherman needs to have a landing net or a gaff handy to help bring those trophy fish home.