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Fishing is a great way to unwind after working the entire week, and it’s also a good time to catch up with friends and relax. Before you go however, make sure your fishing tackle box contains the essential stuff.

Obviously you don’t want to fill the box with items you’re not going to use, but you don’t want to end up needing something that’s not there. To make things easier, here is a checklist of the essentials:

Additional Hooks

Having different types of fish hooks will help you deal with all kinds of fish. The J-hook is the most widely used, but the French hook can be effective too.

Regardless of the type you plan to bring along, ensure you have them in varying sizes, which range from #32 (the smallest) to 19/0 (the biggest).

Additional Lines

Whether it’s your first fishing trip or the 20th, chances are the fishing line is going to break at one point, so having an extra will help.

The kind of line to bring will depend on what fish you’re after, but if the weather is rough, you’ll need a heavy line.

If you’re fishing in clear lakes, go for thin lines that won’t alert the fish.


A worm and hook are too light and will need a sinker to sink in deep. Even if you’re an experienced angler, you’ll likely lose more than a few of these so make sure there are a few extras with you.

Old sinkers were made of lead but this has been outlawed in several states for environmental reasons, so most of them are now made of bismuth, steel or tungsten.


Whether you call them bobbers or floaters, they’ll let you know if a fish has taken a bite. When a fish bites the floater sinks, telling you that it’s time to reel in the fish.

Bobbers come in different shapes and colors, though the white and red plastics are the most popular in the US.

Round bobbers also come in handy as they just need to be clipped on, thought there are limits to the depth in which you can use a round bobber.


Most of the time a hook with worm will be sufficient but if you want to expand your range you need to use other lures like spinners, top water lure, minnow imitations, spoons and more.

Lures are designed to work in specific ways to draw fish. For instance you might want some minnow lures for medium and large fish, while spinners come with a blade that uses a spinning motion to draw in the fish.

Since there are literally hundreds of lures, you’ll need to experiment until you find the set that suits you.

Plastic Worms

If you’re not the type who likes to use live bait, plastic worms are good alternatives particularly if you’re into bass fishing. Just like other lures, plastic worms are sold in all colors and sizes, though the long tails are the best for beginners in terms of ease of use.

Does the worm color have an effect? Opinion is divided, but if one particular color works for you, keep using it.

Needle Nose Pliers

Needle nose pliers are necessary for removing the hooks from the fish once you’ve caught them. Various types of pliers are sold online but the basic pliers are enough.


Sunscreen is necessary if you’re going to fish all day. Ideally you should put the sunscreen on before you go, but it’s good to bring the sunscreen along and apply it throughout the trip.

First Aid Kit

Fishing is a relatively safe sport (and hobby), but you’ll never know when accidents will strike. The hook can get stuck in your thumb or you could get a few scrapes and bruises every now and then.

When that happens you’ll be happy to have a first aid kit with you, and the kit doesn’t have to be big; just a few bandages, medical tape and Neosporin and you’ll be set.

These are the items that your fishing tackle box must contain, but you don’t need to limit your stock there. If you’ve got room for more there’s no reason not to add other stuff. But if you can only carry a few, the items above will be enough.