Beginners face a lot of choices when they are gearing up for bass fishing.
The obvious choices for beginners are buying rod and reel combos, fishing line, and lures. Then there are the next five essentials every bass angler must have to fish safely and efficiently from either the bank or in a boat.
Here’s a look at those five “must haves” for beginning bass anglers.
The suitcase-size tackle boxes of yesteryear have given way to a more compact and efficient tackle storage system.
Today’s pros prefer stocking their lures and other gear in clear plastic utility boxes that they store in the boat’s compartments. Beginning anglers can use the same plastic boxes that can be stowed in a soft-side tackle storage bag. The clear plastic boxes allow you to organize your lures easily, so you can put all of your hard plastic baits in some boxes and soft plastic baits or terminal tackle in others.
The tackle storage bags come in a wide variety of sizes ranging from large bags for holding several plastic boxes to take in a boat or small bags that hold a couple of boxes for carrying around while fishing from the shore. The bags also feature zippered side compartments and mesh pockets for holding other gear, such as fishing tools, lure scents, sunscreen, and dyes.
Anglers need certain tools for their trade, just like carpenters or plumbers do. A good tool kit for beginning anglers should include a good pair of scissors, two screwdrivers (one Phillip’s head and one flat head), fishing glue, needle nose pliers, and a sharp pocket knife. You need to buy scissors that will cut through braided line such as the Rapala Super Line Scissors.My choice for fishing glue is Gorilla Super Glue, which I use for gluing swimbaits on underspin jigheads to secure the soft plastic to the jig longer. I favor the Gorilla Glue Minis tubes rather than the Gorilla Glue bottles because I only need a few drops of glue for my swimbait applications. Needle nose pliers are a must for taking treble hooks out of a bass’ mouth , and a pocket knife comes in handy when your lure hangs in a piece of dock or boat rope.
You can condense your tool kit into one handy item by buying a fishing multi-tool. The best multi-tools are usually equipped with Phillip’s and flat head screwdrivers, scissors, needle nose pliers, and an assortment of knife blades.
Even pro anglers occasionally hang up their lures, but snagged lures happen more frequently for beginners, so buying a good lure retriever will save you money in the long run.
When I fished with touring pro Paul Elias a couple of years ago, he showed me a couple of lure knocker concoctions he made. His first knocker was a 5-ounce bank sinker with a swivel that he attached to his line and let it slide down to the lure to knock it off the snag. His second concoction consisted of an old baitcast reel filled with 100-pound braid, a shortened rod, and a 1-pound weight rigged with chains.
If you would rather buy a lure retriever, there are plenty of options on the market. I use the Bass Pro Shops E-Z Lure Retriever, which features a weight, chains, and a 30-foot cord for pulling a snagged lure free.
Another good option that might be especially beneficial for bank anglers is the T-H Marine Tim Horton’s Money Pole, an aircraft aluminum pole extending from three sections to 18 feet. The Money Pole is equipped with a metal spiral tip to attach it to your, line and slide the pole straight down the line to the snagged lure.
Protection from harmful UV sun rays glare off the water, and flying projectiles with hooks or heavy weights make sunglasses one of the best investments a beginning bass angler can make.
Most fishing sunglasses are made from shatter-resistant polycarbonate to protect your eyes from misguided hooks or unsnagged jigs heading for a collision course with your face. Polarized sunglasses also serve as a light filter that eliminates glare or scattered light and blocks UV rays. The glare reduction also helps you see bass and underwater cover better.
A life jacket is a must whenever you fish from a boat, but it might also be a lifesaver when fishing from the bank along a river with heavy current in case you accidentally fall in the water.
My favorite life jacket for fishing in the cooler months is a Stearns U.S. Coast Guard-approved Type III vest with a collar. I also have an old inflatable model that I use for fishing in the summer heat with a pull tab for inflating in case I fall in the water.
Buying these five must-haves will help beginners become safer and more efficient bass anglers without learning the hard way.