Entries Tagged as 'Gear'

Top 10 Pieces of Fishing Gear

We all have our preference for lures and gear but there are some things no fisherman can do without.
Besides the basics (rod, reel, and lures) there are some bits of gear that most fishermen bring along no matter what they’re fishing or what time of the day it is. We’ve put together a list of 10 things we know most fishermen can’t do without. Think of it as a checklist for your next fishing trip.

1) Pliers: whether you’re closing sinkers or trying to get a hook out of a fish’s mouth pliers are an important part of any fisherman’s tackle box.

2) Pocket Knife or Scissors: On the off chance you have to cut your line (or anything else) you’re going to need something sharp to cut with.

3) Hat or sunglasses: and not just for looking good in your hero shots with your trophy fish. A hat or sunglasses will keep the glare from the water out of your eyes so you can see what you’re doing. Both are ideal and wearing sunglasses is best for any type of fishing. Sunglasses can also offer some measure of protection for your eyes against anything that might fly into them.

4) Fishing License: This is a no-brainer. Without a fishing license you can’t legally fish. If you get caught without one you may be facing some hefty fines.

5) Phone: If you or a person you’re with gets hurt you’re going to need to contact someone quickly.

6) Super glue: fixing rods, sealing knots, fixing lures and it’ll act better than a band-aid to fix a cut from a fish’s teeth or anything else. This is one thing that should always be in your tackle box.

7) Compass or GPS: Not only will this help you figure out where you’re fishing but it’ll help you find out where you are if you get lost.

8 ) Camera: If you’re catching and releasing (and even if you’re not) you want to have a picture of that trophy fish you caught. With today’s technology you can take your camera phone with you and save some room in your gear with the two-in-one device.

9) Life Jacket: Some laws state that you have to wear a life jacket if you’re anywhere near water where others state that unless the boat is underway you don’t have to wear one. It’s up to you to make the decision to keep the life jacket on while you’re dock fishing but either way it’s the law when you’re on a moving boat.

10) Net: How else are you going to get your trophy fishing into the boat (or on the dock) to take a picture with it? You can try with just your hands but that’s a slippery experience. The size of your net depends on the type of fish you’re going after.

Now we all know the basic and essential gear but this is a sport that varies from person to person. So what do you carry with you that other fisherman might not?

Know your Knots

Knowing how to tie a good knot is one of the most important skills you can learn as a fisherman. A poorly tied knot guarantees losing any big fish you hook, even a strong knot can be the weakest link between the fish and you. But, before you learn how to master knots, you have to know the difference between lines.

Monofilament lines
Are inexpensive, easy to cast and can be used in both spinning and bait-casting. The only drawback is the high stretch factor. There are many different types and colors of mono line but most are near-invisible in water.
Plastic worm and jig bait fishermen detect strikes by watching for a line twitch. They will favor fluorescent mono when fishing in discolored water but will go to a clear or green mono in clear water. Anglers fishing in rocky bottoms prefer abrasion-resistant mono while live-bait fishers use thin, flexible mono for a natural presentation.
When buying your mono, do not buy cheap, off-brand mono. Off-brand mono weakens quickly, may have many thin spots and tends to be very kinky.

Braided lines
The biggest advantage to braided lines is they have little stretch so they work wonderfully for telegraphing bites and getting strong hook-sets. These lines are three to four times as strong as a mono of equal diameter.
Nylon and Dacron lines are used mainly on bait-casting reels and for backing on fly reels because of their thick diameter. Modern braided lines will also work well with spinning gear because of their thin diameter and strength.

Wire lines
Braided wire and single stranded lines are used mainly for deep trolling or jigging. They have no stretch but will kink easily. To reduce kinkiness, some braided wire lines are coated in plastic. Wire lines can also be used to make leaders for toothy gamefish like pike and northern muskies.
Lead-core lines are the most flexible wire lines and are used for deep trolling. Their think diameter requires a large reel and they are usually color coded so you can monitor your fishing depth easily.

Fly lines
Come in many different types. Level lines have the same diameter along their entire length. They are inexpensive but harder to cast. Double-taper lines have a level middle section and gradually taper at each end. They allow for a delicate presentation and can be reversed when one end wears out. Weight forward lines have a thick short belly behind a tapered front end. The rear end portion is called a running line and is tapered to a long thin section. The up front weight of this line makes it easier to make longer casts and punch through strong winds. Shooting head lines are very similar to weight forward lines but the running line section is usually monofilament. These lines will cast further then other lines.
Fly lines mostly float but full sinking or sink-tip types are available. All shooting head lines will sink no matter what. Designations for line weight range from 1 (lightest) to 12 (heaviest). To get the best casting performance, attach the proper line to the weight designation of the rod.

Knot tips
One tip to always keep in mind: your line is only as strong as the knots you use to tie it. Any knot will weaken the line to some degree; some will cut the line strength in half. Try to avoid using knots that will put sharp bends in your line because those bends may fracture under stress.
You will need to learn more knots with the more kinds of fishing you do. For instance, fly fishers will use different kinds of knots than spin fisherman. Saltwater anglers will also use different knots then other fishers. Some knots that work well with a mono line would be a poor choice with super-lines.
Dozens of knots have been devised for different fishing purposes but some are so difficult that you might need a manual in the boat just to tie them. Tying good knots will save you from losing several fish and several dollars worth of lures. Here are a few quick tips for knot-tying:
• Pick knots that are easy to tie. Even the strongest knots will fail if you haven’t tied them properly.
• Any knot will weaken with use. Tie new knots before every trip and remember to re-tie knots throughout the day.
• Moisten knots before snugging it up. Friction and abrasion are reduced if the knot is moistened just before it is pulled tight.
• Do not be timid about testing your knots and snug them with a strong, smooth pull. It is better that the line breaks on shore then when you’re reeling in the big one.
• Leave some line when clipping the tag end. Sometimes a knot will slip slightly just before they break and a little extra line provides good insurance.

The next two articles will give you instructions on how to tie the best knots for different situations.

Attaching Tackle to your line

If you can attach your tackle on your line properly, you are one step ahead of other fishermen. Some knots are easier than others so use the ones you can tie easily that will work for you. Here are the most useful fishing knots in any situation:

Arbor Knot

Arbor Knot

This knot is important for attaching your line to your reel. Tied properly, this knot will prevent the line from slipping when you reel.
1) Pass the line around the spool.
2) Wrap the free end around the standing line to make an overhand knot.
3) Make another overhand knot in the free end
4) Moisten the knot then snug up then it by pulling on the standing line, the knot should tighten firmly around the arbor.

Trilene Knot


This knot is one of the strongest hook attachments with a double loop around the hook eye.
1) Pass the free end through the hook eye twice to form a double loop.
2) Wrap the free end around the standing line four or five times.
3) Pass the free end through the double loop.
4) Moisten the line and pull on the standing line and hook to snug up the knot.

Palomar Knot


This knot gives the same security as the Trilene Knot but some anglers find it easier to tie.
1) Form a double line then push it through the hook eye.
2) Using the double line, make an overhand knot around the standing line with the free end.
3) Put the hook through the loop
4) Moisten the line then hold the hook while pulling on the standing line and free end to snug the knot.

Loop Knot


This knot will allow your hook or lure to swing more freely so that it will have better action.
1) Make an overhead knot several inches from the end of the line and put the free end through the hook eye.
2) Pass the free end through the overhead knot.
3) With the free end make an overhead knot around the standing line. Where you tie the overhand knot, will determine the size of the loop.
4) Moisten the knot and tighten the overhead knots and pull the standing line to snug the knot.

Duncan Loop


This knot allows a hook or crankbait to swing freely for maximum wobble.
1) Thread your line through the hook eye and form a loop in the tag end.
2) Pass the tag end through the loop winding it around the standing line and top the section of the loop four or five times while moving away from the hook.
3) Moisten the line and pull the tag end to snug the knot.
4) Pull on the standing line to slide the knot to the desired position and trim the tag end.

Improved Clinch Knot


This knot is very easy to tie and retains all the lines strength. You can use it to attach leaders and lines to hooks and swivels.
1) Pass the end of the line though the eye of the hook or swivel
2) Pull about six inches of line through the eye and double it back against itself, twisting it five to seven times around the standing line
3) Pass the end of the line through the loop formed just above the eye then through the big loop you just created. Make sure the coils don’t overlap.
4) Moisten the line and pull the tag end and main line so the coiled line tightens against the eye and trim any excess.

Dropper Loop Knot


This knot provides an attachment point for a dropper line when you are fishing with several hooks.
1) Form a loop in the line and wrap the end overhead seven times through the loop.
2) Keep the midpoint open where the twists are being made. A pencil can be inserted in the middle to help keep the strand separated so this can be done easily.
3) Hold the other side of the loop and pull it through the opening. Stick your finger through the loop so it does not pull back through.
4) Hold the loop between your teeth and pull gently on both ends of the line making the twists gather and pack down on either side of the loop.
5) Moisten the knot and pull hard on both ends of the line to snug it.

Double Surgeon’s Loop


This knot is very easy to tie and makes a secure loop in the end of your line or leader.
1) Form a double line.
2) Tie an overhead knot in your double line.
3) Pass the doubled line through the overhand knot again.
4) Moisten the knot and pull on the loop to snug the line.