The most important piece of equipment a fisherman will have, besides his fishing rod, is his fishing tackle box. Preparing a tackle box involves two methods of planning, firstly you want to have enough equipment for your outing, including equipment that will allow you to change between lure and bait fishing without any issues. The second most important thing about a tackle box, is not overcrowding it with every single possible item a fisherman may need, you want to plan your tackle box so your bring the lease amount of fishing tackle, but enough tackle to cover your requirements.
There is nothing worse than carrying around a heavy tackle box, full of all sorts of things not required for the outing, such as if one was to carry around squid jigs when they are going out freshwater fishing. You don’t want to be keeping everything in the tackle box, for this reason, if you regularly switch between a few styles of fishing, such as salt water pier fishing, freshwater fishing and boat fishing, it often makes a lot more sense to have multiple tackle boxes, one for each type of fishing you will be taking on.
This limits the amount of tackle you carry around, while also ensuring when it’s time to go fishing, you have the correct gear for the type of fishing you are heading out for.
While some fishing tackle is standard across all types of fishing, such as carrying fishing pliers and lip grips, other types of fishing require a varied assortment, carrying around all these things in one fishing tackle box is pointless, and sorting into multiple boxes for each type of fishing makes a lot more sense.
In freshwater fishing, you often require smaller hooks, such as sizes 4 to 10, you may also require an assortment of hook styles such as the ‘suicide’ highly curved hooks, regular fishing hooks and also long shank fishing hooks. You would also want some light weight sinkers such as 3 gram, 5 gram and 10 gram variants, you may prefer to also carry a small amount of 15g and 20g sinkers for long distance casting, such as at lakes and water reservoirs, otherwise in rivers and creeks, anything from 3 grams to 10 grams is enough. You may also like to carry around a small assortment of fishing floats, if the weather is clear enough sometimes fishing on floats is more productive than sinking baits, and finally you want to be carrying some lighter weight fishing line.
Freshwater fishing often requires a light weight main line, if your main line is in good condition, then carrying only equipment for a leader is the best way to go, with a main line of around size 2, you may want to pair this with sinking fluorocarbon fishing line of size 5, this gives you around 15kg / 33lbs of line strength, enough to take on fish to around 7.5kg. When fishing smaller species, you may also prefer to pair with a size 3 fluorocarbon line, this size is ideal for fishing perch and stocked rainbow trout.
Salt water fishing is a fairly different game, while in fresh water you will be using mostly sizes 4 to 10 hooks, in salt water most species will be best suited to a 1/0 sized hook, this hook is suitable for highly aggressive fish, and will provide good strength for most species to around 70cm in length. Only on species such as bream / snapper / sheepshead can be fished with a smaller size 2 hook, but as you can see, the tackle mentioned already is for the most part unsuitable for freshwater fishing. In terms of sinkers, because you will be fishing in estuaries with tidal influence, or maybe even our on the bay or beach itself, weights such as 3 grams and 10 grams is going to be nearly useless to you, weights of around 15g to 30g are often used, with the 15g used in estuaries with tidal influence, and 30g to 50g for fishing off the beach itself. Float fishing is also extremely difficult in waters with tidal movements, hence you likely won’t need to bring a float along with you when you are targeting salt water systems.
Now for fishing line, most salt-water fishing rods are fitted with size 4 or 5 mono-filament line, and as most salt water species put up a much stronger fight, and also the fact that a lot of species can be quite large, most people prefer to pair their line with a Fluorocarbon leader of around size 6, allowing 16kg / 35lbs of line strength to handle bigger fish, some may even go larger to around size 8 if species regularly caught exceed 1 meter in length.
When fishing in salt water, you will also need to rinse your fishing line after use, so bring along a small bottle of fresh water, and at the end of the day pour this over the line in your reel to remove the salt and prevent line damage.
Preparing multiple tackle boxes will save a lot of time, both in terms of preparing to go out fishing, and reduce time spent at the actual fishing spot, as everything you need will be in the box you took. The only thing you need to remember is which box is which, a label maker, engraving tool or permanent marker can help avoid this easy to make mistake, and ensure you can fish both light and prepared each time you head out on the water.
Before getting into the major details, before fishing, always ensure that you obtain an angling permit for the area you are fishing.
For the novice angler, there are a few fundamental pieces of angling tools required to enter into fishing as a sport or recreation, and to immerse yourself in the angling scene.
Knowing the correct weight class of fishing line is essential, it is graded at break point, for example 15lbs line will break if the weight on the line is over 15lbs. Remember that this weight does not simply rate to the weight of the fish, as the fight when you hook onto a fish will place up to 10x the fishes weight on the line. For this reason, if you expect the biggest fish you will catch will rate at around 1kg, go for 7lbs to 12lbs line. The benefit of lower weight line is that it is often much thinner, and can improve casting distance.
Some tackle shops will try to sell you braided fishing line, which is lighter weight and has more strength than regular fishing line (known as mono-filament), to begin with however, regular mono-filament is often the best way to go. Braided is very expensive and requires you to attach a mono-filament or fluorocarbon leader to the end of the braid, this is often beyond that of the beginner, so sticking with the good old, low cost mono-filament line is the best way to begin.
Co-ordinating the right length pole is also important, on open waters such as bays, large lakes and very wide rivers, when using bait or heavy lures (lures above 20 grams) it is often best to stick to a rod length of around 2.1 meters. Rarely will larger rods be required, but if you are fishing in salt water ensure that the rod is thick in its construction, a slimmer and lighter weight rod is often best for light lure casting and freshwater situations, where fish caught will rarely be above 3kg. Salt water with a variety of large fish often demand much higher strength equipment, and when casting any bait or lure over around 20 grams, you want something sturdy and strong in construction.
For the reel there are a few options, for freshwater most people opt for a regular spinning reel, these are small reels with multiple ball bearings, they have the lowest drag possible and are extremely light weight. This suits the travelling nature of the water, ensures that the line is able to cast the maximum distance even on the lightest of lures, and provides just enough strength to fight a fish of upto around 5 to 7kg in weight to the shoreline.
For salt water, where the type of fish hooked could be substantial in comparison to freshwater, a larger spinning reel is often preferred, for catching extremely large fish over 10kg, then you will want to switch to an overhead reel.
Overhead reels also come in smaller sizes, some may prefer a small overhead to a regular spin when casting short distance into freshwater, it all depends on personal preference. Starting with a spinning reel however, and some basic advice on how to use it, is often the best method of fishing, although there are a few things required to operate them, they are by far the most reliable when it comes to fishing for species under 10kg, or for species where the fight they put up is not substantial.
Many factors can cause a spinning reel to snap a line or tangle, don’t stress, even experienced anglers experience this sometimes. For those who want to avoid this problem, a switch to overhead or spincast style reel exists as a much more reliable, albeit nowhere near as accurate (in terms of lure casting) option, the spincast is often used by children learning to fish, as it is a simple press button style and is easier learnt compared to spin reels.
The fundamental goal in fishing is to co-ordinate the pole, reel and line to get the correct casting distance and angle, many people begin fishing swinging the pole like a baseball bat, this is not a correct method unless you are fishing in narrow waters where a direct cast is very difficult. The best way for lures or small baits is to cast overhead, take the pole and take it completely over your shoulder, so the line is inverted, ensure nobody is walking behind or beside you and if clear, bring the rod fast over your head to around chest height on a 75 degree angle, letting the line go as it passes through becoming completely vertical.
This will ensure the longest distance is achieved and the lure or bait will travel completely in front of your starting angle, if the cast is too short, you can increase the power of which you bring it over your shoulder, or if the distance too long, lower the amount of force you use to bring it over your shoulder vertically.
This article has covered the very basics of how to begin fishing, what we haven’t yet covered is knots, specific bait rigs, how to choose a bait, and what equipment is required to rig a line with bait or a lure.
For now we will end with the items you should have at minimum before heading out, they include fishing nets, fishing pliers / scissors (these are often combined together and ensure you are able to remove the hook from the fishes mouth easily), a fishing priest (a small metal club used to kill fish, they should never be left out of water to die as this is stressful to them, a heavy hit a few times just behind the eyes on the absolute top of the head will kill most fish, for eels though a sharp blade straight through this area wiggled when no more impact can be had is the regular method for ray finned or flat headed fish).
Remember to bring a basic first aid kit too, cuts are common when you begin fishing, as is getting hooked yourself on a lure or baited line if the correct care is not taken.
If it is a warm day then a small plastic container filled with ice to keep the bait in is a good method, as is wearing a cap and placing sunscreen to ensure you aren’t burnt to a crisp and able to fish again the following day or weekend!
Bring some snacks for lunch in case it is not your lucky day fishing is also good, not every-time you go out will you hook a fish, and it may take some time initially, but persistence will always eventually pay off.
Good luck and tight lines!
Fishing for carp is extremely popular in Europe and Asia, and is quickly gaining momentum in Australia and North America, where is has been introduced and can be found in many residential waterways.
The fish fight really well, making an impressive catch as they jump out of the water in their attempt to escape, often this can break the line, adding a challenge to carp fishing that is rarely seen in other fish such as perch.
This video shows all the info you need when targeting carp, how the fish fights and how to ensure your catch is successful. A small size 6 hook is often enough when fishing for European carp.
Fishing for carp is also a great way to assist your local waterways, for fish that were introduced to your region, there is often no catch or bag limits, so you can catch fish all day long.
They can also be easily dispatched (put to death) using a heavy fishing priest, giving a carp a few strong hits on the top of the head just behind the eyes is often enough to kill it, for smaller fish you can also use a clove bath (a plastic container filled with 50ml clove oil to 1 litre of water), in the clove bath the fish will pass out within a few seconds, and can be left in there for 30 minutes until death is assured, then they can be placed in a bin.
As clove oil is expensive, it is recommended to keep the water and re-use it each trip, but remember, always dispose of unwanted carp in a bin, as leaving them on the banks is not very considerate of other fishers (because of the smell).
All fishermen and women alike have been known to float fish at some time in their hobby / profession. A fishing float is the most simple and effective way to tell when a fish has taken bait, as bait fishing usually involves some slack line, the strike of the fish onto the bait may not travel the entire length back to the rod for indication, hence the fishing float comes in to provide a reliable way of detecting when a fish is on the bait.
Most people know of the most basic style of fishing float, these are often small red and white plastic balls with a button on top. Many people often incorrectly fish these floats by placing a swivel on both top and bottom, in reality however, the design of this type of fishing float is meant to only encompass the usage of a swivel attachment at the bottom as you press the button in.
In fact, the great majority of fishing floats often require attachment from the bottom only, most fishing floats on the market tend to allow only for bottom attachment, this is often seen as more reliable, and allows the float to sway much easier, instead of being dragged along, a float attached from the bottom only will sway side to side, and respond quickly to any small movement in the line. Only in western countries has the “inline” fishing float proven popular, mainly due to it’s ease of use and the extra weight it provides on the line, another likeable feature is it’s inability to come off the line (unless the line snaps), they are however not as accurate as a bottom mounted float such as a pencil float.
Things in the west however are changing, with more fishermen and women from Asia and Europe integrating into society, we are moving towards using the bottom only style of fishing float quickly. For this reason, you should consider learning how to attach a fishing float to your line from the bottom of the float only, give it a chance and you will soon realise this is a much more reliable method of fishing, and allows you to use such floats as a pencil float, extremely popular in Europe and Asia, but rarely used by locals in the commonwealth or North America.
The main benefits of using a fishing float are as follows:
Your bait and line will remain suspended in the water column, important for presentation and detection by passing fish, surface bait and bottom bait only target species who are solely seeking out food, where as a central or slightly suspended bait inside the water column provides the ability for all passing fish to detect and consider taking an easy meal.
Bottom fishing often causes many snags, and when fishing with a sinker, there is nothing more annoying than hooking onto a fish, only to soon realise your line has become snagged and you will have to cut the line off or potentially snap it trying to get it free. This method of fishing also produces the most ‘line litter’ in the waterways, leaving fishing line in the water isn’t a good idea as it can cause harm to all species that use the waterway. Ducks for example are well known to dive under water and take fishing baits.
A float drifts with a light breeze, meaning that your bait will also move along with the waters surface movement, a slow moving bait is always more attractive to a fish.
The most obvious benefit however is that you will never have to guess if a fish has your line, once a fish strikes, or even bumps the bait (if using a bottom mounted float), the fishing float will move. Over time you will begin to be able to detect by the floats movement when a fish has brushed against your bait, when it is taking a quick taste test, and when it has actually taken the bait and it’s time to strike.
Carp fishing is fun, but can be frustrating at times. While the fish are extremely good at sucking up anything that seems foodworthy from the bottom of a river, they are also fussy eaters and will blow back out any bait that they consider suspicious. While you will often be lucky with baits such as dead worms threaded onto a hook, when it comes to man made baits, finding the correct type can be a challenge. Nothing beats the feelign though of a carp hooked up to your line, as they jump and fight their way loose, and you fight back hoping that the hook has set properly.
Carp will also surface feed if you provide them with things like trout pellets, cat biscuits, frozen peas, bread and canned corn. These baits are cheap and effective, just attach them to a small size 6 hook and go fishing, most times bread proves the winning bait, especially for people new to carp fishing.
For the pellets and biscuits, dip them quickly in some water before you leave home, then place them into a sealed plastic bag, after about an hour they will be soft enough to place on a hook. Always have a back-up bait such as bread, dough balls, or corn though, just incase the pellets / biscuits become too soggy. Soggy bait doesn’t go to waste however, just throw it in the region where your corn or bread is floating and it will sit in the water column, attracting not only carp but also perch, tench and trout!
Once carp are interested in feeding you will often see them floating around the area of your bait, give them time to feel that the bait is safe to take from the surface, as they are quite fussy with surface baits and the slightest sign of a human nearby will have them swimming for their life, and unlikely to return. You will need to have some stealth about you, avoid sudden movements and wait until you are sure the bait has been taken before setting the hook.
Another method can be to throw whatever you are using for bait into the water first, until you see them eating it from the surface, at that time, from a distance the carp can not see your movement, cast out the bait on a hook, the carp will often be in a feeding frenzy at this time, so will try to quickly snap up your bait before competition arrives. This method can be extremely enjoyable and fun, as you get to see every little bit of the action.
Things to remember when carp fishing:
Carp will always taste food before they fully inhale it, if they don’t like the taste they will spit it out in fear and will not return.
Large carp such as those found naturally in Europe are much heavier, and require a much heavier line to sustain them, most people prefer to use a 50lbs line with a smaller, 20lbs or so leader when targeting them in their natural range.
Although tench are a little different to carp, most carp fishing techniques will work well with tench too, tench are great eating and far superior in taste to european carp.
European carp (and european perch) love the taste of strawberry, if fishing with bread, dipping it in some strawberry essence mixed with water can add extra attraction to your bait.
On all baits, you can use a 3 foot leader with a float attached if you need some extra distance. Otherwise dough balls are usually a good weight for casting a fair distance, they will float if you added yeast to the mix beforehand, or if you want a sinking bait just avoid using self-raising flour, or regular flour with added yeast or bi-carb soda.
Don’t forget that the 3 foot leader must be of a 10lbs rating or higher, 12lbs is preferred for regular sized carp. This can be regular mono-filament and doesn’t need to be anything special, the good thing about fishing for carp is you can keep your costs down, so there is often no need for fancy line or equipment, but of course, sometimes there is! 😉
Keeping a good amount of bait as an attractant is the most professional way of catching carp, pre baiting a fishng spot for one or two days earlier at the time you plan fishing the third day can get the local fish in that area accustomed to when food is available, making the third days fishing much more productive.
Remember to keep patient, avoid fast movements, and keep hidden from the carps line of sight for all to work out well!
Good luck and tight lines!