10 Essential Tools For Your Tackle Box
The choices for tackle box goodies seems endless, but let’s face it; there’s only so much room on the boat or only so much gear you can carry back to your secret honey hole.
I sometimes split my huge tackle boxes into smaller packs so I can travel light, especially if I’m packing things in to a remote location, but even if I’m fishing from my bass boat I still like to keep things on the lighter side these days.
However, I absolutely do not travel without these 10 essential tackle box tools. And when I say tools, I’m not talking about fishing gear, we all pack enough of that already!
Here they are, in no particular order.
Needle Nose Pliers – No way I can be without these. They perform so many functions besides taking hooks out. I’ve used them to pull hooks out of my own flesh and well as that of various fishing partners, as well as pulling cotter pins and other various tasks that always seem to pop up when you’re out on the water.
TIP: Get a GOOD pair. Spend a little extra to make sure they won’t rust on you. Multitools count, and can be a lifesaver, but again, please get a GOOD one. My favorite is here.
Sunscreen – You should never be without sunscreen if you spend any significant amount of time outdoors. Take it from someone who’s had chunks of skins removed from time to time. SPF 50 is my go to stuff now, and I reapply often.
TIP: Do not blow this off. It takes just 2 minutes to apply sunscreen to all exposed areas, and you’ll be saving yourself lots of pain and suffering down the road.
Insect Repellent – I don’t know about you, but bugs are attracted to me like kids to a candy store. And I get into some pretty remote places in pursuit of fish, places where bugs outnumber people one million to one.
I won’t recommend one brand over another here, but look for some towelettes that contain all-natural repellents. Some products that contain DEET can actually damage your outdoor equipment.
Pocket Rain Poncho – There’s no excuse not to have one of these pocket-sized game-savers. They’re cheap, small enough to fit almost anywhere, and can really help you out in a pinch. Storms can come up quickly when you’re on the water; having one of these can mean the difference between having a nice, dry day or a wet, miserable one. Good luck trying to get it back into the package!
Tape Measure – I mostly practice catch and release these days, but I do occasionally keep a fish or two for the frying pan. When I do, I have to be certain I’m following the laws and regulations in the area I’m fishing. It’s part of being a responsible outdoorsman, and I take pride in it.
Don’t tell my wife, but I stole a cloth tape measure she uses for sewing, and tucked it into my tackle box. It weighs next to nothing, rolls up to about an inch across, and extends to 60 inches. Perfect for my needs. Just don’t tell her!
Small First Aid Kit – This is also a must. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but should contain pain relievers, different sized bandages, antibiotic ointment, alcohol cleaning pads, and butterfly bandages, at a minimum.
They’re small, cheap, and lightweight, so there’s no excuse for not carrying one.
Flashlight – There’s no end to the variety of choices when it comes to small flashlights. Any LED beam with do the trick, but you might want to invest a bit more in one that is durable and waterproof. They can light your way on a trail in the backcountry or help you untangle lines in low light conditions.
This is my favorite one.
Fingernail Clippers – You can either use ordinary fingernail clippers or ones that are designed especially for fisherman, but don’t leave on a fishing trip without this useful little tool. I have a pair that are attached to a lanyard that I can clip on fishing vest, and I’ve seen some that are on a retractable reel. These are very handy, and I consider them a must-have.
Whistle – Purely for safety, a whistle can get someone’s attention from a long distance.
Contact Information – Write your name and contact information of your spouse or significant other, along with any medications you’re currently taking, your doctor’s name and phone number, and other pertinent information you can think of, and place it in a zippered sandwich bag to keep it dry. It could come in handy if you run into trouble and can’t respond to rescuer’s questions.
These are the items that I don’t go fishing without. I’m sure you can think of others that I omitted, and maybe we need to increase the number to 15 or 20 items, but at a minimum I think these will serve you well.
These can always be adjusted or substituted for depending upon where your fishing trip takes you, so don’t be afraid to swap things out when necessary.
Good luck and tight lines!