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10 Things That Every Angler Should Have in Their Tackle Box

These items need to be in your tackle box to execute successful fishing trips.

Photo via Bass Pro Shops
Photo via Bass Pro Shops

Every angler knows about the basic fishing tackle that belongs in his or her box. Bobbers, sinkers, leaders, weights, swivels, baits, hooks (preferably of several different sizes), and excess fishing line are all tackle box essentials that you would be hard pressed to forget about when heading out on a fishing trips. Fly anglers, on the other hand, will pack most of their tackle boxes with various sizes and designs of flies.

However, a tackle box isn't just made for carrying the items you actually put in the water to catch fish. On the contrary, roughly half of your tackle box should be stocked with items that have next to nothing to do with your casting line or lure.

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These items, unsurprisingly, are also the ones that are most frequently forgotten by anglers, so use the following list as a checklist to make sure you are always stocking your box with all of the necessary items.

View the slideshow to stock your tackle box.

Needlenose Pliers

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No angler worth his or her salt is going to forget to bring hooks to a fishing outing. However, you'd be surprised at how many fishing enthusiasts don't have a set of high-quality needlenose pliers in their tackle box for working with those hooks. The most common job for needlenose pliers on a fishing boat is to remove hooks from the lips of fish that have already been caught. However, pliers can serve a wide variety of other purposes too, from helping you to assemble your baits to pulling poorly aimed hooks out of your own skin without causing too much damage.

Fillet Knife

Bass Pro Shops

If you have one tool in your tackle box, you should make it the pliers, but a sharp, rust-proof, stainless steel fillet knife should be next on your list. Regardless of whether you need to clean fish, cut line, slice up baits, open cans, or perform other task around your boat, a fillet knife is an item that is versatile, essential, and inexpensive.

No excuses for not having one in your tackle box.

Insect Repellant & Sunscreen

Photo via and Bass Pro Shops

Don't become one of the many anglers left at the mercy of the sun on hot afternoon fishing cruises in the dead of summer. Don't become a victim of mosquitos and other nasty biters on evening fishing outings, either. Too many fishermen forget to pack bottles of sunscreen and insect repellent in their tackle box, and most of them pay the price in some way or another. Whether that price is a mild sunburn, a bevy of itchy bites, or skin cancer, it's not worth paying when you can easily avoid it.

Pain Relievers

Photo via Bass Pro Shops

Just like nobody needs a nasty sunburn or a group of bloodsucking insects ruining their fishing trip, no one needs to have their fun spoiled by a headache or a migraine. Throw a bottle of Advil into your tackle box just in case. Alternatively, if you need to take other medications throughout an average day, pack everything in a plastic baggy and stow it with your fishing line or dry tackle. It won't take you long to pack this stuff, but you'll be glad you did if you start feeling a bit under the weather while out on the boat.

Lip Grip Scale and Ruler

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If we were to run a survey of the most oft-forgotten tackle box essentials, it would be a safe bet to guess that the outright winner would be one or both of these measurement essentials. For how much we talk about bag limits and minimum catch sizes in the fishing community, you'd be amazed at how many anglers let all thought of length and weight restrictions drift off into the ether when they head out for a fishing adventure. A digital lip grip scale and a cheap ruler can help you grab quick measurements for both categories, saving you the headache of catching a fish that you weren't permitted to catch.


Photo via Bass Pro Shops

If you're one of those anglers who likes to venture out on fishing outings in the evening, then a flashlight is an obvious essential for your tackle box. Fishing at sunset can be a beautiful and fulfilling end to your day, but once the sun has gone beyond the horizon, it will become much more difficult for you to find your way home. Have a flashlight to save you from wandering around aimlessly and running into things in the dark.

Hook File

Photo via Bass Pro Shops

There's no need to kick your hooks to the curb at the first sign of dullness. Instead, have a hook file or two handy in your tackle box so that you can keep your hooks sharp and ready to be fished for twice as long.

Fingernail/Line Clippers

Photo via Bass Pro Shops

Okay, you may not need to clip your fingernails while out on the boat - though it's a fair bet that there are anglers who do just that - but a set of fingernail clippers can be good to have if you need to quickly snip a fishing line.

First Aid Kit

Its tough to imagine getting seriously injured while fishing, but it happens. A First Aid Kit can go a long way, especially if you are on a boat, far from shore and any medical help. Invest in a First Aid Kit small enough to fit in your tackle box, but don't get hung up on size. If it doesn't fit in your box, just ensure that you bring it with you every time you fish. It's one of those "better to have it and not need it, than need it and not have it" situations.


Photo via Bass Pro Shops

Sometimes, cuts or bites are unavoidable, but with a thick pair of protective fishing gloves, you will be able to cut down significantly on your level of risk. Whether you are handling one fish you just caught or trying to pry a stuck hook out of another fish's mouth, you want to protect yourself from the bites, cuts, scrapes, scratches, or other injuries that could befall you and easily become infected. In that case, protective gloves are a must for any tackle box.

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10 Things That Every Angler Should Have in Their Tackle Box