There are tons of articles being written that tell you about rods, reels and bait. Heck, I’ve written a bunch of those types of articles myself, but there are very few articles that concentrate on what I call, “the other essential gear”.
You know what I am talking about. All that other stuff that we don’t think twice about until we need them. Things like knives, pliers, raingear, etc. This article is about those indispensable angling accessories.
Angling Accessories – Boxes
What do you carry your gear in? I remember the days of big, metal boxes with divided trays. Those boxes where your hooks rusted in a few days. Then the boxes changed to plastic, and though the hooks didn’t rust, your soft plastic baits melted and fused in the trays. Now we have individual plastic boxes that help to keep your baits separated and protected.
You can pick the boxes you need for your trip and leave the rest behind. Though the old days were fun, these new boxes do make angling outings easier to organise. These boxes are put out by many companies and they all do the job. Don’t purchase the name, be sure to buy the one that is fit for the purpose and that you can afford. One of the best known brands is Plano who do a wide selection of worm proof boxes and boxes for more specific functions are available from Snowbee, Tronix Fishing, VMC and UK Hooks among others.
Angling Accessories – Pliers
How many of us have left home without a set of pliers? I know that I have. There are few things worse than getting a set of treble hooks in your hand and having to cut a trip short simply because you didn’t have a set of pliers handy. In my gear I keep a pair of needle nosed pliers and on my belt I wear a Gerber multi-purpose folding tool.
This one tool has saved the day on more than one occasion. From cutting line to safely removing hooks from a less than cooperative fish, a good set of pliers is a must for all anglers. Other multifunction pliers are available in Europe from Snowbee, Grauvell and TronixPro.
Angling Accessories – Knives
So what do you do with your catch? Are you going to keep it or release it? If you are planning to keep your catch you owe it to the fish to dispatch it as quickly and humanely as possible. Everyone knows the best thing to do is to bleed your fish before throwing it in the cooler. While a small knife may be enough to do the job on a trout, larger saltwater fish need a larger knife.
A small pocket knife is not going to do the job. I carry a Gerber Gator fillet knife with a ten-inch blade just for that purpose and for preparing bait. I like this knife because it has a sharpener built into it which makes it ready to go at end of the day when you need to fillet your catch. Nothing dulls your blade quicker than bleeding and filleting a days-worth of fish. The sharpener will keep your knife ready to go when you need it. Some of the best know quality knives for filleting work on the east side of the Atlantic are supplied by Normark Rapala.
Angling Accessories – Raingear
Nothing ruins a fishing trip like being cold and wet, but rainy weather often brings the best fishing with it. What is one to do? Well, you can either suck it up and tough it out or you can go prepared. There are many brands of raingear out there, but not all can stand up to ocean spray and blowing rain.
For that reason, I pack a Hodgman Aesis rain jacket in my bag. This jacket will stand up to some pretty nasty North Atlantic weather. Quality raingear is available in the UK market from Bassboots and Vass as well as other suppliers.
Angling Accessories – Coolers
As I eat most of what I catch, I need a good cooler that will ensure that my fillets make it home in good shape. I have used many coolers in my time, but I finally found one that I like and more importantly, will do the job; the Yeti Hopper. On the boat, large chest style Yeti coolers keep both the fish and your favorite beverage cold. There is nothing like a cold one when the day is done and you are back at the dock.
Even the people at Danger Charters, who took me out for a sunset cruise in Key West, were using Yeti coolers. These coolers are used by many professional anglers because they are the best, so I couldn’t go wrong with the Hopper, which I use to transport my catch home. Coleman and Igloo supply ranges of cool boxes suitable for sea angling and smaller fabric cool bags for day trip bait storage are supplied by Tronix Fishing, Sakuma and Shakespeare.
Don’t get me wrong, having good quality rods, reels and bait, and knowing how to use them, will catch fish, but without these other tools, your time on the water could be very unpleasant. Don’t forget about these other tools. You may not need them every time out, but you’ll be glad you have them when the need arises.
Over on the informative On Track Fishing website Sean has an expanded list of what can be classed as essentials for the angler to have in their tackle armoury for successful outings.