Hello folks, it’s been a little while since I have written a post. With spring upon us and fishing season just around the corner, I figured I would start a series revolving around fishing. As you can see from the pictures (new for my articles!), I am no stranger to wetting a line! These pictures are from a striper/rockfish trip in the Chesapeake Bay last October.
Fishing is not only a load of fun, but it’s also a great way to teach folks patience, teach folks about the natural world (great for kids), it’s a great way to get outdoors with family/friends … and contrary to common belief, you don’t have to be drunk to enjoy it (but it doesn’t hurt)!
Fishing is also a relatively low cost, low-tech, low effort way of obtaining nutrition. What’s really awesome about utilizing fishing as a way of obtaining protein is that in most areas there are predictable migration patterns for different fish species. This will allow you to catch massive quantities of fish and preserve them for later (Learn more about preserving foods, including fish HERE). Fishing also tends to have a higher caloric return than hunting, meaning that you burn fewer calories for each calorie you obtain.
Don’t believe the “hype”, some guys on TV say you need some $300 Browning bait-casting rod/reel combo… THEY LIE! I have seen a 9yr old girl land an 11.2lb bass with a snoopy pole!! Personally, I own a fishing pole for almost any situation… from a tiny ice-fishing pole… to a 14’ surf-rod… and even a 4.5’ Extra-Heavy Penn off-shore rig for deep sea fishing. However my FAVORITE “all around” rig is a basic Shakespeare “Ugly-Stick” which is a Medium/heavy freshwater combo, it was $30 and has worked GREAT for 4yrs now. Using 15lb test, I have landed 30lb catfish on this baby!
I am going to explain what I have in my BASIC kit. I keep one in my JEEP, and a matching kit in my hunting pack (doubles as a 72hr bag). This kit is good for catching just about any freshwater fish found near the east coast, and some smaller saltwater fish.
- Water-tight box, mine are about 6”Wx8”Lx4”D, it have a gasket and heavy clips that ensure a water-tight seal. I got mine at Gander Mtn. for $15ea., may be cheaper online
- 150yds- 15lb test Spider-Wire Super Monofilament, wound around a notched 3”L dowel
- 50-75yds of Spider-Wire Super-Braid Saltwater 60lb test, for trot-lines, I use another dowel for this
- Small set of nail clippers, great for trimming line close to knots
- 6 Daiichi red hooks, 3- #6 and 3- #8
- 6 Eagle-Claw gold hooks, 3- #6 and 3-#8
- 6 Eagle-Claw standard barbed hooks, 3-#6 and 3-#8
- 6 “salmon egg” hooks, I like gold Eagle-Claw
- 4 – 4/0 stainless steel circle hooks, I use these for trot lines
- I keep most of my hooks stuck into a piece of Styrofoam that’s about 4”x2”x1”. It can be used as a float if needed
- 1.5-2oz of Various sizes of split-shot weights
- 4 – ¾ – 1oz weights for trot-lines, a rock will work in a pinch
- 1 pack of “Fish-bites” bloodworm, works for salt/freshwater. Mesh inside keeps it on the hook, possible to catch several fish on one small piece
- Berkley Gulp, crappie/trout nuggets- corn/grub “flavor” work best, I keep ½ a pack pink/white and ½ pack chartreuse. Take them out of the jar and put them into a zip-top bag, uses less space
- 6 snap-swivels, I get the next-to-smallest ones I can find
- 2-4 – 8” steel leaders, work great if there are toothed predators (pike… I HATE PIKE!), can be used as snares/lashings
- Power Bar- bait in a pinch (Carp and catfish LOVE peanut butter flavor), eat it if you don’t catch anything
- 3’x1’ piece of folded up tin-foil, use it to cook, tear a couple small strips and glue them to a salmon egg hook to make a lure
- Super Glue- can be used to secure knots, close small wounds and ALWAYS handy!
- Swiss army knife, I prefer the Boy Scout or US Army models
- 4 small 1” cigar style bobbers because they fit in the box better
- 4 “beetle-spin” lures, I like 2 gold and 2 silver
- 8 ½ inch curly tail grubs, 4 white and 4 chartreuse, use with the beetle-spin lures, almost anything will bit this combo!
- 12’ Para chord… among other things, makes a great stringer!
- A small tube of “reel-grease”
- Individually wrapped Wet-wipes
- Small bottle of hand sanitizer
- Pencil wrapped with 6’ duct tape & 6’ electrical tape
- 2 compressed towels; they usually come compressed to 1”x1”. I get mine at the dollar store, open up to 6”x8”
- 2”x2” bag- a few tbsp dish soap, 1tbsp mixed with 1 quart water can coax worms out of the ground, use it to wash up, double bag it!!
- 1”x1” bags of seasonings- I like salt, pepper, old-bay, powdered lemon/lime juice/zest, Cajun blackened seasoning, dill, dehydrated onion/shallots, granulated garlic, powdered coconut milk, yellow curry powder- I pack these in their own bags, about 1.5tbsp each, and then pack the bags into a zip-top “snack-size” bag. This makes it take much less space!
Again this is just a basic kit, and I know that seems like A LOT of stuff to fit in that little box. It does take a little imagination to make it work… but it can be done! If you keep just half of the gear I do, you will be set-up to catch just about anything that swims your way! I also usually keep an ice-fishing pole in my JEEP, it was $9 on sale and works great for pan fish, but nothing much bigger.
In the next article I will explain some reasonably priced (under $50) rod/reel combo options which will cover most of the freshwater, and some lighter saltwater fishing many of us might come across. I will also tell you where you can get them, and what makes them a good choice.
OK guys it’s your turn… Do you have a basic/emergency fishing kit? If so what’s in it? If not have you considered getting/making one? Is there anything you think I missed? Are there any particular fishing rod/reel combos you would like me to focus on in the next article?
As usual, if you have any questions/comments/concerns I am interested to hear (or I guess *read* would be more appropriate!) them, just leave them in the comments section! THANKS GUYS!