Fishing Accessories

Regardless of the type of fishing you partake in, there are a number of accessories which can make any outing more successful.

Accessories

Stringers - If you plan to retain any fish - even if it is just a remote possibility - it is a good idea to carry a stringer with you. Stringers are most often thought of when wade fishing, but can actually be of great use while surf fishing, or fishing from the bank, a boat or a jetty.

For the purposes of saltwater fishing, particularly when wading, a stringer should be 15 - 20 feet in length. In addition, a heavy cork or float should be affixed to the terminal end. This float keeps fish floating a safe distance away - in case of a shark encounter - and also helps keep fish from burying themselves under submerged structures.  The business end of the stringer should have a sharp metal point so that fish may be run through cleanly and quickly.

Pliers - Needle-nose pliers and/or forceps are a must for any fishing trip. This tool is a great aid for hook removal, but can also perform a variety of odd tasks that may arise during a day on the water. Most wade fishermen choose forceps for their minimal bulk and weight. However, if fishing from shore or a boat, pliers are generally chosen for their versatility.

Knife - A knife is almost indispensable, particularly if you fish with bait. Obviously a fillet knife, long and slender, is in order if you plan to clean fish with it. However, for the purposes of on-the-fisherman accessories, a shorter, sturdier blade is more versatile. Something with a four or five-inch long, reasonable thick blade can be used to cut bait (fish, squid, shrimp, etc) into chunks or cubes, butterfly fish for bait or chum, break blocks of ice, and perform a variety of other tasks on board a boat or in the surf line.

Snips - Again, this is not an item you want to leave behind. Snips - whether those specifically designed for fishing or a set of household nail clippers - are extremely handy to changing baits and trimming knots. Considering the little space needed to store them (many people use a retractable pin to secure them to their shirt or jacket), there is no reason they should be left behind.

Scale - Certainly not a necessity, but a scale comes in handy when you wish to get the true weight of a fish. Length measurements are good, but even the best of weight estimates isn't completely accurate. A weighed fish is more credible.

Measuring tape - Just as a scale lends credibility to a catch, so does a measuring device. Boating anglers often mount rulers on coolers, decks or gunwhales. Wading anglers can choose from adhesive "rod-rulers" or carry soft measuring tapes such as those used by seamstresses.

Tackle boxes - There are a variety of tackle boxes - and now tackle bags - on the market today. Most serious fishermen use large tackle boxes for storage at home and tote smaller "utility" boxes with them on the water. The main thing is to find a system that carries your necessary tackle with as little dead space as possible.

Net - Although many old salts are seen shoulder-grabbing trophy trout on magazine covers, a net is much more reliable. Anglers fishing from a boat have an advantage of being able to use a wide-mouth, long handle net. Wadefishermen must opt for smaller, short-handled wade fishing models.

Rod holders - Again, not a necessity, but a rod holder affixed to a wading belt can come in handy when releasing fish or making lure changes. Again, most old salts tend to tuck the rod under one arm, which is a serviceable technique. However, rod holders are inexpensive and not particularly cumbersome. So, there really is no reason not to include one.

Camera - For most fishermen, a simple point-and-shoot film or digital camera will do the job. After all, you only need it to capture the essence of your catch. Many good weather-proof models are on the market, but any inexpensive, reasonable quality camera will suffice. Tucking the camera inside a zip-lock will keep the elements out.

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