If you’re new to fishing and are looking for a solid starter setup for tackle, you’ve come to the right spot. We’re going to go over what all you need to carry to make your first few fishing trips fun and easy to navigate.
Some of the things you’ll always want in your tackle box or bag, regardless of what you’re fishing for are:
- Tackle box or bag itself
- Fishing line
There are plenty of things that you should carry in your tackle box, but the items we list here will get you out fishing quickly and cheaply, with quality gear. And who knows, you just might get hooked!
What to Carry?
To set up a proper beginner tackle box, you’ll need to have a variety of different styles of the items mentioned above. A few different styles of hooks, lures, and other essential tackle should all be included in your box. That way you’re ready for whatever situation you find yourself in!
This collection will go over the 11 things every beginner should carry in their tackle box. You’ll be ready in case of problems you might encounter, different fish you want to try and catch, and different seasons and bodies of water, all without diving too deep into a hobby that can easily drain your wallet.
1. Tackle Bag
Plano Weekend Series Tackle Case
This tackle case is a great option for when you're just starting out and it will remain useful even if you decide to take on fishing full time.
For starters, you’re going to want a box or bag to put everything in! There are plenty of options out there, but in my experience, bags are the way to go nowadays. I love a lot of the old-school parts of fishing, and a traditional box is part of that old-school way.
That being said, tackle bags have come so far it’s very hard to not go with one to hold your gear. They have a lot more storage options, allowing a little more options for you to customize your setup. They are also much easier to carry than a tackle box.
As a beginner, you should look for something smaller that will fit two to three plastic tackle cases. This should give you enough room for carrying everything on this list, without making it too heavy to lug around. There is plenty of time to upgrade later if you need a larger size.
You’ll want to carry a few different styles of hooks depending on what kind of fish you are looking for. If you’re using plastic lures to fish for bass, one of the most common types of hooks to use is a plastic worm hook.
When fishing for catfish, circle hooks are some of the best for keeping fish on the line. This makes them perfect for beginners who haven’t perfected setting a hook. They are also harder for fish to swallow, making unhooking the fish easier as well.
Berkley Powerbait Crappie Nibbles
This bait will help you catch crappie, perch, and bluegill.
There are several different types of bait for several different types of fish. Some of these baits you can carry in your bag, and others should be bought the day of, or at least stored in a refrigerated space.
Live worms are great bait for catching catfish. Just hook the worm onto a circle hook a few times and cast it out!
My favorite bait to keep in my bag is a case of crappie nibbles from Berkley. Hook one to a small circle hook and fish it six inches or so under a bobber. This bait is perfect for catching crappie as the name suggests, but also for perch and bluegill.
KVD Finesse Spinnerbait
This all around spinner bait fishing lure has a small profile and a realistic look that will get you many strikes.
Lure fishing for bass can be one of the most rewarding ways to fish, so you’ll want a few go-to lures in your bag. If you’re interested in learning more about what lures to carry, check out our article on The Best Bass Lures.
For a beginner tackle box, you should carry a plastic lure or two, a spinnerbait, and maybe a bass jig. If you only want to carry one lure, look for the KVD Finesse Spinnerbait. This lure gives you a great chance at catching some serious fish.
5. Fishing Line
You’ll always want a little spare line in your bag in case you have to restring a reel. Changing lures and getting stuck are all things that can take some of your line, so always be ready with some extra.
For a beginner, I think a 20-pound test braid line is the way to go. It is plenty strong, and much thinner than monolines, allowing you to put more on the hook. Look for it in a color that matches the most common bodies of water you fish.
A compact and durable multi-tool includes flat nose pliers, wire strippers, knife blade, Phillips head screwdriver, flat head screwdriver, saw, bottle opener, and scissors.
Every angler knows that they’ll need a few different tools when hitting the water. Generally, these tools will be able to help you cut your fishing line, and get hooks out of fish that are set really deep.
Carrying a multi-tool can help cut down on the number of tools you carry, especially if you go with a smaller bag like the one mentioned earlier. Take a look at the Cabela’s Multi-Tool. It fits great and doesn’t take up much room, and includes more tools than you should ever need on the water.
I recommend that beginners use swivels when they are starting out. Swivels allow you to change out different hooks and lures without having to cut off the fishing line. When you get into fishing more, you may decide to ditch the swivel because of a different feel with them.
Make sure you get a few that seem easy to open. There are a lot of swivels out there that can be a pain to use, making it more of a lateral move from cutting the line.
Using a bobber is a technique that you will likely use all throughout your fishing career. It is a perfect way to tell when a fish has taken your bait without having to hold the pole the entire time.
Grab a few bobbers in a few different colors, and experiment with how high above the hook you attach it. For smaller fish in shallow waters, about six inches above the hook is great. If you are going for larger fish, try attaching the bobber one to two feet above the hook and bait.
Using weights will help you be able to sink your bait faster, and cast it farther. There a plenty of options when it comes to weights, giving you plenty to choose from, but I think two types of fishing weights are essential.
The first is a bag of split shot weights. These weights just clamp onto your fishing line, usually just a few inches above the hook. Then you have cone-shaped slipped weights, which are perfect for using a plastic worm with a Texas Rig.
I know gloves aren’t very masculine according to a lot of old-school fishermen, but you’ll always want a pair handy just in case. There’s nothing worse than getting finned and cut open by a fish just because you didn’t want to put on gloves.
The material is entirely up to you and your preference. I have used leather gloves because of their durability, as well as polyester gloves because of the freedom and ease of use in the fingertips.
11. A Rag
You should always carry a rag of some kind in your tackle bag. You’re bound to get all sorts of gunk on your hands if you’re rigging up live worms or handling fish. You don’t want to just wipe it on your pants, so bring an old rag or t-shirt or something.
You can spend a good amount of money on a high-tech fishing towel, but it is just going to get gross and smell bad, so I say save the money when you’re starting out.
Ready to Go Boxes
If you’re not ready to pull the trigger on buying all of this gear separately, or you would like to see some different options, there are pre-made beginner tackle boxes. These will give you a good understanding of what you might like to add to your bag in the future as well.
Ready2Fish Fishing Tackle Box Organizer
This pre-made kit includes many of the things on this list, as well as some others. It has bobbers, weights, plastic lures, and things that weren’t mentioned, like a stringer.
Eagle Claw E.C. Fresh Water Tackle Kit
This kit comes with several different types of hooks, a few lures, bobbers, and even a line snip tool so you don’t have to carry a pocket knife, although I still would.
Time to Start Fishing!
After going through our list of what to have in a beginner tackle box, you should be well equipped to get out onto the open water and start enjoying your new hobby with some success! Everyone will have differing opinions on what EXACT items you need to carry, but most anglers will agree that these are the main things every beginner should carry.
If you are looking for more info on what kind of reel you should put on your rod, check out our article on Best Spinning Reels Under $100. Spinning reels are the most common type of reel used, and very easy for beginners to learn. With the list keeping all the items under $100, it’s hard to go wrong when looking for a starter set up!