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Fishing is a great way for families and friends to enjoy being outdoors and learn new skills. Pack your tackle box with these basic necessities for a fun and successful spring fishing trip. Don’t forget to bring along your fishing license and a camera to capture all the memories.
Hooks of various sizes Hooks should be large enough to hold the bait, but small enough to fit in the fish’s mouth. Always use the smallest hook possible for the type of fish you are trying to catch. The smaller the fish, the smaller the hook you should use. Make sure your hooks are sharp.
Bobbers Bobbers keep your bait where the fish are biting, keep bait off the bottom and signal when a fish nibbles at the bait by bobbing up and down. The size of the bobber should match the weight of the bait and other tackle on the line.
Sinkers These small weights carry your bait down to the depths where fish are lurking. They also keep the line tight so you can tell when a fish bites. Use enough split shot on your line so the bobber rests upright and half of it sticks out of the water.
Swivels Swivels are attached to your line before the lure, so that the lure spins without twisting your fishing line. The size of your swivel should match the size of your lure.
Artificial lures Artificial lures (jigs, plugs, spoons, spinners, plastic worms) are available in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Select a few types of lures in sizes that can be used for the fish you most often seek. Beetle spins and mighty mites are good for catching game fish.
It takes time to build up an assortment of lures. Start with an assortment of jigs (1/32 to ½ ounce) for deeper-water fishing, a standard floating crankbait for mid-depth fishing and a small buzz-bait for topwater fishing.
Extra fishing line Fishing line often breaks or gets tangled up during a fishing trip. Keeping spare line in your tackle box lets you replace the line on your reel and continue your fishing experience.
Needle nose pliers Helpful for removing hooks from the mouths of fish you catch. They're also handy to undo crimp sinkers from your line.
Finger nail clipper A handy tool to cut free a hook swallowed by a fish or trim a knot.
Measuring tape Measure your catch from the tip of the nose to the end of the tail. Special regulations on some lakes and streams restrict the size of fish you can keep. Always have a copy of the current fishing regulations with you.
Small first aid kit A basic first aid kit will help you quickly treat minor injuries such as punctures from hooks, scratches or bug bites.
Personal safety gear Keep a bottle of sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses, and a hat with a brim in your tackle box to help protect you from the sun. Check weather conditions before leaving for your fishing trip. Wearing long sleeves will protect your skin from the sun and biting insects, but don’t forget the bug spray. A small flashlight is helpful if you are fishing late in the evening.
Start planning your first fishing outing of the season with our places to fish webpages. Be sure to sign up for the weekly fishing report and follow us on Twitter for updates, and get tips and tricks from our Iowa Fishing board on Pinterest.