Fishermen tend to focus on tackle and ignore their tools and accessories. I was the same way until I got my first boat and needed something while out on the lake. Over time I’ve learned what the truly essential fishing tools and accessories are. None of these items are expensive, but they each have their uses and are important in their own way. Here are my top 10 fishing tools, in no particular order.
1. Fishing PliersA pair of aluminum pliers is the most basic fishing tool that every angler should carry with them. Aluminum is generally better than steel, as they won’t rust, and most come with built in carbide steel cutters. Whether you fish from shore or a bass boat, you need to have them with you to cut line, bend things, remove treble hooks from fish, and in an emergency remove hooks from your skin.
2. ScissorsA small pair of scissors is great for cutting regular monofilament, fluorocarbon, and braid. The key is to buy a good pair that has sharp cutting blades like Fiskars brand. The scissors can also help cut fabric when a stray hook gets stuck in clothes, carpet, or nylon.
3. Multi-ToolA multi-tool should be required every day carry in your tackle box or boat. A good multi-tool can help fix minor equipment problems like the screws in your baitcaster, or fixing the drag on a spinning reel.
I once had a friend who lost the wire clip inside his spinning reel spool, and was able to replace it with a light wire hook using just a multi-tool. You could say he was the MacGyver of fishermen that day.
4. First Aid KitA small first aid kit fits in backpacks or soft side tackle boxes pretty easily. The kind I am talking about come in a small waterproof pouch.
It’s a good idea because you never know when you will get cut by fish teeth, line, or get a hook stuck on your body somewhere. You will be thankful for the antibiotics, pain relief, and wound dressings if you ever get into a situation.
5. Digital ScaleI like having a digital scale with me at all times because you never know when you might set the hook on your next personal best.
There were so many times in my youth when I caught a big largemouth bass and had no scale to verify how big I thought it was in my mind. A small handheld digital fishing scale would have put a number to the fish I had caught.
Related: Fishing Backpacks for Bank Anglers
6. Digital CameraLike the scale, you never know when you might catch a picture worthy fish. I like having a real camera with as opposed to just my cell phone because I can set a timer and get into position for a real picture.
Too many millennials “pro fishermen” think a “selfie” with their fish qualifies as a good fish photo. It doesn’t. An alternative to a regular camera is the GoPro. You can set a GoPro to take photos at regular intervals, so you can set the camera down and get into the frame for a sweet fish “hero shot”.
7. Landing NetWhether you fish from the bank or from a boat, a good landing net makes the task of retrieving your fish from the water so much easier. From the bank you can reach fish from places where you might not be able to safely reach into the water. From a boat, a net will save you from taking a dive into the lake when there are whitecap rollers on the water. My perfect net would be one that folds up and have an extendable handle.
8. Neck GaiterAnglers need to take sun protection more seriously. Sunscreen can be annoying to apply all the time because it’s expensive, greasy, and smells bad. A high SPF fishing gaiter is the answer. I used to use a Buff brand gaiter, but now I love the Simms SunGaiter because it has a better shape for your head and neck, and has built in breathing holes in the face portion of the gaiter.
9. Microfiber TowelsI always carry a half dozen microfiber towels in my boat because they are so good at cleaning things. I use it to wipe down my fish finder screens to prevent water spotting. I also use them with a good hull cleaner like Bow to Stern to wipe down my boat every time I pull it out of the water. I buy them in packs of 10 and they last a long time because they can be washed many times without getting worn out.
10. Super GlueSuper glue has several uses in fishing. First, you can use a dab of it to keep plastic trailers and skirts attached to your jigs.
Second, some people like super glue for gluing knots, to prevent them from slipping.
Third, super glue is good for emergencies, like repairs, or closing a cut when you have no access to bandages.
Image via Flickr/CC: saintseminole