What to Put in a Fishing Tackle Box

Preparing for Your Next Fishing Trip

June 9, 2016
Fishing tackle box-Fisherman-Thinkstock

A fully equipped tackle box comes in handy when out in the wilds.

Photo by Thinkstock

Before you head out to the ol’ fishing hole, make sure you’ve checked your fishing tackle box.  Believe us, you want to be prepared with the right stuff once you’re out on the water.

Of course, the contents of your tackle box will vary, depending on the type of fish you plan to catch, but this is a typical tackle box for you (or a loved one) to get started.

Tackle-Box Checklist

  • Extra fishing line
  • Lures or flies
  • Bobbers (or, floaters) 
  • Swivels, to keep fishing line from twisting
  • Leaders
  • Sinkers (or, weights)
  • Different sizes of hooks (for different types of fish)
  • Needle nose pliers, to help remove hooks out of fish (and maybe you!)
  • Stringer, to hold all the fish you catch
  • Sharp knife (such as a Swiss Army knife)
  • Ruler/scale
  • A small flashlight
  • First-aid kit (with basics just in case a hook gets stuck in your thumb)
  • Insect repellent
  • Sunscreen


Reader Suggestions

  • Unscented soap to wash your hands before handling bait. –suggested by Jerry Buerge
  • Plastic worm and a couple of lures to attract fish. –suggested by Andy Fox

Are we missing anything? What else would you put in a tackle box? Please post below!

Read more on our Best Fishing Days page.


This article was originally published in 2012 and has been updated.


Reader Comments

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I always have a bottle of

I always have a bottle of vitem E in my tackel box. Becouse if I get stuck with a fish hook or stuck by a cat fish or even cut. I just open the vitem E pill and put the oil on the sore place . And this will take away the pain and sorness .

Ora-Jel does the same thing

Ora-Jel does the same thing as well & it's available at just about any grocery store and/or pharmacy.
Its numbing effect takes but seconds to kick in & usually lasts for several hours.

There is also an herbal remedy that will do the same thing...it's called Arnica. It's available at most, if not all, health food stores.

As a new fisher man

As a new fisher man myself i think back alot to that day my mother help me bag my first bluegil it wasn't that 1 lb er that amm looking for now a days to be a master ok tips size 8 hook 1 oz sinker 10 - 20 line ok baits corn hot dogs use some fish or beef about the size of your finger nail for some fun bass is still new to me but i had luck on a black sliver and white with red eyes crank bait i lost this one this weekend it was good for 3 13 in s m bass that all i no for now keep a line out for me , deluge

Once tackle packed and

Once tackle packed and checklist ticked dont forget the tackle box.Also a good idea to check weather wind tides and almanac first.

Also check the battery's in

Also check the battery's in the flash light , I heard anchovies are great bait

I fish in salt water for striped bass and blue fish , flounders. Any tricks on which bait is best . Besides bunker, clams

I keep hemostats in my box.

I keep hemostats in my box. They are great for removing the hook from the fish and for sqeezing those small sinkers onto your line.

I will tell you one better

I will tell you one better than pliers. Buy a flat tip screwdriver and cut a groove in the middle of it . It works good for getting them hooks out.

For saltwater fishing... The

For saltwater fishing...
The best way to limit out is using a sail line. 36 hooks at a time bets 1 or 2 hooks
any day of the week...Ha...Ha...Ha...

36 HOOKS?!? Isn't that just a

36 HOOKS?!?

Isn't that just a wee bit illegal?
And how in the world do you keep all that from getting tangled into a bird's nest?

I think I'll stick to my 1 or 2 hooks per pole...some days I have trouble managing that let alone 36 hooks.

Bring a towel to wipe you

Bring a towel to wipe you hands after you handle a fish, your hands get greasy and smelly.
Also an extra shirt so when you get in yiur car u dont smell up the whole car, and water to was your hand because you dont want to rub yoj r hands in your car.

Baby wipes. bringing a towel,

Baby wipes.
bringing a towel, unscented soap, clean water, a container to clean yourself up in, is too much to carry for me. I keep a box of unscented baby wipes to clean up with, and a golf towel to dry off with. These 2 items have served me well through the years & are very compactable & easy to carry from point "A" to point "B".

Buy the generic brand & they're low cost too! 8 - )

I would also make sure that

I would also make sure that you don't forget your string or bucket and if you bow fish don't forget your arrows.

My husband keeps fingernail

My husband keeps fingernail clippers in his box for cutting line, and pinching weights closed.

I am taking my daughter on

I am taking my daughter on her very first fishing trip in california. we used to live in southeast texas and could fish out of our back yard. but this is going to be a new thing for both of us considering now we have to make sure you pack up everything. the posts on here have been greatly helpful! thank you!

This may sound kind of crazy,

This may sound kind of crazy, childish or immature, but until you & your daughter get into the swing of fishing on a regular basis, make a list of everything you NEED to bring, and another list of what you WANT to bring.

Do this 3 or 4 days in advance of the trip so you can fine tune it accordingly.

It is always better safe than sorry...this way you won't forget as much important stuff(IF, if you forget anything at all).

1/2 pint of brandy to put on

1/2 pint of brandy to put on insect bites also a little sip now and then is good for your health.

It would be more advisable to

It would be more advisable to use a natural bug repellent as opposed to brandy...
Natural bug repellent will not get you arrested for public intoxication or driving drunk(which is even more dangerous); brandy just might do that.
The recipe for natural bug repellent & more can be found here:


Bug Spray Ingredients:
Essential oils: choose from Citronella, Clove, Lemongrass, Rosemary, Tea Tree, Cajeput, Eucalyptus, Cedar, Catnip, Lavender, Mint
Natural Witch Hazel
Distilled or boiled Water
Vegetable glycerin (optional)

I have made this bug repellent & other stuff from this Lady's website & I have yet to find anything of hers that does not do as she says it will do.

Take an extra reel--if the

Take an extra reel--if the fish are biting and you get your line snarled, it is quicker and easier to switch reels than the headache of trying to untangle your line.

TY for posting

TY for posting this...
Unfortunately, it's too late for me, I learned this tip the hard way.

Now I carry a total of 3 reels(one on my pole & 2 extras), a 300 foot spool of braided fishing line, and lots of extras for that 'just in case' moment.

Don't forget your small

Don't forget your small crochet hook for deranged your line.

Yeah, that should be

Yeah, that should be "detangle" NOT "deranged"!

Also dont forget a glove if

Also dont forget a glove if you are one of the more squeemish or scared of touching a big greasy scaly fish!

There is a tool that is

There is a tool that is better than any glove(in my humble opinion anyway) on the market for holding onto fish after they are caught...
It's called the Boga Grip, and it can be found at Bass Pro Shops as well as Cabela's.

I'm sure that other fishing gear type stores have the same or similar items to this but this is what I thought of for those who have a squeamish nature to handling fish.



Dont forget 20 dollars, if

Dont forget 20 dollars, if you get skunked you go to the local fish store, buy a lunker. When you get home note how well you cleaned that fish

It never hurts to have a few

It never hurts to have a few night-crawlers along, just go outside after dark when the dew hits the grass. Take a flashlight and you can catch enough for a good day of fishing, 'cause everything eats night-crawlers....kind of like crack for fish...

Sardines in soy oil work

Sardines in soy oil work wonders either in summer or ice fishing. Marinate your shrimp bait in the sardines over night. Brookies love it, as do Rainbows, and no self respecting catfish can swim away from a sardine smalling bait. Try it, they'll like it, and if they don't, you can eat the sardines

Don't forget the crappie jigs

Don't forget the crappie jigs black and chartreuse red chartreuse, white chartreuse. These colors will catch
salb crappie

Definitely need a net. There

Definitely need a net. There have been a few times when I finish wrestlin a monster fish (largemouth bass usually) just to have it fall off the hook when I grab the line.

That happened to me twice.

That happened to me twice. Last week, a big Bass. And once last year, an even larger bass. Oh the hurt from that, lol. Two days ago I got one at 5 1/2 lbs. I decided not to pull her out by the line. I reached down in the water and grabbed her by the gills. So if you don't have a net and you got a big one. Try to reach down in the water and grab them by the gills (not the mouth - unless it's hooked else where).

speaking ONLY for myself,

speaking ONLY for myself, going fishing without a net is like trying to walk in cement shoes.

I have always been a prime candidate for Murphy's law...if you think you remembered everything, you still forgot the most important thing.