Expert Fishing Gear

Here’s how to fine-tune your setup and find the right angling tools and tackle to match your experience and up your game.

If you’re a well-seasoned angler with years of experience, you’re likely looking for that next, best item to help up your game and increase your efficiency on the water. Matching your skill and expertise with the right equipment can give you a better chance at getting bites—and make you more comfortable while you do. These goods to complete your tackle collection go beyond the basics as well as more intermediate needs of the angler interested in simply extending their fishing seasons. So, if you’re trying to fine-tune a well-honed setup, here are the favored pieces for the hard-core and committed anglers looking to get the most out of every season and every fishing outing.

Accessories for Advanced Anglers 

Cooler

Whether you’re trying to preserve the fish you catch, or maintain the good vibes on a hot day, a good cooler can enhance your fishing experience. Knowing how you’ll use the cooler is key for knowing what to buy. If you’re more likely to do your fishing from a canoe or boat, a hard-sided heavy-duty cooler might be the right answer. If, however, you’ll be carrying your cooler to your fishing spots, consider something lighter and smaller like a soft-sided cooler, which more comfortably lugs the items needed, and leaves the insulating plastic weight behind. 

Cleaning Equipment

Whether you spend the day in saltwater or freshwater, muck and grime takes its toll on expensive fishing equipment and waterproof clothing. Build a system to properly wash off your gear (especially saltwater from any zippers) and it will last you far longer, adding extra seasons of use. At its most simple, this can be a 5-gallon bucket, but for a bit more punch, consider a self-pressurized showering system like you might see surfers or van-lifers use like the RinseKit or Yakima Road Shower. Also, take particular care of waterproof-breathable layers, especially those in any footwear, consistently freeing them of rocks and debris before applying a scrub-down.

Rod Carrying Equipment

While many beginner and intermediate anglers have gear-toting basics like tackle boxes and fishing vests, more experienced anglers may want to be able to carry a few rods. To do so more comfortably, consider a rod carrier. Look for a system that lets you carry a few rods at once, without having the reels hit one another, which can cause unnecessary damage. As a bonus, this allows you to carry the rods of friends, family, and maybe even your own children, helping those closest to you get into fishing, too. 

Emergency GPS

When you keep going farther offshore in the ocean, or deeper into the woods away from roads, a portable GPS emergency system can let your loved ones know if you get in trouble (even outside of cellular coverage). It isn’t just good insurance; it could save your life. These units are usually small, lightweight, and available with an affordable subscription plan, so you only pay for them in the months you are doing your most adventurous fishing. 

Navigation Apps 

Rather than a hard good, some innovative mapping apps offer subscription-based services that will have you finding the sweetest honey-holes. With an app like Gaia GPS or OnX, you can find public access to waterways that may be mostly surrounded by private land. OnX, which was originally designed for hunters looking for public land to hunt on, divides a map into each parcel of land owned by a different person or public entity, letting you know which ones are private, and which ones are public areas that you can likely use to access a waterway. 

A fishermans bag detail

For Fly Fishing 

If you’re hooked on fly fishing, a few pieces of gear can keep you engaged in a passionate pursuit even when you’re off the water. 

Fly Tying Kit

If you’ve perfected the cast, it’s time to start perfecting making flies. A fly tying kit will give you the basic tools and materials necessary for tying your own flies, including a vise, thread, scissors, and a whip-finishing tool to tie your final knots. You’ll also want it for raw materials like feathers plus pieces of various cloths and plastics for forming different types of flies. As an added bonus, look for a kit that comes with an instructional DVD or manual to give you an idea of where to start. 

Fly Tying Vise

To upgrade that stand from your kit, consider a fly tying vise. Look for one made from durable materials, like brass, for years of use; a solid pedestal base that won’t tip or move as you manipulate your flies; quick clamps to easily mount hooks; and plenty of adjustments that let you move the fly around to best work on it from various angles. 

For Ice Fishing

If you’re used to putting a hole in the ice to catch your fish, select upgrades will make your job a lot easier. 

Powered Auger

While human power is a great way to bore a hole, getting a gas or electric auger allows you to make holes far more easily. This is especially useful when you need wider holes to catch bigger fish, holes through thicker mid-season ice, or multiple holes for multiple tip-ups. Make sure your auger has solid ergonomic grips to give you confidence in your hole-making, and be sure to check the weight—that’s how much you’ll have to carry or drag across the ice.

Ice Shelter

Rather than sitting on a 5-gallon bucket, consider a portable ice shanty. These often pop up similar to your summer tents with wider footprints and steeper walls to give you plenty of room to sit or stand inside. If you’re looking for affordability, uninsulated versions will protect you from the wind and help you retain some heat inside, but insulated versions provide a significant layer of comfort. For maximum portability, look for pop-ups that come with integrated sleds for easy transportation out onto the ice. 

Ice Shelter Heater 

Once you have an ice shelter, the next logical investment is a shelter heater to keep you warm. Most will run on propane from a grill-size tank, or, for smaller units, from tanks you’d find on a camping stove. Look for heaters with run times that will last as long as you plan on fishing, heating capability appropriate for your space, and safety features to keep you out of danger should a heater tip over or malfunction.

All articles are for general informational purposes.  Each individual’s needs, preferences, goals and abilities may vary.  Be sure to obtain all appropriate training, expert supervision and/or medical advice before engaging in strenuous or potentially hazardous activity.

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