Essential Fishing Gear Every Angler Should Own in 2021

Fishing offers some uniquely satisfying and refreshing experiences. It is a fantastic way to get away from busy city life and create good memories with family and friends. However, please keep in mind that the gear you carry can make a whole lot of difference in your fishing.

There are numerous pieces of equipment anglers can use to improve their fishing experience. While what you choose to carry is a subject of personal preference, it is imperative to have at least the basic fishing items.

In this, we’ve prepared a list of essential fishing gear every angler should own, regardless of the fish species they are targeting.

Essential Fishing Gear

Fishing rod and reel

Of course, that’s obvious. Fishing rods get baits or lures into the water with top-notch precision. You will find rods for specific angling needs, such as fly fishing, bait fishing, reef fishing, spinning, and trolling fishing. Focus on getting a quality fishing rod based on the type and size of your target fish species.

Fishing reels are attached to rods. They allow anglers to cast baits or lures at great distances. With the reels, you can fish even in deep water and retrieve your catch safely. Make sure you experiment with the different types of reels to find what fits your fishing style.

Fishing lures

Lures make catching fish a lot easier, and they are fun to use. They often than not hook fish in the mouth, lips, or jaws, and this facilitates a safer catch and release.

You are spoilt for choice when it comes to artificial fishing baits. Lures are available in different sizes, shapes, colors, and movements, each designed for specific fish species.

For example, if you’re targeting panfish, smaller jibs and grubs can be an effective lure option. Bigger fishes like bass and pike will require larger fishing lures, such as crankbaits (plugs) or spinnerbaits.

It is up to you to decide what to use. However, the best course of action is to have a collection of lures you can easily interchange to target a wide range of species more accurately.

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Set of pliers

Sometimes it not easy to pull out hooks cleanly by hand. In such a case, you will need a good set of fishing pliers. Anglers are advised to invest in a set of pliers that cuts through every type of line they’ll be using, from monofilament and braided to fluorocarbon and copolymer.

The ideal nose length you choose depends on the type of fish you’re targeting. This can be a tricky decision. Generally, though, fishing pliers with a 6-7” needle nose will get the job done. For big, toothy fish varieties, you will need slightly long nose pliers, preferably 8” or longer.

Filleting knife

Every serious angler needs a fillet knife. While you can clean fish with almost any type of kitchen knives, none beats the filleting knife. It is a super sharp knife that allows you to remove skin, bones, entrails, and fins more quickly, safely, and efficiently. Using your old kitchen knife will probably waste a heap of fish.

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Tackle box essential gear

A fishing tackle box can be stocked up with different types of gears, depending on the fish species you’re planning to catch. Contents of a tackle box can vary, but here’s what you should never forget when packing for your next fishing trip.

Spare fishing line

Carrying an extra fishing line is a must because things can go wrong when fishing. For instance, your new line can get tangled up. If you are using an old fishing line in rough conditions, it can break. Whatever the case, you don’t want to cut your trip short because of a fishing line.

Spare terminal tackle

The main categories of essential terminal tackle include:


Consider having hooks of different sizes, regardless of the type you choose. Not because you’re bound to lose hooks so often when fishing, but it makes you better prepared for all sorts of fish.


Sinkers or weights are attached to a fishing rig to sink a hook or lure into the water. There are sinkers designed for shallow water and deep-sea fishing. They come in innumerable shapes for diverse fishing applications.


Floats are another essential fishing gear to include in your tackle box, as they help you know when the fish starts to nibble at your bait. They keep your bait suspended in deep water at the perfect depth. They will go under in case of a strike, indicating that you should reel your catch in.

Swivels and snaps

Don’t forget swivels and snaps too! They reduce the risk of your fishing line twisting and tangling. Swivels can also stop a sliding sinker, whereas snaps allow anglers to change the rigs easily and quickly.

Split rings

Split rings increase the mobility of your hook or lure. They get connected between a lure or hook.

Protective equipment

Since you will be spending a lot of time outdoor, it is a great idea to protect yourself from the sun’s harmful rays. Water bodies will reflect some of the rays at you, causing an agitating glare. So, next time you head out to fish, make sure to include the following protective equipment in your fishing gear.

Polarized sunglasses

Polarized sunglasses are the most preferred essential piece of gear to reduce glare and protect your eyes from the damaging ultraviolet light (UV) rays. With this specialized eyewear, you will see more clearly and avoid some potential hazards.

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Never miss a bottle of sunscreen in your tackle box. Applying sunscreen to exposed body parts is highly recommended to prevent sunburns. Ideally, you should wear sunscreen with an ultraviolet protection factor (USF) of at least 15.


Wearing a fishing hat essentially covers you from the UV rays, protecting you against burns. It can also protect your eyes from the potentially blinding glare.


If you have all the above fishing equipment, it is safe to say you’re ready for the next fishing trip. But one last thing to remember; fishing is not always about making a catch. Take the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful scenery and tranquillity of the still waters.

If you want a great printable essential fishing gear checklist then have a look at this.

If you have any other pieces of equipment that should be on this list then please leave a comment below so that we can share it with our audience.

Happy fishing!

Last update on 2021-04-29 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

Russ Egan

Russ is an avid angler. He has fished all over the world, primarily for Saltwater game fish but also for local prize fish. Russ writes reviews for all of his fishing gear to help others achieve their own fishing goals. His favorite reel is a Shimano Tyrnos for an overhead reel or a Shimano Curado for a baitcaster. His dream is to catch a Black Marlin.

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