The Little Things That Matter
  |  First Published: June 2005

Gone are the days when fly anglers ruled the gadget department. Lure casters are stepping up to the plate fully padded with an armoury of bits and pieces that go clip, snip, zing and snap!

If you’re anything like me, organizing yourself to go spin fishing, whether it be for a couple of hours or even for a couple of days, is so effortless you could do it whistling Dixie. Grab those two bags and a handful of rods and you’re away!

It seems that without us even knowing it, we’re becoming more organised. Sorry, let me rephrase that. The tackle manufacturers are making us more organised! With better-designed tackle bags, carry packs and a multitude of whiz-bang devices to hang stuff off and clip gear onto, how can we possibly go wrong?


There is a growing need for anglers to be more on the ball – faster to make decisions and quicker to implement changes to tackle. For this reason anglers are looking to have all their essentials nearby; so nearby that most of these items are now being worn!

Scissors and clippers

As more anglers convert to polyethylene fibre lines (braided and thermal), scissors are taking the place of a good set of teeth and dentists are starting to feel the pinch! Because of the nature of this line and its many strong filaments, serrated bladed scissors will give the cleanest, hands-free cut. Clippers still have their place and can be found hanging next to the scissors for clipping nylon and fluorocarbon knot tags nice and close.


So desperately needed by so many but often overlooked as one of the most essential items of all time. Unless your jigheads and hooks grow on trees and you can afford to toss them overboard, if the point gets turned over, a good sharpening file is essential.

A hook file is critical for light touch ups and full on filing jobs. It takes 10 seconds to make a completely turned over hook point as sharp as the original. I guarantee you it will take you longer to change your hook or lure!


More often found on the deck of the boat or in the tackle bag, a pair of pliers is an invaluable tool to have within easy reach. From a simple hook out job to hacking away at the lead of a jighead to get the right weight, today’s pliers are a multi-purpose tool.

Even on the smallest pair of pliers you can find cutters, crimpers, hook out jaws and split ring openers. The trouble isn’t finding a pair that won’t rust, but understanding that we need to look after them.

You need pliers to help you fish better, so get a good pair that will last and take care of them. And I don’t want to hear any of that malarky about how your mate always drops them overboard. This is the 21st century and we have evolved. Get a bloody lanyard!


Let there be light and three AAA batteries makes it so.

There’s no excuse in this day and age for any angler not to have a torch.From $2 Shop torches to the retina-burning Petzel LED light source models, there has never been so many to choose from.

Imagine it is becoming dark, the fish are still biting and you just got busted off! Need a torch anyone? Do yourself a favour and go out and buy one.


Zingers, lanyards, pin-on reels, call them what you like, they’re still the groovy little devices that you can attach all of your tools to for easy access and tidy storage. They come in all shapes and sizes with different lengths of retraction for different types of tools.

For instance, you might have your line snips, scissors and a file on a half metre pin-on reel retractor attached to your shirt or belt loop. The retractor is small and light so that it doesn’t get in your way, but still long enough for you to use comfortably.

On the other hand you might have a pair of pliers that are quite heavy and would normally pull the retractor cord out. Pliers also need to be used a full arm’s length away from your body and even by other people on the boat or bank. For this you can use a magnetic clip, magnet lanyard or heavy-duty reel-type retractor with a 1m cord attached to your belt.

When you decide to buy a zinger, it pays to splash out a bit. The cost of all the equipment hanging off it can add up to over $60 and it just doesn’t make sense to have a $6.95 zinger in control of $60 worth of bits! Here’s a tip: never buy a zinger for under $10 and you are on the right track.


Leader spools can be a pain in the backside as they are forever unrolling and being misplaced. Here’s a neat trick that a mate of mine stole from his mate who probably stole it from another mate! This works well with the larger spools and is very easy. Get a stubby holder and cut it into bands, then simply run them around the spool. If you don’t like that you can always buy some pre-made ones from Rio Lines.

Keeping your leader spools in order is also a good idea. Try using a Plano spinnerbait box, removing the dividers and slipping the spools straight in.

Another nifty thing to have onboard your boat is a big spool of the prickly (male) sided adhesive backed Velcro. This is good for attaching things to the carpet of your boat. The standard method is to lay a strip of it over your rod tip and mid-section to stop them either bouncing or blowing out of the boat. Another is to put several pieces of Velcro up the handle of your net so it to sticks the deck of the boat (as seen on AFC 05). My favourite trick is to put a small piece on the back of a pack of soft plastics. Then you can leave them on the deck ready to go and have no chance of them blowing off when you’re moving spots!

Bags and boxes for bits

There are lots of bags and boxes around and wading through them all can sometimes be tough.

These days, people are getting rid of their old tackle boxes and replacing them with the new ‘soft side’ tackle bag. The soft tackle bags are good for a few reasons, the biggest being the ease with which you can swap and change the clear tackle boxes that live inside them. Having a selection of various types of tackle in these thin, flat tray boxes is all you need, then you can simply select the ones you want for that particular fishing session, load up and you’re gone.

Tackle bags are also great for squeezing stuff in. Those extra spools of leader will come in handy for something I’m sure. And because they’re soft, once you’ve pulled the boxes you need out of them, you can scrunch them up and jam them into almost anywhere.

Tackle bags now come made with waterproof material, hard non-skid bottoms and even built-in coolers for your lunch or better still, your Berkley Gulps.

The clear, flat tackle trays that live in your tackle bags have changed a bit over the years as well. We are now starting to see waterproof seals, huge internal configuration options and shockproof tray sections and lids.

It is so important to have a waterproof box for your jigheads. Because most hooks are made from carbon steel, rusting is likely even in freshwater, so keeping the unused heads dry is imperative.

Gadgets rock

There are plenty of bits and pieces out there for you to add to your tackle list. The idea is to either choose wisely through plenty of product research or buy the lot and chuck out what doesn’t work for you. I know which method I prefer to use – you can never have too many thingies!


1. If you don't have a file, you’re just plain crazy. The best by far is the white Tiemco Ceramic file.

2. My scissors and file never leave my side. Here they are attached to their zinger.

3. Torches come in all shapes and sizes. I find it best to light up my life with the Berkley LED Trio.

4. Absolutely invaluable! A good zinger can make your life so much easier. The pick of the bunch is the Pisces. It’s affordable and reliable.

5. Unless you’re a dentist you'll need some of these! I like the Blue Berkley Braid scissors and the Stream Works Field nippers.

6. More pliers then you can wave a rod butt at, with the best of the bunch the Dr Slick Barracuda.

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