Getting set up with the right equipment will set you on the path to fishing independence – a time when you no longer need the assistance of older anglers.
Getting set up isn’t expensive and will boost your confidence, allowing you to focus more on fishing. This month I have devised a survival fishing kit for junior anglers, with the essentials needed for a day out fishing.
Having a set of pliers or nippers is always handy. These tools can be used in many different ways – everything from rigging up lures and baits to unhooking fish.
There are many styles of pliers, including needle-nose, split ring and multi-purpose pliers. For junior anglers I recommend something similar to the Shimano 6" Split Ring Pliers, which retail for around $20 to $30.
A knife is the most essential item to have when fishing. Knives can be used for countless applications, such as rigging up, cutting bait and filleting fish just to name a few.
It’s important to use common sense when handling knives. A good rule to remember is that a blunt knife is more dangerous than a sharp one. Having to force your way through a bait with a blunt knife can lead to some serious injuries.
Knives should always be kept in a protective sheath or scabbard when not in use, and younger fishos should also make sure a parent is watching when using knives.
Entry level knives retail for around $15 to $25, and are available at all bait and tackle stores.
A wide-brimmed hat is the best kind of hat for keeping away all those harmful UV rays, especially when you’re travelling on the waterways.
The reflection off the water can cause sunburn very quickly, even if you’re wearing a hat, so sunscreen is a must as well. It helps to prevent both sunburn and heatstroke.
When using sunscreen or zinc, make sure it doesn’t come into contact with your fishing gear or bait. Fish are put off by the smell.
A good can of repellent should be in everyone’s fishing arsenal to ward off menacing sand flies, mosquitos and March flies. I have found that roll-on and spray-on applications are best because they don’t come into contact with your hands or fishing gear.
When choosing a brand, try it on a little patch of skin first to make sure you’re not allergic or irritated by the repellent. I have found Bushman’s repellent to be the most effective on mozzies and sand flies, and you can buy it at most tackle and bait outlets.
In order to establish bragging rights to your family and friends you need a measuring device for your catch. In most cases, a 50cm ruler and a set of small scales will do the job. When weighing fish it’s essential that the scales are properly set up, and when measuring fish ensure that the fish is measured from the lips to the tail.
Sunglasses provide excellent protection for your eyes, and if the glasses are polarized that’s even better. Polarized sunglasses allow you to see into the water, giving you a pretty good idea of where the fish are. Sunglasses can range from $5 to $1000, depending on quality of lens and brand. Polarized sunglasses start at around $30. Maui Jim, Mako and Spotters have an extensive range of polarized sunnies catering for everyone from kids to adults.
It’s always good to have a backup plan up your sleeve. If the fish are shying away from a certain type of lure or bait, switch to something else. Don’t be afraid to try different lure types or colours so you can find out what works best.
Having said that, it’s tough to lug around a heavy tacklebox so maybe just pack one tackle tray with all the gear you’ll need for that day.
Till next month, good fishing to all you junior anglers out there.
MONTHLY MAD KEEN KIDS COMP MONTHLY WINNERS
Billy-jade Esler (aged 7) from Wurtulla
Tom Murray (aged 12) from Mungar
Corey Rigney (aged 14) from Waterford
1) A survival kit for junior anglers (repellent not pictured).