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Fishing tackle is the equipment or tool  used by
fishermen while fishing. Almost any
equipment or gear used for fishing can be
called fishing tackle. Examples are
hooks, lines, sinkers, floats, rods, reels,
baits, lures, spears, nets, gaffs, traps,
waders and tackle boxes.
Gear that is attached to the end of a
fishing line is called terminal tackle. This
includes hooks, leaders, swivels, sinkers,
A completed assembly of tackle ready for fishing is
sometimes called a rig, such as this Carolina rig.
floats, split rings and wire, snaps, beads,
spoons, blades, spinners and clevises to
attach spinner blades to fishing lures.
Sometimes the term fishing rig is used for
a completed assembly of tackle ready for
Fishing tackle can be contrasted with
fishing techniques. Fishing tackle refers to
the physical equipment that is used when
fishing, whereas fishing techniques refers
to the manner in which the tackle is used
when fishing.
The term tackle, with the meaning
“apparatus for fishing”, has been in use
from centuries ago. Fishing tackle is also
called fishing gear. However the term
fishing gear is more usually used in the
context of commercial fishing, whereas
fishing tackle is more often used in the
context of recreational fishing. This article
covers equipment used by recreational
Hook, line and sinker is a classic
combination of tackle empowering a
fisherman to catch fish.


Hook, line and sinker
The use of the hook in angling is
descended, historically, from what would
today be called a “gorge”. The word
“gorge”, in this context, comes from an
archaic word meaning “throat”. Gorges
were used by ancient peoples to capture
fish. A gorge was a long, thin piece of bone
or stone attached by its midpoint to a thin
line. The gorge would be fixed with a bait
so that it would rest parallel to the lay of
the line. When a fish swallowed the bait, a
A fish hook
tug on the line caused the gorge to orient
itself at right angles to the line, thereby
sticking in the fish’s gullet.
A fish hook is a device for catching fish
either by impaling them in the mouth or,
more rarely, by snagging the body of the
fish. Fish hooks have been employed for
millennia by fishermen to catch fresh and
saltwater fish. . In Nigeria, the fish hook was
made popular as one of the most effective
tools after fishing nets. Fish hooks
are normally attached to some form of line
or lure device which connects the caught
fish to the fisherman. There is an
enormous variety of fish hooks. Sizes,
designs, shapes, and materials are all
variable depending on the intended
purpose of the hook. They are
manufactured for a range of purposes
from general fishing to extremely limited
and specialized applications. Fish hooks
are designed to hold various types of
artificial, processed, dead or live baits (bait
fishing); to act as the foundation for
artificial representations of fish prey (fly
fishing); or to be attached to or integrated
into other devices that represent fish prey
(lure fishing).


A fishing line is a cord used or made for fishing. The earliest fishing lines were made from leaves or plant stalk (Parker 2002). Later lines were constructed from horse hair or silk thread, with catgut
leaders. From the 1850s, modern industrial machinery was employed to fashion
fishing lines in quantity. Most of these
lines were made from linen or silk, and
more rarely cotton.
Modern lines are made from artificial
substances, including nylon, polyethylene,
dacron and dyneema. The most common
type is monofilament made of a single
strand. Fishermen often use monofilament
because of its buoyant characteristics and
its ability to stretch under load. Recently,
other alternatives to standard nylon
monofilament lines have been introduced
made of copolymers or fluorocarbon, or a
combination of the two materials. There
are also braided fishing lines, cofilament
and thermally fused lines, also known as
‘superlines’ for their small diameter, lack of
stretch, and great strength relative to
standard nylon monofilament lines.
Important parameters of a fishing line are
its length, material, and weight (thicker,
sturdier lines are more visible to fish).
Factors that may determine what line an
angler chooses for a given fishing
environment include breaking strength,
knot strength, UV resistance, castability,
limpness, stretch, abrasion resistance, and
Fishing with a hook and line is called
angling. In addition to the use of the hook
and line used to catch a fish, a heavy fish
may be landed by using a landing net or a
hooked pole called a gaff. Trolling is a
technique in which a fishing lure on a line
is drawn through the water. Snagging is a
technique where the object is to hook the
fish in the body.


A sinker or plummet is a weight used when
angling to force the lure or bait to sink
more rapidly or to increase the distance
that it may be cast. The ordinary plain
sinker is traditionally made of lead. It can
be practically any shape, and is often
shaped round like a pipe-stem, with a
swelling in the middle. However, the use of
smaller lead based fishing sinkers has
now been banned in the UK, Canada and
some states in the USA, since lead can
cause toxic lead poisoning if ingested.
There are loops of brass wire on either end
of the sinker to attach the line. Weights
Three types of small lead sinkers
can range from a quarter of an ounce for
trout fishing up to a couple of pounds or
more for sea bass and menhaden.
The swivel sinker is similar to the plain
one, except that instead of loops, there are
swivels on each end to attach the line.
This is a decided improvement, as it
prevents the line from twisting and
tangling. In trolling, swivel sinkers are
indispensable. The slide sinker, for bottom
fishing, is a leaden tube which allows the
line to slip through it, when the fish bites.
This is an excellent arrangement, as the
fisherman can feel the smallest bite,
whereas in the other case the fish must
first move the sinker before the fisherman feels him.

Fishing rods

A fishing rod is an additional tool used
with the hook, line and sinker. A length of
fishing line is attached to a long, flexible
rod or pole: one end terminates with the
hook for catching the fish. Early fishing rods are depicted on inscriptions in
ancient Egypt, China, Greece and Rome. In
Medieval England they were called angles
(hence the term angling). As they evolved
they were made from materials such as
split Tonkin bamboo, Calcutta reed, or ash
wood, which were light, tough, and pliable.
The butts were frequently made of maple.
Handles and grips were made of cork,
wood, or wrapped cane. Guides were
simple wire loops.
Modern rods are sophisticated casting
tools fitted with line guides and a reel for
line stowage. They are most commonly
made of fibreglass, carbon fibre or,
classically, bamboo. Fishing rods vary in
action as well as length, and can be found
in sizes between 24 inches and 20 feet.
The longer the rod, the greater the
mechanical advantage in casting. There
are many different types of rods, such as
fly rods, tenkara rods, spin and bait casting
rods, spinning rods, ice rods, surf rods, sea
rods and trolling rods.
Fishing rods can be contrasted with
fishing poles. A fishing pole is a simple
pole or stick with a line which is fastened
to the tip and suspended with a hooked
lure or bait at the other end.

Fishing reels

A fishing reel is a device used for the
deployment and retrieval of a fishing line
using a spool mounted on an axle. Fishing
reels are traditionally used in angling. They
are most often used in conjunction with a
fishing rod, though some specialized reels
are mounted on crossbows or to boat
gunwales or transoms

Fishing bait

The natural bait angler usually uses a
common prey species of the fish as an
attractant. The natural bait used may be
alive or dead. Common natural baits
include bait fish, worms, leeches,
minnows, frogs, salamanders,
nightcrawlers and other insects. Natural
baits are effective due to the lifelike
texture, odour and colour of the bait
Natural bait angler usually uses a
common prey species of the fish as an
attractant. The natural bait used may be
alive or dead depending on the feeding preference of the target.  . Common natural baits
include bait fish, worms, leeches,
minnows, frogs, salamanders,
nightcrawlers and other insects. Natural
baits are effective due to the lifelike
texture, odour and colour of the bait
Green Highlander, an artificial fly used for salmon
The common earthworm is a universal bait
for fresh water angling. In the quest for
quality worms, some fishers culture their
own worm compost or practice worm
charming. Grubs and maggots are also
considered excellent bait when trout
fishing. Grasshoppers, flies, bees and even
ants are also used as bait for trout in their
season, although many anglers believe
that trout or salmon roe is superior to any
other bait. Studies show that natural baits
like croaker and shrimp are more
recognized by the fish and are more readily
Because of the risk of transmitting whirling disease, trout and
salmon should not be used as bait.

Artificial baits

Many people prefer to fish solely with
lures, which are artificial baits designed to
entice fish to strike. The artificial bait
angler uses a man-made lure that may or
may not represent prey. The lure may
require a specialised presentation to
impart an enticing action as, for example,
in fly fishing. Recently, electronic lures
have been developed to attract fish.
Fishermen have also begun using plastic

Bite indicators

A bite indicator or commonly referred to as
“strike indicator” is a mechanical or
electronic device which indicates to an
angler that something is happening at the
hook end of the fishing line. There are
many types of bite indicators. Which ones
work best depends on the type of fishing.
Strike indicators are also commonly used
in fly fishing for trout. Nymphs or wet flies
will be suspended below the indicator to
alert the angler of a fish. This has been
used successfully for all trout and salmon
Other devices which are widely used as
bite indicators are floats which float in the
water, and dart about if a fish bites, and
quiver tips which are mounted onto the tip
of the fishing rod Bite alarms are
electronic devices which bleep when a fish
tugs a fishing line. Whereas floats and
quiver tips are used as visual bite detectors, bite alarms are audible bite


Spearfishing is an ancient method of fishing conducted with an ordinary spear or a specialised variant such as a harpoon, trident, arrow or eel spear. Polespears have a sling attached to the spear. Bowfishing is very similar  to spearfishing, it involves a bow and an arrow.


Fishing nets are meshes usually formed by knotting relatively thin materials. Modern nets are usually made of artificial polyamides like nylon, although nets of organic polyamides such as wool or silk thread were common
until recently and are still used. There are other netting materials like steel wires which fishermen use to set fish traps. Cast nets are small round nets with weights on the edges which is thrown by the fisher. Sizes vary up to about four metres in diameter. The net is thrown by hand in such a manner that it spreads out on the water and sinks. Fish are caught as the net is hauled back in.


Fishing traps are culturally almost universal and seem to have been independently invented many times. There are essentially two types of trap, a permanent or temporary.

Fly fishing tackle

Fly fishing tackle is equipment used by, and often specialised for use by fly anglers. Fly fishing tackle includes fly lines designed for easy casting, specialised fly reels designed to hold a fly line and supply
drag if required for landing heavy or fast fish, specialised fly rods designed to cast fly lines and artificial flies, terminal tackle including artificial flies, and other
accessories including fly boxes used to store and carry artificial flies.

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