Of course, kids that fish – or hope to someday soon – dream of having their own gear. A rite of passage for just about any budding young angler is getting their own tackle box.
Make sure you get them started off on the right foot! Rather than go for the big splash, start with a simple, clear plastic box that contains several vital fishing items rather than a hundred-plus different pieces, most of which will never be used. Be sure to look for models that have a waterproof seal and secure latching top. The beauty of a small, clear tackle box is that it’s easy to handle. It also allows a view of its contents without having to flip open the lid.
In terms of putting together that first box, though, keep things simple and age appropriate.
For freshwater, include a couple of floats, a small pack of split shots, several hooks in the sizes and styles your youngster will need most often and, perhaps, two or three easy-to-use lures that work where he or she will generally fish. You might also provide a nail clipper for cutting line and a small, inexpensive fishing or long-nosed pliers for removing hooks from the catch.
The same basic theory holds for saltwater fishing. Start with a few hooks of appropriate size and style, some lightweight sinkers or split shots, and a couple of small floats for smaller fish like snapper blues that feed near the surface or in shallow water. For lures, include a pair of small diamond jigs since they work just about anywhere, a ½- to ¾-ounce white bucktail, a 2- 4-inch soft-plastic swimbait along the lines of a Storm WildEye Shad or Tsunami Swim Shad and, perhaps, a small popper to work up some topwater action in calm, back bay waters.
While this won’t cover all the bases for your budding fishing partner, it’s a great way to get them started. That, and a bit of time spent together on the water, can be a terrific formula for hooking the next generation on your favorite pastime.