5 Fishing Gear Tips for Urban Anglers

By Debbie Hanson

Jul 21, 2014

Chicago has Lake Michigan, Detroit has the Detroit River, New York has Central Park, and San Francisco has San Francisco Bay.

Chicago has Lake Michigan, Detroit has the Detroit River, New York has Central Park, and San Francisco has San Francisco Bay. You may think that there aren't many places to fish in an urban environment; however, these big city examples should encourage you to think again. While urban spots experience more pressure and will require you to pare down the amount of gear due to transport constraints, you can still have a great time while fishing in or around your favorite city.


Since urban anglers most often fish from a pier or the shore, the key is to fish light while still having access to gear that will contribute to catches. Here are five urban fishing gear tips to help you make the most of your big city angling adventures.

  1. Scale back the amount of tackle you bring to just those items that will fit into two small, plastic boxes with adjustable dividers. If you have a backpack, you can easily slide two storage boxes inside of a regular backpack so that you have less gear to carry.

  2. Use lighter gear that will provide more action and a higher number of fish. An example of a light set up for fishing freshwater would be a 5-foot ultra-light rod paired with a small spinning reel and 4 to 6-pound monofilament line.

  3. If you have a fishing vest or cargo pants with plenty of pockets, wear them. The pockets will come in handy for storing extra leader material, weights, line clippers, a small pair of pliers, and a few extra lures.

  4. Make sure you include small finesse baits in your arsenal. Keep in mind that fish in urban areas will be more likely to hit smaller baits that are fished slowly. If fishing a freshwater area where bass are present, for example, you may want to bring along a package of 5-inch or 6-inch finesse worms.

  5. If you plan to take the kids along on an urban fishing trip, you'll also want to bring bobbers and bait. Toting a minnow bucket around the city isn't very convenient though, so bring along bread balls, hot dogs, or a small can of crickets or worms instead.


Have you found a specific technique or lure that works well in your favorite urban fishing spot? We'd love to hear about it! Provide feedback on this post by logging into the Take Me Fishing Community or by commenting on the Take Me Fishing Facebook Page.

Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson
Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.