Freshwater Tackle

Fishing tackle includes more than just rods, reels, hooks and rigs. There are all kinds of fishing accessories and fishing supplies available to help you get your fishing lure or bait to the fish – and get the fish to you. Start filling up

Fishing Line

Fishing line is available in a variety of weights. Most anglers use monofilament nylon fishing line. A good line weight to start with is 6 to 12-pound test. "Pound test" refers to the strength of the line. It's the amount of weight required to break the line. For example, a 10-pound test line is stronger than a 4-pound test line.

The trick is to match the pound test fishing line to the size of your rod and reel, the kind of bait or lure you're using, and the species of fish you want to catch. And that is the key to good fishing.

Using heavier fishing line than necessary may reduce the number of bites or strikes you get because heavy line is more visible in water. And if your line is too light, a bigger fish can break it and take your whole rig. Try explaining that to your buddies.

In fly fishing, fly line is a fairly short length of line made of a plastic coating on a core that is often tapered to make fly casting easier. Backing line is a much longer length of monofilament line with one end attached to the end of the reel spool and the other end tied to the fly line. When you're playing a fish and you run out of fly line, the backing line comes into play. Go to the Fly Fishing Gear section for more information on fly line.

Environmental Alert: To protect wildlife and the environment, always take any discarded line with you when you leave. Discarded line can snag and harm wildlife and kill fish, turtles, frogs, birds and small mammals.

Fishing Sinkers

Fishing sinkers allow you to cast your bait and help take it down to the bottom. Fishing sinkers range in size from split shot – the size of a BB – to weights of a pound or more. BB-size split shot to 1/4-ounce sinkers are most common.

Bobbers and Floats

Bobbers are used to keep your bait at the depth you want it. They also help you know when you have a strike. Use a bobber that's just large enough to keep your bait from dragging it under the water. Floats, or pencil-style bobbers are more sensitive than round ones, so it's easier to tell if a fish is nibbling at your bait. Round bobbers are easier to cast.

Slip bobbers can be easily adjusted to allow you to fish at different depths. Their main advantage is that they are easy to cast. They come in both round and pencil styles.

Bobbers with direction control allow you to steer your bait or lure and can be more functional at getting to the fish.

Many bobbers attach to your fishing line with a spring clip and move up or down the line easily, depending on how deep you want to fish.


A leader is a length of fishing line (or wire) tied between the end of the line and the lure or hook. Leaders provide extra strength or abrasion resistance from the mouth, teeth, scales, gill covers and tails of fish. It's easier for a fish to snap a single strand of line attached to the hook than it is to snap a line with a leader.


Snaps are small devices similar to a safety pin or a dog leash snap, tied to the line and used for attachment and quick release of hooks, rigs and lures.


This is a small device with two or more eyes (rings) and a central swiveling part. They're used between a lure or leader and your line to prevent line twisting or tangling from a revolving lure or a barrel-rolling fish.

Bait Spreader

Anglers use bait spreaders to separate a lure and a hook or to keep hooks from tangling when using two separate hooks in a rig.

To learn more about Freshwater Bait and Lures visit our next section.