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21 Fishing Tips from Pro Fishermen


If you’re a weekend angler preparing for a day on the banks or on the water, you’ve probably got your hooks, lines, sinkers and an assortment of bait and favorite lures. But what other essentials are you carrying? We asked some of the world’s top fishermen to help fill your tackle box with their “must haves” to ensure that your next fishing experience is fun-filled, safe and rewarding.

Polarized sunglasses: preferably Jimmy Houston glasses (or Bill Dance’s if they’ve sold out of mine!) 

— Jimmy Houston, Cookson, Okla., legendary pro angler and TV celebrity

Leatherman multi-purpose tool: Think industrial-grade Swiss Army knife. Indispensable for everything from cutting line to repairing reels to an emergency tracheotomy. 

— Steve Wozniak, San Ramon, Calif., holder of 68 International Game Fish Association (IGFA) world records, including most different species caught (1,192). Has fished in 77 different countries.

More clothes than you think you’ll need: Because it never fails; the weather always changes and you don’t want to be stuck out there freezing.

— JT Kenny, Palm Bay, Fla., Straight Talk pro angler

Baby wipes:They’re a must. Nobody can fish in dirty conditions!

— Scott Suggs, Bryant, Ark., 2007 Forrest Wood Cup champion

Lighter: Use it to fix rods and start a fire if an emergency arises. 

— Jason Christie, Park Hill, Okla., FLW Tour Beaver Lake April 2013 winner, Forrest Wood Cup qualifier

Net: One that’s light and tough made by Beckman, because: 1) fish have teeth, 2) fish are slimy, and 3) fish flat out stink! 

— David Dudley, Lynchburg, Va., all-time FLW leading money winner with more than $3 million; 2003 Forrest Wood Cup champion

Serious sun hat: I'm not talking baseball cap here but one of those ridiculous things that makes you look like the head of a religious cult. 

— Wozniak

Toilet Paper: I prefer camouflage-colored toilet paper, and make sure it’s scented.  By the way, it's all scented sooner or later! 

— Houston

First aid kit: If you don't know why you need this, then I'll hit you in the head with a tack hammer and you'll find out. 

— Kenny

A good rain suit: You never know when you might get wet. I prefer Gore-Tex to keep me warm and dry. 

— Suggs 

Life jacket: Always use a life jacket; you never know when something is below the water.  

— Christie

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Extra drain plug: Worth the money at twice the price anytime and much easier than swimming to shore! 

— Houston 

Smartphone: If the fish aren’t 

biting, you can always watch YouTube and play games.

— Kenny

Sunscreen: 30 SPF. Apply before you make the first cast! 

— Houston

Digital camera: It’s nice to have photos to look at from previous trips when the current one is going badly. If it’s a smartphone, you can look up exactly what type of swamp minnow you just caught. 

— Wozniak 

12-pack of Keystone Light: You can either celebrate your big catch or drown your sorrows with it.  

 — Kenny

Bobber: Even though I’m a professional, I have A.D.D. and need a bobber to help tell me when I have a bite. Thill is the best bobber made. 

— Dudley

Visa card with high limit: Because after you put gas in your truck to get to the lake then put gas in your boat to fish, you're going to need a high limit! 

— Kenny

Super Glue: There is nothing that Super Glue won't fix. 

— Suggs

Jumper cables: If your battery dies, you can jump from a trolling motor

battery or have

someone jump you. 

— Christi

A good memory: Because you’re going to have the time of your life. 

— Kenny

*Photos courtesy of FLW Outdoors.