The term ‘tackle’ used to denote ‘fishing apparatus’ has been part of the fishing vocabulary since the 13th century. Sometimes also known as ‘fishing gear’ as in commercial fishing, it is more commonly used to describe recreational fishing by anglers.
Fishing tackle refers to the equipment used in fishing; in contrast, the term ‘tackle’ can sometimes be misunderstood for fishing techniques. ‘Fishing techniques’ as a term refers to the manner in which fishing is done using a ‘tackle.’
The equipment used by fishermen which can be any part of any gear for e.g. hooks, lines, sinkers, baits, floats, gaffs, leaders, lures, nets, reels, rods, swivels, sinkers, spears, traps and waders etc. The part of a fishing gear attached to the ends of a fishing rod or line is known as terminal tackle.
Hook, line and sinker
This is a classic combination of a fishing tackle that a fisherman feels ’empowered’ with to catch fish.
In angling, the use of the ‘hook’ in consequentially relevant to the term ‘gorge’ which in archaic use meant ‘throat.’ Ancient people used gorges to fish; these were long and thin pieces of bone attached midway on a thin fishing line. A bait was attached to the gorge so that it would lie parallel to the line; when a fish took the bait the fisherman gently tugged the line so that the gorge oriented itself in a right angle to the line, attaching itself to the fish’s gullet. Hence, a fish hook was looked at as a device to catch fish by ‘hooking’ them in the mouth, or by snagging the fish entirely.
Today’s angling hooks come in a variety of designs, materials, shapes and sizes but they are all intended for the purpose of hooking the fish. They suit a range of purposes from commercial and recreational fishing to specialized applications and are designed to hold different types of artificial, dead, live or processed baits, as in bait fishing; to represent fish prey artificially, as in fly fishing and as integrated mechanisms to devices that represent prey, as in lure angling.
A fishing line is a cord or line used for fishing; from the earliest ones made of plant stalk and leaves to the later horse hair and silk thread to the modern ones made from Dacron, nylon and polyethylene, there has been a vast change in angling lines. During the 1850s the first fishing lines were manufactured using modern industrial machinery for mass production; at the time, fishing lines were made from linen and silk, sometimes cotton.
The commonly used type of fishing line is the ‘monofilament’ made from a single strand of material used often because it is buoyant in water and has the ability to stretch. In recent years, advanced alternatives to nylon monofilament fishing lines have appeared in the name of copolymers or fluorocarbons. The parameters of a good fishing line are length, material used and weight that in turn translate into abrasion resistance, castability, knot strength, limpness, UV resistance and visibility, qualities that seasoned fishermen look for in a fishing line.
A sinker is a weight used to sink the lure or bait more rapidly into the water and also increase the distance the line is cast. Ordinary plain sinkers were traditionally made of lead and could take any shape but these have since been banned in Canada, UK and the USA because lead can cause toxic poisoning. Sinkers can weigh from a quarter of an ounce which is the weight generally used in trout angling and can go up to a couple of pounds for deep sea fish.