How To Set Up Your Gear Bag
“It’s always a good idea to set up your gear and make sure that you are ready to go! Wherever you fish or whatever species you are targeting, this article will give you a glance on how I prepare myself and my gear for every possible situation one may stumble on out there!”
Arranging the gear bag
The selection of equipment in my gear bag changes depending on the season and fish I’m targeting. In this article I will show you how I set up my gear bag when targeting northern pike, or similar predator fish.
Gear bags come in many different sizes and styles. I use the Waterproof Duffel Bag from Rapala. It’s a big bag with a lot of space and capacity to store a lot of boxes, tool bag, clothing and other important stuff that may come in handy when you’re out fishing. The bag is 100% waterproof, so it will stay dry in any weather, which is something I find very important since you never know how the weather will change when you are out on the waters.
“How do I set up my bag then?”
I usually have the most important things in my Duffel bag when going fishing and, of course, my rods and reels too. Firstly I have my tool box with me, which can easily be carried on the bag. In the tool box I have many handy tools such as pliers in different sizes and the pliers I’ve become to like are part of the RCD Tools. You can also find split ring pliers and scissors in the same series. I always have a sharp and strong cutter for hooks and a first aid kit with bandages with me in the bag - you never know when you might be needing them!
In some of my previous articles I’ve presented the “fish registering” system from Rapala, which is also part of the RCD equipment. I always have in my Duffel bag the Weight Mat and an RCD Roll Ruler, so you can get the exact measurements of your catches in an easy and secure way. The mat has closed sides made of rubber mesh, which prevents the fish from sliding away when measuring and weighing it. I use the 25 kg RCD Digital Scale for the weighing. It’s waterproof and digital with a bunch of different features inside the scale, such as memory for the biggest catches and you can even choose the weight being presented in either pounds or kilogram.
Fill you bag with lures!
When It comes to filling my lure boxes, I think every fisherman, including myself, is carrying too many lures. Or, perhaps you started fishing recently and you feel unsure of what to take with you?
A good way to start is to go through your lures and choose the ones that can cover as much different situations as possible. Here is an example of how I would categorize different types of lures and what they are good for.
Jerk baits: For more shallow water, when you want to attract the fish with a side-to-side movement. Good for long casts and searching areas quickly to find those active predators. A classic way to start your fishing. Fish it with jerking moves or more intense twitching and you will get the fish attention right away. X-Rap® Haku is the new jerkbait from Rapala and works great for this situation
Tail baits: Usually I’m using tail baits when the water is a bit colder, I want to present my lure over deeper water and benefit from the big silhouette of the tail baits. I fish it really slow with long pauses to maintain it in the strike zone as long as I can. The X-Rap® Otus is Rapala’s tail bait in the pike and predator section. You can of course use a tail bait in shallow waters too and they will work wonders
Paddle (hybrid) baits: A versatile lure that can be used in almost any situation. I’m using the X-Rap® Peto as a search bait in many pike competitions and they have a wide range of colors to choose from. It’s good for covering big areas of water and checking all kinds of habitats for fish. The paddle action is intense and the built-in rattle in Peto will trigger the fish to strike. This lure can be used in a high speed in shallow bays or you can connect the RIP connector to it and fish it over deep water with a slow retrieve.
Bigger rubber baits: When targeting big pike and bigger predators, I usually go for a big rubber bait. In this case it’s a bait from Storm - the T-bone 9. It can be found in two sizes, 23 cm and 18cm and its unique collapsing technique has given me a lot of big pike in my home river. To learn more about this lure I’ve actually made my own YouTube video presenting the lure and its action.
These are the few basic lures you can find in my lure boxes. Of course, there are more lures to consider taking with you such as a nice spinnerbait or a spoon bait, but maybe I’ll dig deeper into those in another article.
Leaders, nets and safety
Before we move on to choosing rods and reels, we need to discuss leaders. If you're feeling unsure, I would recommend visiting your local tackle shop and asking for their advice. Hopefully they can help you with choosing a leader that best suits your kind of fishing. I make my own leaders from fluorocarbon, mainly Sufix lines who has a fluorocarbon called the Invisiline®. I tie the leaders with a dimension of 1,17 mm and connect with a stay lock or overlock towards the lure and a heavier swivel for tying to the line. It’s a pretty thick leader made for pike fishing. A reliable and secure leader is crucial for my fishing and I want to be able to truly trust my leader.
I want to tell you about two more things that I have with me when fishing either from shore or boat. The first one is a good net. Scoop that fish of yours in a quick and secure way, and let it rest in the water. This way you'll protect the fish from damaging itself if panicking around in the boat or on the ground. A wide net gap with bigger masks is something I recommend. I like using my Rapala Pro Guide Medium Net and it covers all my needs when out on the waters. I know a lot of anglers use even bigger nets and it’s all a matter of personal preference and space, of course. However, this net fits my needs with its foldable options and rubber mesh, and it’s an easy net to use for anyone.
The second important item to remember is life vest. It’s always important to consider the safety aspect when you’re near water, especially when you are fishing from a boat. I’ve used a lot of different vests that are out on the market and the best tip I can give you is to find a vest with automatic blowout function and one that you feel comfortable in. Try one out at a local store that sells equipment for watersports, fishing or sailing - they usually have really good selection of vests and can recommend one for you!
My weapons of choice
Finally, let’s go through the rods and reels! Now, I want to be clear, there’s a big difference between my set ups if I'm attending a fishing competition of any kind - in which case I probably would have gone for a broader set up to be able to switch rods suitable for the various of lures in a much quicker way. But, when I’m hitting the waters for a more casual fishing, I usually stick to a 3-way setup.
Since you have to be prepared for a couple of different situations when fishing, together with the lures mentioned above, this is a good way to get started.
Spinning reel (4000 model) with a spinning rod classed up to 130 grams cast weight: I’m using this combo for lures such as the smaller versions of the X-Rap Peto and X-Rap Otus. This is spinning setup with a bit more back bone to the rod and great for long casting. I use it mainly for pike fishing and a favorite situation to use it in is definitely combining it with the T-bone 18 cm rigged with a ball head - you can fish it near the bottom with bouncing movements.
Low-profile reel with a fast action model rod up to 170 grams cast weight: Probably my most all-around setup, perfect for casting lures like the X-Rap® Peto, X-Rap® Otus and X-Rap® Haku. A great choice for competitions, but also for any fisherman out there either you’re a beginner or a more dedicated angler.
Low-profile reel (bigger model) With a 12-16 ounce fast heavy rod: This is a setup made for targeting bigger pike only. I guess these rods come from the Muskie fishing but they work really well when I want to cast heavy or weighed down lures. Awesome for pelagic fishing over great depths, and when you want to be sure to set those hooks as firm as possible in the strike.
This is a complete set up for a full day out for me! Of course, when I think of it there always some room for a camera and some food and beverage - nothing is set in stone.
This walk through gave you a glance of the things that can be good to have with you and I hope you also found some items that could help you out on the waters!