There are an estimated 60 million anglers in America, who fish for sport, recreation, or pleasure. No matter the reasons, all can agree that bass fishing is one of the most challenging and also one of the most rewarding activities. Largemouth bass are the most sought after gamefish in America, partly because the way you fish for them is so personal. Each angler has their own techniques and preferences, from those to whom fishing is an occasional hobby, to competing professionals.
Largemouth bass fishing is so challenging because the fish are constantly on the move. The movement of largemouth bass is dictated daily, weekly, and seasonally by a number of factors. These include water temperature, spawning desires, the pursuit of food and the evasion of predators. To become a better bass angler, you need to understand how these factors drive bass migration, so no matter what time of year it is, you’ll know the best place to target.
When it comes to bass fishing, each season holds its own opportunities and challenges. The best time of year to fish for bass can be heavily varied, it depends on each individual angler’s circumstances. Generally, the best time of day to catch bass is dawn until 8 am, then from around 5 pm to dusk. This is when the bass are most active. However, this varies seasonally, so we’ll go into more detail.
Throughout this article, we’ll go into detail about the in’s and out’s of bass fishing each season. Conditions change due to water temperatures, visibility, spawning patterns, and other factors, so you need to know how to make the best choice depending on each.
We will explain the best time of day to fish, as well as how to find the best spots and the lures which hold the most chance of success. With all this information, you should get plenty of bites no matter the season, but you can also decide for yourself the best time of year to fish for bass.
In late winter or early spring, after ice-out, bass begin moving away from the deeper areas where they spent the winter. The fish migrate towards the rapidly warming shallow waters, but they don’t necessarily stay. In the early spring, the weather is unpredictable, and the water temperature fluctuates from day-to-day.
As the temperature goes up and down, bass will move back and forth between the deep areas and shallow waters. As well as changing according to the water temperature, the movement of bass fish in the spring is also largely dictated by spawning behavior. This means we can break down spring into three separate periods; pre-spawn, spawn, and post-spawn.
Once temperatures exceed 50 degrees, bass begin swimming towards shallower areas in search of the ideal location to spawn. During this period the weather has a big impact. Water temperature rises quickest where the bottoms are dark and the sun’s impact is strongest. The sun will warm south-facing slopes of coves first, creating areas with higher temperatures.
In the springtime, the best time of day to catch bass is in the late afternoon onwards. Between 6 pm and dusk is the ideal time period, as this is when the conditions are best. Firstly, the lake will have had the whole day in the sun to warm up, so water temperatures are favorable. The low light makes it easier for the bass to see their prey, meaning they’re more active and more likely to bite. The early morning can also be a productive time to fish in the spring, however less so than the evening as the temperatures would be lower.
Largemouth bass exhibit different behaviors and occupy different locations in each stage of the spawning process. In the early spring, bass look to feed a lot, in order to regain the weight lost during the winter as well as building up energy for the spawn. There are several staging areas which the bass may occupy pre-spawn until the shallows start to warm up.
Before this rise in water temperature, shoreline points near deep water, sharp breaks leading to large flats, channels or depressions in spawning coves, and any type of deepwater near a shallow spawning area is where the bass are most likely to be found. Most of these areas aren’t visible to anglers, so they must be located using electronic equipment.
When fishing for deep bass in the early spring, crankbaits, lipless crankbaits, and jigs are most effective, dragged across the bottom of lakes. You could also use spinnerbaits, chatterbaits, swimbaits and worms at this time of year.
Cold fronts during pre-spawn can drive bass fish away from the shallows, back towards deeper water where they await more favorable conditions. Once early morning water temperatures are stable within the 65- to 75-degree range, bass fish will generally move to their spawning beds with a new or full moon.
When they’re moving towards the spawning coves, bass will stop to feed at isolated and covered areas, such as rocks, fallen trees, or old weed patches. At this time, use brightly patterned lures in stained water and natural patterns in clear water.
In the last bit of time before the spawn, bass will seek out the warmest available water. Look towards the northern sections of large lakes, particularly shorelines that get a lot of sun exposure. Protected shallow coves will also retain warmer water, but avoid shady or windy areas as the water temperature here will be colder.
As water temperatures in the spawning coves reach further than 60 degrees, the bass will begin to spawn. As we mentioned, a rapid drop in temperatures during this time could cause the bass to move back to deeper water- but not very far. If you were catching bass a foot off the bank and a cold front moves in, try fishing 5-10 feet further out, and closer to the bottom.
Spawning beds will be located at the warmest, most protected sections of the lake first. Bass spawn in shallow water on a hard bottom and prefer to be next to some form of cover. This could be a stump, dock piling, tree, or bush, and it helps protect them from both predators and wind.
The smaller male bass will typically move to spawning areas first, looking for a place to create a bed, and clearing the area of debris. The larger females often wait nearby where the water is deeper, or where submerged grass is closest to a drop-off.
All the bass in a single body of water won’t spawn at the same time, some spawn while others are still graduating towards the shallows. If you aren’t having success fishing bass in shallow spawning areas, try targeting the deeper bass. At this time, mid-range fishing is the best option.
It gives you a shot at both the males preparing the beds and the females lurking on the outskirts. If you see a male sitting on a spawning bed, chances are a female is waiting nearby, so fish the deeper water leading up to the bed for a chance to catch the bigger female bass.
Targeting bass on their spawning beds can be easy. If you avoid being seen by the bass, using wind and low light as camouflage, it’s more likely that you’ll get a bite. The simplest way to catch bass in these conditions is using a 4- or 5-inch Texas-rigged soft plastic bait, and slowly moving it to the bed.
Then, if the bass picks it up, wait a moment then set the hook. The last few days leading up to the spawn are your best chance of catching a lunker, as the females are often full of eggs.
After the spawn, female bass moves away to the outskirts of the spawning area, while the male stays to protect the eggs and fry. Around the same time, bluegills will move into the area. Bass will wait at ambush points while the bluegill spawn and lures worked past these points can often lead to a successful catch.
Wakebaits in a bluegill pattern are best here and spinnerbaits too. Post-span, the best fishing spots are shoreline points either side of a spawning cove, shoreline pockets, and any cover or structure near bluegill beds.
Throughout the remaining spring period, bass stay in shoreline cover, around trees and brush. Don’t worry about pitching your bait too deep, snagged lines are worth it to fish the spots no one else is.
Bass fishing in the summer can be a challenge, as higher temperatures can make the fish retreat to cooler depths. This happens when water temperatures at dawn hit the 80’s. The best areas to fish in these conditions are depths of around 6 to 12 feet. In the height of summer, especially in clear water, bass may move as deep as 15 to 20 feet.
Summer brings weed growth to the lakes, and the edges of these clearly visible weed walls hold the best bass fishing. In the early morning, bass will be positioned towards the outside of the weed patches, so pull straight up and fish parallel to these areas. We recommend using crankbaits, spinnerbaits, or jigs at these times; try slow-rolling a spinnerbait along the bottom as close to the weeds as possible for the best results.
Bass seek out the shade created by dense aquatic vegetation, and in the hottest parts of the day will move deeper inside the weeds. In deeper lakes, some largemouth bass will move to cooler water around offshore structures. Underwater humps surrounded by deeper water, sunken brush piles, and deep depressions all hold bass in the summer. Fish these areas using drop-shot rigs, football-head jigs, or Carolina rigs and crankbaits. You could also try using topwater lures during low light conditions.
In the summer, bass are most active around dawn and dusk. The reduced sunlight puts the bass at a big advantage over almost all of its prey, and also the temperatures are more favorable. Avoid fishing in the morning hours after a full moon, as the bass at this time are likely inactive and not hungry. If you didn’t already know, bass are influenced heavily by the cycles of the moon. Read here for more information on bass and moon phases.
As the temperatures decrease, bass move to shallower areas to feed and put on weight for the winter. Once the water drops below 55 degrees in the fall, your chances of a bite increase significantly. This is a less popular time of year for anglers, but there are still plenty of big fish waiting to be caught, so don’t let the colder weather stop you.
In the early fall, bass move back into the same shallow areas where they fed before the spawn. In September we recommend the use of medium-size spinnerbaits and square-billed crankbaits. Points once again are great spots for fishing, as well as any cover adjacent to deeper water. A jerkbait is another excellent choice for the fall, and topwaters and spoons can also be effective.
As the lake turns over, when the warmest water changes from the surface to the depths, bass fishing becomes harder. However after the turnover, bass move to the steepest ledges leading to the flats, where the last remaining weeds are. If you get weeds stuck on your hook when fishing these spots, take note of the color. Green weeds are still living, and the bass congregate around them. On the other hand, brown weeds are dying and suck up all the oxygen around their area, so bass don’t stay long around these patches.
At the water temperatures sink to around 40-50 degrees, bass will abandon the flats altogether, and will concentrate mainly on steep slopes. The best fishing spots in late fall are the sharpest drop-offs, so look for these for the best chance at a bite.
In the fall, bass eat well on shad, minnows, frogs, and bluegills in preparation for the winter. The best time of day for fishing in this season is late afternoon to dusk. Once again, temperatures at this time are ideal, and the other factors are favorable too, the same as in spring.
Winter is the most challenging time of all for bass fishing. Daytime temperatures stay below 45 degrees, and even professionals struggle to find fish in this season. Bass do bite in the cold, but in the winter, their metabolism slows and they tend towards lethargy. If the fish are to be found, its where deeper water is located, along steep creek channels and river bends, or sharp points.
Target the sharpest drop-offs you can find, and try dragging a jig over the bottom. Otherwise, fish a jerkbait with long pauses, the colder the water, the longer the pause, up to 25 seconds in the coldest temperatures.
In southern states where the lakes don’t freeze over, bass are generally quite active in the winter. The best time of day for fishing is around noon until 4 pm, when the temperature is warmest. Where lakes freeze over, bass can still be caught most successfully around midday, and can actually be caught through the ice.
If you decide to try your hand at some bass ice fishing, which is easier than you think, check out our article on the best ice fishing boots. Overall, the best days for fishing in winter are overcast, as the lower light conditions are more favorable.
If the easiest fishing is what you’re after, spring is the best time of year to fish for bass. In the spring, the bass are spawning, so they’re incredibly active. This activity makes them easier to catch, so most anglers find success in spring. Throughout pre-spawn, the shallows and just slightly deeper are where you stand the best chance of a bite.
For this, we recommend jigs and spinnerbaits as lures. As the spawning period starts, spawning beds are clearly spottable and make easy targets. You can also fish around the beds for the larger female bass, who are usually waiting nearby. After the span, bluegills move in and will keep the bass attracted and busy, while you can pick up bite after bite. Using wakebaits in a bluegill pattern is best, just work them past the ambush points at bluegill spawning beds.
In the summer, higher temperatures mean the bass move deeper, and they can be found in dense vegetation and shade. You can use topwater lures in low light conditions, or drop-shot rigs and crankbaits. Bass are most active around dawn and dusk in the summer, so make the most of these milder hours.
Fall means colder temperatures and less competition from other anglers, but there are still plenty of bass to catch. The fish move back to the same shallow areas where they fed pre-spawn, so check out these spots before the temperatures drop.
Bonus tip: Watch this video to learn about bass lures that work year-round!
5 Reasons Why Bass is the Most Popular Among Anglers
From California to Maine, fishing is incomplete without bass. Bass is by far the most popular fish to catch in North America. There are even tournaments like the Bassmaster that appeal to seasoned anglers.
But why? Why is the fishing sport incomplete without bass? Why is it so popular? Well, to start with, they are so easy to catch with fishing gear such as beginner Shimano reels to catch them.
In this post, we’re about to outline the top 7 reasons bass fishing is so popular.
Bass is Widely Available
Out of the 50 states in the US, bass is available in 48. That’s 96% availability! Moreover, fishermen have found populations of bass in Canada too! Logic suggests that if a product was to be popular among the general consumers, it better be widely available. The same is true when it comes to bass.
Another reason is that the bass community is a huge one. In fact, it’s one of the largest fishing communities in the world. In every city or town you go to, you can find a community around.
The best part is that the members don’t have to go far to quench their thirst for fishing. All they have to do is go to the nearest lake and bring out the reels!
It’s a Very Aggressive Fish
Yes, the aggression of the species plays a major role when hunters consider game options. Fishing is also a type of hunting, as is still believed by most people.
Bass happens to be a very territorial and aggressive fish species. They attack everything that they think is alive and in their territory. This makes it relatively easy to fish for bass, as they’ll attack the lure as soon as they spot it.
However, the same aggression makes it hard for new anglers to land the fish. Just because you hook it doesn’t mean you’re going to land it. It’s very possible that the fish breaks the line during the pull-in.
Bass is Available Throughout the Year
Sure, you’ll not find the fish at the same place on the lake throughout the year. And the technique you use during the summer will not work in winter. But it’s very much possible to fish for bass at any time of the year. Depending on the time, you’ll need to change your technique and visit different locations.
Summer is statistically the most popular time to fish for bass. In the fishing world, “structure” refers to the condition of the lake bed. Bass moves to deeper water during winter to hibernate. If you manage to master fishing in the winter, you don’t even have to move your boat to catch the biggest game!
From Beginner to Pro Everyone Has Equal Opportunities
Even if you start fishing for bass recreationally, you can draw a clear path to becoming a pro. There are all kinds of training programs and tournaments that you can attend to build up your skills and compete at the top level.
If you like traveling, this can be an amazing career opportunity too! There are different types of bass fishing tournaments that you can attend and showcase your skill. Of course, there are prizes associated with these tournaments that can change your life for the better!
There are many people who started fishing recreationally but later turned into professional anglers because they love the lifestyle so much.
It’s Easy to Find Equipment
When there are enough people interested in something, the “something” has the potential to support a full-blown economy. The same is true for bass fishing. Thanks to the massive popularity of bass, it’s easy to find all kinds of fishing tackles.
For example, if you visit the Melton Tackle website, you’ll find all kinds of quality fishing gear , including reels, rods, hooks, and flies designed for bass fishing.
This has a very interesting looping effect. Since bass is well known, when new anglers look for a tackle, they usually find a bass tackle. This cycle continues to grow the popularity of bass fishing.
We can list hundreds of other reasons why bass is the most popular fish when it comes to fly fishing. But the ones we’ve listed are, we believe, the top reasons fueling the popularity of this freshwater fish.
If you’re new to fishing and you like the time spent outdoors, you’re in for a treat in bass fishing. Go out there, find a mentor, and start your fishing journey!
5 Best Tackle Boxes for Fishin
With so many products available on the market, finding the right tackle box for your needs can be a bit overwhelming. For this reason, we’ve tested and selected the best-value, top-performing options on the market, guaranteed to enhance your fishing adventures.
January 3, 2023/Samantha Bos Table of Contents
No matter what type of angler you are, a quality tackle box or bag is a must-have item. Not only does a tackle box protect your fishing accessories during transport, but it also allows you to neatly organize your tackle so you’ll always know exactly where each lure is – no more digging around, fumbling through tangled hooks.
With so many products available on the market, finding the right tackle box for your needs can be a bit overwhelming. For this reason, we’ve tested and selected the best-value, top-performing options on the market, guaranteed to enhance your fishing adventures.
Our Best Tackle Box overview includes 5 of the most top-rated products available on the market in terms of customer ratings, value, and quality.
5 Best Tackle Boxes – Overview
- Best Overall: Plano Guide Series Tackle System (also on Bass Pro)
- Best Lightweight: Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag
- Best Budget-Friendly: Flambeau Outdoors 2-Tray Tackle Box
- Best for Versatile Storage: Wild River Tackle Tek Backpack
- Best Easy Access Storage Rack: Plano Angled Tackle System
We’ve included something for every fisherman, regardless of preference and budget. From compact tackle boxes with budget-friendly pricing to super spacious and highly portable tackle backpacks, there’s bound to a tackle box on our list for you. Whether you’re interested in a hard or soft case model, we’ve got you (and your tackle box requirements) covered.
If you’re not quite sure about what type of tackle box matches your needs, be sure to check out our handy buyer’s guide at the bottom of this post.
In our buyer’s guide, we take a detailed look at the different factors that need to be considered when buying a tackle box. We’ll also provide you with more information on the pros and cons of each type of design.
(Also available on Bass Pro Shops.)
The Plano 7771-01 Guide Series Tackle System is one of the best-selling, highest-rated tackle boxes on Amazon. After testing it out myself, it’s no surprise why this tackle box is so popular among anglers.
This spacious, hard-case tackle box offers ample storage for your tackle, spinnerbait, and tools.
Related: The best gazebo to take camping
It features a see-through Duraview cover and easy-grip, molded handle for extra portability. Manufactured in the USA, this tackle-box adheres to high-quality standards and is made by a renowned brand (Plano) in tackle box solutions.
The Plano 7771 Guide Series Tackle Box, like all products by Plano, comes with a limited lifetime warranty. Should you encounter any manufacturing defects, Plano will provide you with a full replacement.
- Made in the USA
- 3 removable bait racks
- 4 pull out tackle trays
- Extra bulk storage
- Top access
- Limited lifetime warranty
- Slightly more expensive
- Not ideal for hikes/carrying over long distances
The highly portable Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag features a soft case design complete with plenty of storage space. Extremely heavy-duty, this tackle box has a spacious 38.8-liter capacity and includes 4 large tackle trays.
Its main compartment is completely customizable so you can easily adjust it to suit your specific requirements. The total dimensions of this bag are 15.75 x 10.8 x 8.2 inches, and it only weighs a total of 2.62 pounds.
Aside from a spacious main compartment, the Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag also includes additional storage options. There are two front pockets and two holsters that are great for storing small tools such as pliers or a knife. In addition, there’s a large mesh pocket on the exterior backside. I love that this tackle bag features two removable fishing line dispensers at both ends.
Made from first-class 1680 polyester, this tackle bag is extremely durable. The design features a quality PVC backing, heavy-duty zippers, strong buckles, and a waterproof molded base. Plus, this bag is extra comfortable to carry thanks to a thick webbing on the polypropylene shoulder strap.
As a testimony to its quality, this tackle bag is backed by a manufacturer’s lifetime warranty. Even though we don’t expect you to encounter any issues relating to quality, it’s always good to know that a guaranteed replacement is inevitable – that’s what we call a great catch!
- High-quality 1680 polyester fabric
- PVC backing
- Heavy-duty zippers
- Waterproof molded base
- Spacious storage
- Holds up to 4 large tackle boxes (included)
- Adjustable dividers
- Additional front pockets with organizers
- Large exterior mesh pocket on the back
- Comes with 2 plier holsters
- Lifetime manufacturers warranty
- Padded shoulder strap/portability
- Fishing line dispensers
- Not as durable as hard case tackle boxes
- Will weigh you down when filled with gear
- No additional rain-cover included
- The seams may fray with long-term wear and tear
If you’re looking for a compact, budget-friendly tackle box, then the Flambeau Outdoors Classic 2-Tray style just may be the tackle box for you.
Although this plastic tackle box is not very big in stature, simply organizing the storage space will ensure you have plenty of room for your lures, tools, and bait. This tackle box includes eight built-in tray compartments and 6 removable dividers which allow you to keep your gear securely organized.
The efficient layout of the Flambeau Outdoors Classic 2-Tray Tackle Box is further enhanced with plenty of base storage. Even though it may be on the small side (14 x 8.2 x 7.6 inches), this tackle box can pack a whole lot more than you’d expect at first glance.
The silhouette provides you with instant access to your tackle via a flip-top lid compartment, whilst a Drawtite latch makes sure your items remain secure. This tackle box features tip-guard tray supports to ensure that your fishing accessories stay firmly in place, even when on the go.
The Flambeau Outdoors Classic 2-Tray Tackle Box is extremely lightweight and portable. When empty, it only weighs one pound!
Although this best-selling tackle box is highly affordable, it does not compromise on quality. Considering its listed price, this tackle system is simply a steal.
- Comes built with eight tray compartments with six removable dividers
- Drawtite latch
- 8 built-in tray compartments
- 6 removable dividers
- Easy Access flip-top lid
- Lightweight (just 1 pound)
- Too compact for some anglers
- Not the most heavy-duty design
- No space for larger tools
- Can become top-heavy when filled
Note: You can also get this backpack at Bass Pro Shops here.
When it comes to tackle backpacks, the Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad is just about as good as it gets. Although it’s slightly more expensive than your typical plastic tackle box, it’s well worth the splurge.
Designed for heavy-duty, on-the-go use, this tackle bag is the perfect choice for anglers that love to venture deep into the wilderness. To make carrying the Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad Lighted Backpack even easier, it features large, adjustable padded shoulder straps, a sternum strap, and a padded carrying handle.
This sturdy, functional tackle backpack is a versatile choice for additional gear storage. It can hold up to 6 medium-sized 3600 tackle trays, and 4 additional 3500 tackle trays. Plus, it features a multitude of zippered compartments and mesh pockets to ensure there’s plenty of room for all of your favorite tackle, lures, reels, and more.
The large upper storage area also includes a removable divider. When you need extra space for larger items, simply remove the divider to maximize the interior storage capacity. I love that this tackle bag includes a front pocket cover that folds down, providing you with a makeshift work surface.
Clever design elements
This smart alternative to a traditional tackle box comes with various clever design elements. For example, there’s a molded sunglass compartment on the top that keeps your eyewear secure, and an external removable plier holster for additional convenience, with or without the tackle bag.
The Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad Backpack also includes a rain cover, ensuring your pack and gear stay dry, no matter the weather conditions.
This backpack has an integrated LED light system that lights up the pack in the dark, allowing you to easily locate it (and your tackle) even in low light and dark conditions. This is an ideal feature if you enjoy fishing in the early hours of the morning, or at night.
- Heavy-duty, quality construction
- Versatile storage options
- Holds up to 6 #3600 trays
- Holds up to 4 #3500 trays
- Internal mesh pockets
- Removable divider in the upper compartment
- External gear pockets
- External pliers holder
- Sunglasses compartment
- Comes with rain-cover to keep dry in wet conditions
- Integrated LED light system
- Very portable/adjustable shoulder straps
- Can feel too bulky for some anglers
- Does not provide instant overview of gear
- Straps are prone to wear and tear
- Zippers may break with repeated usage
The Plano 732 Angled Tackle System is another firm favorite amongst fishing enthusiasts. This highly-rated Plano tackle box features a built-in storage rack that holds two medium and three large utility boxes.
Its total dimensions are 18 x 9 x 10 inches, whilst its weight is 5.65 pounds (without gear). Although it’s not the most lightweight tackle box on our list, we reckon it’s a fair trade-off considering its ample storage space and durability. If you own a boat, this could be the tackle box for you.
Made from hard plastic, the Plano 732 Angled Fishing Tackle Box features a built-in storage rack with multiple utility boxes that sit at a nice 15-degree angle. This ‘angled’ configuration allows you to quickly reach for anything you want, providing you with easy access when you need it.
This tackle box also includes additional storage compartments situated on top of the lid and an extra storage area below the lid that can hold a lot of tackle or other fishing accessories.
The top storage compartments are fitted with DuraView lens covers that provide a clear view of the contents. For stability, this tackle box also features non-skid rubber feet. These feet are ideal for keeping the box in place, even on slippery or wet surfaces.
An oversized handle helps evenly distribute the weight and provides a firm, comfortable grip. Two locking latches keep the contents of the tackle box firmly in place, so you don’t have to worry about losing any of your expensive tackle when rolling over massive waves.
- Integrated storage rack for easy access
- Holds 3 large utility boxes
- Holds 2 medium utility boxes
- Additional storage compartment under the lid
- Additional storage pockets on top of the lid
- Angled silhouette with ‘pull out’ trays
- Duraview Lens Covers
- Non-skid rubber feet
- Strong locking latches
- Might be prone to tipping when filled to maximum capacity
- Quite a heavy tackle box (5.65lbs)
- Not super portable over long distances
- Not fully waterproof according to some reviews
Every product that we’ve covered on our list will make for a great choice to keep your fishing gear organized. The best tackle box for you really depends on where, when, and how you plan to use it.
For anglers who love venturing out into nature for days at a time, then a softshell portable-style tackle unit like the Wild River Tackle Tek Nomad backpack or the Spiderwire Wolf Tackle Bag make for ideal choices.
For the fishing enthusiasts who want maximum durability and capacity (where portability is not the main priority), a hard case style such as the Plano 7771-01 Guide Series Tackle System will be your best choice.
No matter what type of angler you are, all 5 products on our list score top-marks for quality, value, and convenience, and have gathered hundreds of 5-star reviews by satisfied Amazon customers.
Be sure to check out the following buyer’s guide for further details about different factors to consider when buying the tackle box that’s right for you.
In the unlikely case that you do encounter any problems, you can simply contact the manufacturer or seller to request a full refund or replacement.
Best Tackle Box – Buying Guide
Important Factors When Buying A Tackle Box
When buying a tackle box, there are multiple factors to consider. For example, size, the type of shell (hard or soft), the price, the material, and the configuration. A tackle box that is a perfect match with one angler, might be completely the wrong choice for another fishing enthusiast. Which is why it’s crucial to not just pick a tackle box with high consumer rating and fancy features, but one that actually ‘ticks the box’ for your requirements.
Below we’ve listed the most important factors to take into account when shopping for tackle boxes, allowing you to determine which type and style will be ‘the best’ for you. Get informed about the different possibilities, and learn how to find the best tackle box for your needs by using these handy criteria:
Type of Tackle Box
Generally, tackle storage products can be divided into 3 main types: hard tackle boxes, soft tackle bags/boxes, and tackle backpacks. Each has its characteristics, and pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look at each category:
Hard Tackle Boxes
The hard tackle box is a classic choice to store your lures and bait. This trunk-style silhouette was originally a single-tray storage box made of wood or wicker but now comes in a variety of materials and configurations. The first plastic tackle boxes were created by Plano, who noticed anglers needed hard cases that didn’t rust or degrade such as wood or metal boxes did. Still a preferred material of choice, most hard-case tackle boxes are made of waterproof plastic compounds. A smart choice, as these are both lightweight and durable, plus easy to clean.
Most hard-shell tackle boxes have a trunk-style or suitcase-style silhouette with a handle at the top or side, and clips to lock the box. Some larger hard tackle boxes may also come with wheels, or an extendable handle for extra maneuverability.
Though the interior configuration of hard tackle boxes differs per brand and style, most designs will feature some sort of cascading/folding trays and/or a sliding drawer. These trays or drawers come with various smaller compartments, allowing you to easily organize your favorite lures. By keeping lures and jigs in various separate compartments or levels, you can quickly locate the right piece of equipment. Plus, this storage solution also ensures your fishing gear is less likely to get tangled, or damaged, during transport.
Soft Tackle Bags/ Soft Tackle Boxes
We’ve noticed that recently the popularity of soft tackle bags and soft-shell tackle boxes is on the rise. And it’s no surprise why these styles are becoming a go-to choice for anglers: as their portability is a big lure.
Soft tackle bags are often still shaped like a box/trunk, but the fabric material makes them more pliable and lightweight than plastic counterparts. The silhouette is most commonly made of nylon or polyester. Unlike hard-case tackle boxes that generally tend to only have a single handle, most soft tackle bags also come with a shoulder strap. Allowing you to easily sling it over your shoulder for extra comfort on the go.
Just like hard tackle boxes, the interior of a soft tackle bag will differ depending on the brand, size, and style. Though, as a general rule of thumb, look for a bag that has multiple compartments to keep your gear easily organized. Most soft tackle boxes will include various inner compartments and dividers, zippered pockets, and/or removable trays to comfortably store your lures, reels, and spools in one, lightweight silhouette. Some brands include removable plastic utility boxes with their soft-shell bags, which are quite similar to standard Tupperware containers. Though handy for storing tackle, these boxes don’t quite provide the same overview as tackle trays or drawers. So if a quick overview is a priority for you, a soft fishing tackle bag might not be your best choice, and we would recommend a hard tackle box instead.
Take a soft-shell tackle bag, add two shoulder straps, and voila: you’ve reached the final category: tackle backpacks. This style is the best of both worlds. Not only does it contain various dividers/compartments to keep your tackle safely secured, but the backpack-style silhouette makes it ideal for longer hikes or fishing trips. The added portability makes it a popular style for multi-day adventures where you have to carry your tackle over longer distances. A downside is, that just like soft-shell tackle boxes, a tackle backpack does not provide an instant overview of your gear. When opened, you’ll have to sift through the contents to locate pieces, instead of instantly seeing which tackle is where. Meaning that separate plastic containers are key to keeping your stuff organized inside the pack.
Disclaimer: we’ve chosen not to include any fly fishing tackle gear in this overview and buying guide, such as the “Go-To” Fly Box by New Phase. As fly fishing tackle boxes only caters to a very specific fishing type/type of fish. Instead, we’ve chosen to include versatile options that accommodate a range of tackle/lures/sinkers/fishing accessories, and other saltwater and freshwater fishing gear.
When looking for the best tackle box, size is one of the most important factors. Every angler needs a design large enough to store your supplies, but size-up too much and the tackle box can be heavy and difficult to carry. It’s tempting to choose a larger option, but you may not even need all that storage space.
Compare it to a closet for your clothes. You could buy a super large option that has enough room for all your 4-season clothing, but this will take up a lot of space and cost you a pretty penny. Or you could size down and simply alternate between your winter and summer wardrobe. The same goes for a fishing tackle box. You could buy a heavy-duty, extra-large size with dozens of storage compartments to fit all your tackle or gear. Or you could size down and simply pack it based on what gear you’ll be needing on that specific trip. If you’re going on an open-water adventure on a boat, you can leave your surf fishing lures at home. Or vice versa.
Sometimes bigger is indeed better, but when it comes to fishing tackle boxes, we prefer a mid-sized option that is both spacious enough for fishing essentials, yet also portable enough to easily carry to our favorite fishing spot. However, the choice is of course completely up to you!
The material of a tray tackle box or tackle bag depends mostly on the style. Hard-cased tackle boxes are generally made of metal or plastic, whilst soft shoulder bags and backpacks are produced of nylon or polyester fabrics. There’s not one material that reigns supreme, as each has its specific pros and cons.
Plastic is lightweight, corrosion-proof, easy to clean, and doesn’t retain odor. Metal is more durable but may be prone to rust depending on the type of metal alloy used. Fabric is even more lightweight than plastic, and its pliable qualities make it easier to compress during transport.
Overall, there’s a simple way to ensure the material of the tackle box lives up to expectation: make sure the material is a high-grade/top-grade choice. For example: if plastic, ensure it’s BPA-free and non-toxic. If nylon, ensure its a durable variety such as ripstop nylon with a water-resistant coating. And if metal, look for a corrosion-resistant option such as stainless steel. Regardless of which material you prefer, quality is key. Check what customer reviews are saying about the durability, waterproof qualities and wear and tear of the plastic/metal/fabric, etc. And double-check the specific type of material used, as listed by the manufacturer. Yes, we know this can be a laborious process, but if you want top performance in the long-term, it does help to do your research.
Fortunately, there is an alternative: our Best Tackle Box overview. All 5 options listed tick the box when it comes to quality and durability. With a big thumbs up from fellow angling enthusiasts. We’ve only included products that adhere to high-quality standards, to provide you with a premium selection available on Amazon that doesn’t disappoint.
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Samantha is an avid outdoor enthusiast who loves exploring the great unknown. She’s traveled all across the globe to sample nature’s delights. And her travels have taken her to all corners of the world: from hiking the famous Inca Trail in Peru to ice-hiking on glaciers in Alaska.
Besides hiking, Samantha likes to challenge herself with all kinds of outdoor activities. She doesn’t shy away from testing her limits. For example, navigating Grade 5 rapids whilst whitewater rafting in New Zealand, and avoiding close-encounters with bird-eating spiders and poisonous plants in the Australian rainforest. Currently based in Manhattan, New York, she’s traded in the real jungle for an urban jungle. But she tries to get out and explore nature in the surrounding Hudson Valley, Catskills, and Harriman State Park areas as often as she can.
She shares her knowledge of hiking, backpacking, and outdoor activities in handy ‘Best of’ overviews. Bundling the best-value, top-rated products that will no doubt make every reader a ‘happy camper’.
7 Best Portable Fish Finders Reviewed
Fishing can take a lot of time and patience, which for some fishermen can be part of the fun, whereas for others can be downright aggravating. Finding the right fishing spot can be difficult because unless you put on goggles and go underwater yourself, you’re not able to see the fish, the water depth, or anything else underneath of you.
That’s where portable fish finders come in. They do the work of finding the fish, measuring the water depth and temperature, and some even come equipped with GPS to help you find and save the best fishing spots.
Fish finders come in a variety of sizes with a variety of features that can help you get the best experience and most success out of your fishing trip.
Best Portable Fish Finders – Reviewed
- Best Portable Fish Finder Screen: Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7cv Series Fish Finders
- Best Old School Portable Fish Finder: Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
- Best Castable Portable Fish Finder: Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
- Best Smart Device Portable Fish Finder: ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Sonar Fish Finder
- Best User-Friendly Portable Fish Finder: Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Fishfinder
- Best All-Season Portable Fish Finder: Lowrance Hook2 4x Portable
- Best Portable Fish Finder to Attract Fish: LUCKY Portable Fish Scanner with LCD Screen
Best Portable Fish Finder Screen
1. Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7cv Series Fish Finders
As screens seem to be getting smaller and smaller, it may be hard to catch important details of what’s below the water’s surface. The Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7 Series Fish Finders features not only a larger 7-inch screen but vivid colors that help make fish and structure more distinguishable in ultimate clarity and contrast. There are seven different colors to choose from, now your fishing trip is more personalized to you. With a screen resolution of 800 x 480, you’ll have an easier time distinguishing between things like rocks and fish.
The high-quality Garmin sonar provides a detailed look underwater, and the CHIRP technology transmits a large range of frequencies. The high-sensitivity GPS allows you to map out and create your routes, as well as track your boat’s speed. Up to two million acres of map can be saved and stored, and you can use the waypoint marking to mark hot spots.
Built-in WiFi allows you to connect to the ActiveCaptain app where you can receive smart notifications, transfer waypoints, and access the Garmin Quickdraw community. Garmin is a reputable name in the technology department, and this portable fish finder only adds to it. Find it now on Bass Pro Shops or Amazon.
Dimensions: 11.4″L x 8.9″W x 8.2″H
Sonar frequency: 200 kHz / 15° and 77 kHz / 45°
Depth range: 1,900 ft
- 7″ screen size, WVGA color, and backlit
- Seven vivid colors and a great contrast help make fish and structure more distinguishable
- Garmin 2D sonar
- High-sensitivity GPS allows you to map and create routes and track boat speed
- Quickdraw Contours mapping
- Waypoint marking to mark hot spots
- Detects water temperature
- Built-in WiFi
- Compatible with ActiveCaptain app
- Included transducer for Garmin CHIRP sonar
- Included tilt/swivel quick install mount
- Pricey compared to other portable fish finders
Best Old School Portable Fish Finder
2. Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder
For every fancy fish finder, there is a more basic one that still comes equipped with useful features. The Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder may be for those minimalists who are looking more for function and less for looks. The display is in black and white, which could eliminate confusing spots on the screen. It’s small enough that you can strap it around your neck with the included neck strap and store it in your tackle box when you don’t need it.
Although small, it can last for up to five hours, uses sonar to detect not only fish but water depth, size of the fish, plants, sand, and rocks. Whether you’re fishing in freshwater or saltwater, this fish finder can measure over 300 ft deep in the water and comes equipped with a fish alarm. This is ideal for kayaks or small boats since the finder can detect when moving at up to 5mph.
Fishing at night is no problem due to the backlight mode, and if you’re more into ice fishing, the Venterior fish finder can even withstand temperatures as low as zero degrees. This is a great option if you’re on a budget or are a beginner fisherman. Check it out on Amazon.
Dimensions: 10.63 x 6.65 x 2.48 in
Sonar frequency: 200 kHZ
Depth range: 328 ft
- Minimalist fish finder for beginners or budget cautious
- Neck strap for convenient carrying
- Small for ultimate portability
- AAA Battery powered for up to five hours
- Detects fish, water depth, sand, rocks, and plants
- Fish alarm
- Night fishing is easier with backlight mode
- Can withstand temperatures as low as zero degrees
- The screen is not waterproof
Best Castable Portable Fish Finder
3. Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar
Maybe shore fishing and relaxing in your chair is your type of fishing. The Deeper PRO+ Smart Sonar is a castable fish finder that allows you to create maps on your smartphone by simply casting it out and reeling it back in. It is the only fish finder currently on the market that can make bathymetric maps from the shore since most work best on a boat. It also has a casting range of 330 ft, which is farther than any other castable fish finder.
With dual beam sonar, the Deeper PRO sends 15 scans per second, so you can get the most accurate reading possible. It pairs with your android or IOS device in seconds, and the WiFi connection is 10x faster than Bluetooth.
Three different color palettes help with visibility, and the advanced display outlines plants, structure, and the bottom contour and consistency. As soon as you start scanning, the water depth and temperature are measured, so you can find the best place to cast. You can mark fish and your favorite fishing spots to come back to.
Once you finally get that perfect catch, you can log it with pictures and notes, as well as equipment, bait, and techniques used. Buy it now on Amazon.
Dimensions: 5.9 x 5.32 x 2.95 in
Sonar frequency: Dual-beam Frequency 290 kHz (15°)/90 kHz (55°)
Depth range: 260 ft
- Castable fish finder that allows you to cast from a fishing line
- Create maps from the shore on your smartphone and look at them on any device
- Casting range of 330 ft
- Dual-beam sonar for a narrow or wide beam
- Target separation of 1″ for accurate readings
- Sends 15 scans per second
- Color screen for visibility and structure
- Measures water depth and temperature
- Mark fishing spots, campsites, and other locations
- Log catches with pictures, notes, and details
- Lithium rechargeable battery
- Can withstand as low as -4 degrees
- Need a smartphone to use it
Best Smart Device Portable Fish Finder
4. ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Sonar Fish Finder
Sharing your fishing trip just got easier with the ReelSonar Wireless Bluetooth Smart Sonar Fish Finder. The iBobber does much more than just provide easy access to share your catches on social media, but that’s just one of the unique features you’ll get. This wireless fish finder is small enough to fit in the palm of your hand and uses Bluetooth to link to your smartphone or smartwatch, making your fish-finding experience more convenient. Cast up to 100 ft away for accurate readings.
The sonar technology detects up to 135 ft, and you can choose between raw sonar or fish tagging views. Fish under 15″ get an orange tag, but fish over 15″ get a green tag, so you can decide whether you want to go for it or not.
A trip log can allow you to record everything from location, water temperature, types of fish caught, and more. Drop a pin at your favorite fishing spot, so you can come back again. With 10-hour battery life, you can be fishing all day. Check it out on Amazon.
Dimensions: 2″ x 2″ x 1″
Sonar frequency: 118 kHz at 90 degrees
Depth range: 135 ft
- The smallest, lightest portable unit
- Patented sonar fish identifier technology
- Choose between raw sonar or fish tagging views
- Different tags for fish under or over 15″
- Links to your smartphone or smartwatch via Bluetooth up to 100 ft
- LED Beam
- Rechargeable battery lasts up to 10 hours
- Contour mapping of waterbed and structure
- Depth finder
- Included carry case
- Easy access to post on social media
- Mark the location of your favorite fishing spot
- Strike and fish alarm
- Included charger
- Need a smartphone or smartwatch to use
Best User-Friendly Portable Fish Finder
5. Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Fishfinder
Simple and effective is the best way to describe the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Fishfinder since it provides just enough of the qualities you need when fishing. With the user-friendly interface, Fish ID +, depth and fish alarms are simple. The dual-beam sonar allows you to choose from a narrow beam for more detail or a wide beam for a larger coverage of fish, structures, and ground contours.
Although it doesn’t come equipped with GPS or live mapping, it can reach a depth range of up to 600 ft, so if you’re not shallow water fishing, this is a great option. The color display and 272H x 480V screen resolution help provide a clearer view of what’s underneath the water.
The fish alarm can be set to small, medium, or large fish, so you won’t waste your time on catches you don’t want, and the depth alarm lets you know when the transducer hits the desired depth. A truly simple yet effective device for a range of fishermen, from novice to advanced. Find it now on Bass Pro Shops or Amazon.
Dimensions: 3.6″ x 3.9″ x 6.8″
Sonar frequency: Dual-beam sonar 320 ft (20) 455 kHz 600 ft (20) 200 kHz
Depth range: 600 ft
- Deep depth range
- Easy-to-use Fish ID interface
- Depth and fish alarms for specific depths and sizes
- Color display to distinguish fish, structure, and waterbed
- Included tile and swivel mount
- Suction cup for transducer
- Easy for anyone to use
- AA battery powered for up to 10-hour battery life
- Dual-beam sonar for narrow or wide reading
- Included carry case
- Doesn’t come equipped with GPS, maps, or some of the features other fish finders do
Best All-Season Portable Fish Finder
6. Lowrance Hook2 4x Portable
When you fish in the summer and in the winter, it’s understandable that you may not want to purchase two different fish finders. The Lowrance Hook2 4x Portable is great for all seasons, including winter when you want to go ice fishing. This simple yet powerful fish finder is designed to go anywhere as it includes an ice transducer and technology that adjusts sonar settings as the fishing conditions change.
The wide-angle CHIRP sonar covers more water in less time and doubles the coverage of other competitors. A simple display gives you a one-touch access keypad, so you can spend more time fishing and less time messing with the settings. The high-resolution SolarMAX screen provides a clear display in any condition.
With a high-sensitivity GPS antenna and GPS plotter, you’ll be able to save waypoints, follow trails, and travel to your favorite fishing spots. It comes with a portable kit for easy and safe storage when you’re not using it. Check it out on Bass Pro Shops or Amazon.
Dimensions: 10.7″ x 9.5″ x 4.4″
Sonar frequency: 200 kHz
Depth range: 200 ft
- Designed by anglers for a simple and effective experience
- Includes ice transducer for ice fishing
- Adjusts sonar settings as the fishing conditions change
- Wide-angle CHIRP sonar doubles the coverage of other fish finders
- Down imaging sonar
- One-touch access keypad
- High-resolution SolarMAX screen for sunlight-viewable brightness
- High-sensitivity GPS antenna and GPS plotter
- Save waypoints, follow trails, and travel to your favorite fishing spots
- Comes with a portable kit
- 4″ screen
- The screen may not be big enough for some anglers
Best Portable Fish Finder to Attract Fish
7. LUCKY Portable Fish Scanner with LCD Screen
Throwing bait into the water isn’t the only way to attract fish; they can also be attracted through light. The fish LUCKY Portable Fish Scanner comes equipped with a yellow transducer that has two light beams on the bottom, making it easier to attract fish and see it in the dark if you go night fishing. The LCD screen helps keep the handheld fish finder last longer as it provides efficient energy. It also has LED backlighting, which may come in handy in darker conditions.
The transducer can measure water depth, temperature, underwater structure, and fish size. It comes with an option to set the detection sensitivity between one and 10. One being detecting minimal detail, and 10 detecting the most detail. This small unit is extremely portable, making it easy to store and carry and helping you save room for other fishing gear.
If the scanner or transducer runs out of battery, they can both be easily recharged with the included USB chargers. The transducer can last for up to 10 hours, and the scanner can last for up to four. You can find it now on Amazon.
Dimensions: 5.12″ x 2.76″ x 1.38″
Sonar frequency: 200 kHz
Depth range: 147 ft
- LCD screen energy efficient and provides backlighting
- Measures water depth, temperature, structure, and fish size
- Yellow transducer comes equipped with two light beams to help attract fish and see in the dark
- Small and extremely portable
- Easily rechargeable
- Two user modes: wireless/simulation
- 196 ft wireless operating range
- Depth and fish alarm
- Set sensitivity to see more or less with a scale from 1 to 10
- 2.4″ screen may be too small for some users
How Does a Portable Fish Finder Work?
Even though you now know some of the best portable fish finders out there, you may still be wondering how they are actually able to detect fish and other structures underneath the surface. Portable fish finders use sonar beams to transmit sound waves. The transducer tracks how much time between when the signal is sent to when it’s returned and uses that to measure the depth of the object the sound bounced off of.
Like with any piece of technology, fish finders can take practice to get the hang of it. If you’ve never used a fish finder before, it may be more beneficial to go for a simpler model like the Venterior VT-FF001 Portable Fish Finder or the Humminbird PiranhaMAX 4 Fishfinder. More advanced fishermen may need the Garmin STRIKER Vivid 7cv Series Fish Finders in order to have access to GPS and store maps for the best and their favorite fishing spots.
All of the above fish finders have the ability to track fish location, and a lot of them have the ability to track the size and even alarm you when the desired size passes by. Ultimately, that is probably priority one when looking for a fish finder. Whether you want the extra bells and whistles is up to you.
Portable fish finders are great because they are designed to go anywhere your next fishing trip takes you. They don’t take up much room and are light enough to carry around. Depending on if you’re kayak fishing, shore fishing, or anything in between, you can find a portable fish finder that meets your needs.
Aside from just finding fish, some fish finders can lead you to the best spots to get the most fishing success, so you won’t have to spend time waiting around for the fish to come to you. There are simple and more advanced models that each provide different features, so once you decide which features are most important to you, you can start enhancing your fishing experience with a portable fish finder.
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