Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Minimalist Approach

I've been thinking about this particular article for quite a while , and I just haven't been able to decide on the best way to go about presenting it. I'm just going to jump right in and put it out there , eloquence be damned.

I ran across one of my small tackle boxes a while back and it's simplicity filled me with a ton of ideas for stuff here on the blog. This particular tackle box is one that I often take with me on short trips to the New River when I know I'll only be fishing with live bait. The only thing it has in it are size 1 hooks and 1/8 ounce split shot sinkers , which are really all I need in a wide variety of situations. The more I've thought about it lately , the more ideas I've come up with on ways I could use these 2 simple pieces of terminal tackle to catch fish. Sure , I'd have to add a couple of things here and there to be successful , but as thoughts of this little box drifted through my head I was amazed at it's versatility. I wouldn't necessarily be using the ideal tackle in any given situation , but I could certainly make it work.

Like a lot of fishermen I know , I'm a sucker for gear. I have tons of fishing tackle stashed away throughout the house , in my workshop outside , in my barn , under my carport and in my boat. I have it stashed everywhere , much to my wife's dismay. 99% of it has been used , and a fairly large percentage of it gets used on a regular basis , but I could certainly downsize (not gonna happen). I guess where I'm going with this is that this particular tackle box would be high on my list of things to keep if I had to choose what to keep and what to get rid of (again , not gonna happen).
Keeping It Simple
I've thought about this more than is probably good for me , but I've had cabin fever so it has been fun to get lost in my thoughts a little and think about ways I could use these very simple pieces of gear to land different species of fish.

1. The original purpose of this little tackle box is to fish for Smallmouth Bass and small Catfish on the New River. So I could use the gear for that just by catching some bait to use. I'd tie a hook directly to the main line and put a split shot 12-18 inches above it. This is a simple way to catch Smallies and also one I've used since I was a kid.

2. With the addition of a pyramid sinker , I could use this gear to tie some very effective bottom fishing rigs for use in the surf. I normally use a swivel and heavier line , but in a pinch I could certainly make this work by tying the rig right on the main line.

3. I could certainly use these hooks and sinkers to fish all kinds of soft plastics for Largemouth Bass. The hooks are a little on the small side , but I could manage. It wouldn't be perfect , but doable.

4. I could use pretty much the same set up mentioned in #1 to fish for trout. The hooks are way too big , but with some Power Bait , or even night crawlers I think I could probably fool one or two into biting eventually.

5. If I had to , I think I could tie some feathers and a little bit of white bucktail to one of these hooks to make a minnow looking fly that would work for a bunch of different species. Add one or two of the split shots to the line directly above the knot and I'd have a workable jig. Not perfect , but I think it would work.

6. I could definitely make a snag rig out of a size 1 hook and a couple of split shots. By putting a split shot or two on the hook itself , right below the eye , and another about 18 inches above the hook I could snag all kinds of fish. It wouldn't be as effective as a treble hook , but it would work. I normally only snag baitfish , but this is all hypothetical so I could do it if I was ever in a catch a fish or go hungry type situation.

There you go. The ramblings of a madman who has went far too long without catching any fish. I could go on and on about different possibilities for these simple pieces of tackle , but I think the ones above should give you a decent idea of how far I have descended into the depths of cabin fever induced madness. I have far too much money invested in all of my other fishing gear to only take hooks and sinkers with me when I go fishing.

An open question to all of my fellow fishermen/women and bloggers : if you've read this far , fill me in on what YOU could do with the hooks and sinkers. At the very least , tell me what you would take fishing with you if you were limited to just a few pieces of tackle or what you would want to have with you if you were in a survival situation. I look forward to hearing what you guys have to say about this , so be sure to leave me a comment!

Have a great week!


  1. Just wanted to say, I love this posting. Sometimes the simpliest things are the best things. Check out my blog at

  2. I think you need a day on the water, Minimalist Man! :) It's good to be versatile though and keep the extra stuff down if you can. Less to lug around means longer fishing days for me anyway!

  3. I think I do too Owl! Thanks for stopping by. I was just thinking about all the different things I could do with a few hooks and some lead and thought I'd share my idiocy with the world :)


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