Terminal Tackle: All the Stuff on the Other End Your Rod

Posted by nick under Fishing Beginners Guide


Now that you understand the rod and reel, its time to get to know what goes on the end of your line.

Terminal Tackle:

hook, weight, swivels, floats, lures and other tackle that can be attached to the end of your line.

Line: This is the length of thread that goes on your reel. The end of which is attached ultimately to some kind of hook or lure. There are only a few basic types of line available. These include braided nylon or Dacron, and monofilament and fly line (for fly fishing). For our purposes, monofilament line will do just fine. Line comes in several strengths. The strength of a line is listed on the spool as pound test. The most useful strengths for freshwater fishing are 4, 6, 8, and 10 pound strengths.

fishing line photo

Pound Test:

The strength of a line, measured in how much weight a line can support before it breaks. The spool signifies this with the pound mark “#”. For example, 4# test.

Floats: Also known as “bobbers.” These can be made of hollow plastic, balsa wood or Styrofoam. They are designed to float, in order to suspend your bait off the bottom. When you use a float, you want to use the smallest one you can. It should obviously float, but it shouldn’t require a submarine to make it sink either. The float should also stand upright in the water, this can be accomplished with the help of sinkers.

fishing floats photo


These are weights that you attach to your line.They come Traditionally these are made of lead, but recently, environmentaly friendly options have become available: tin, steel, bismuth and tungsten-nickel alloy. These new non-poisonous sinkers tend to be slightly more expensive than the lead ones, but they are better for wildlife and for you.

fishing sinkers photo

Hooks: You probaly know what this is, but just in case.. These are curved pieces of wire with a sharp point on one end (to hook the fish) and a curved eye on the other (to attach the line). They come in many different sizes and styles and must be sharp in order to do their job.

hook photo

Ball-bearing barrel swivel: This is used between your line and your leader. It keeps your line from twisting because it allows the leader to to turn encumbered. The leader is a shorter piece of line on which the hook is tied.

ball bearing swivel photo

Three-way swivel:

These are special swivels that are used in creating certain types of rigs. They allow you to add two leaders to one line.

three way swivel photo

Snap swivel:

This is just swivel with a snap attached to one end. The snap makes it easy to change out your lure, but the extra hardware can scare off some fish.

snap swivel photo

Split ring:

These are attached some lures, many lures come with them, but they can also be purchased an added on as well. The line is tied to the ring, instead of directly on the lure. Split rings, like snaps can impart movement to some of your lures. Split rings are stronger than snaps.

split ring photo


These are attached the same way as a split ring, between the lure and the line. They add movement to the lure, and make it much easier to change out your lures.

fishing snap photo

In the next post we’ll discuss the diffrent kinds bait that go on the end of that hook.

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11 Responses to “Terminal Tackle: All the Stuff on the Other End Your Rod”

  1. scott Says:

    i was just about to go to the store and buy some bobers and bait.

  2. Jeff Blaine Says:

    FWIW, you didn’t explain what a leader is (but referenced the term in the swivel section), when one should be used, what they do…

  3. Beginner Says:

    What is a leader?

  4. Jez&kids Says:

    The leader is explained under ball-bearing barrel swivel – a shorter piece of line on which the hook is attached

  5. jonathan Says:

    don’t forget a wire leader

  6. Larry schmitt Says:

    I would suggest you discuss smashing the hook barb . I was born with a fishing rod in my hand but only in the last 5 years have I started smashing the barb .
    You ask why first off your safety if you impale a hook it can be easily removed
    Secondly It is much easier to remove the hook from the fish.
    Yes you will lose a few but far less than those you kill removing the hook
    Another trick I use is to bend the eyelet slightly towards the barb to tell you where in the hook is embedded when you can’t see it. This also makes removal easier.
    I mostly fish for panfish and bass

  7. ray Says:

    Can you please help? I some floats that I want to use and am struggling to figure what weight to add on the leader so the float stays above water so you can see it? Thanks for sharing excellent ideas for newbies..

  8. jr Says:

    Snap swivels are amazing, i once added a bell sinker to it and the hook, it helped me get some good sized cat fish

  9. meta Says:

    why: ” hen you use a float, you want to use the smallest one you can.”

  10. mike Says:

    Using split shot is the best way to correctly balance a float, many floats have the amount of shot needed to do this marked on them.. A box of assorted split shot(which used to be lead but is now banned) is cheap, with a bit of practice you can get your end tackle to behave in different ways depending on where you place the shot.

  11. NONE Says:

    In the Ball Bearing section: The leader is a shorter piece of line on which the hook is tied.

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