3 Most Valuable Pieces of Equipment for an Angler

via flickr alex_ford

via flickr alex_ford

What’s your MVPE – Most Valuable Piece of Equipment? Today we’re looking at the most valuable fishing equipment every angler needs. Items like lures, hooks, rods and reels are too general and are not included when considering an MVPE. An MVPE candidate is an item you can’t leave home without, is used frequently, and helps you catch fish.

Here is our list of the three most valuable fishing equipment items:

1. Needle Nose Pliers

A good pair of needle nose pliers is incredibly handy. They are essential in retrieving hooks in soft
mouth fish (catfish, bullheads, suckers, carp, etc.) and hooks that are lodged further down the throat of
a fish. They also are valuable in straightening hooks, cutting fishing line, tightening loose nuts and many
other things.

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Rapala Fisherman’s Pliers – $8 – $10 Amazon
Valuable Fishing Equipment

2. Sunglasses

Sunglasses provide three important functions. First, they provide protection from the sun. UV light is incredibly harmful to your eyes. Nearly all sunglasses, including most cheap ones, provide at least some UV protection. Two, polarized sunglasses allow you to see through glare on the water. This gives you better views of your line and fish/vegetation. Three, they make you look cool. Even the goofiest person can look good in a sharp pair of sunglasses.

Featured Product:

Flying Fisherman Maverick Polarized Sunglasses – $20 Amazon

Most Valuable Fishing Equipment

3. Camera

BluegillSlayer.com is a huge advocate of C.P.R. – Catch, Photograph, and Release. Cameras provide you with the ability to share memories and document amazing trips. You can show the world what you’ve slayed without actually killing the fish. Nearly all modern cell phones take at least decent photographs. Digital cameras are very affordable and can take excellent shots. Action cameras like go-pros provide amazingly high quality video. Cell phones, digital cameras and go-pros all also have accessories that make them waterproof – a must if your clumsy or just don’t like the idea of wasting a few hundred bucks.

Featured Product

FRIEQ Universal Waterproof Case – $10 Amazon

Best fishing equipment

Honorable Mention


Why it should have been included:

There are few things worse in life than a bad sunburn. It’s always one of those “in hindsight” things where you wish you would have used it (or more of it). The sun has always been a sneaky enemy of fisherman. Many anglers start out the day before sunrise and forget to apply it as the day goes by.

Additionally, some of the worse sunburns you experience occur on cooler days or days with some cloud cover. Between 10:00 AM and 4:00 PM, the sun’s UV light is the strongest, regardless of conditions or temperature.

Why it wasn’t included:

Sunscreen is important for all outdoor activities, not just fishing.


Why it should have been included:

Hats provide UV protection, allow you to see better and can cover up a bad bed-head look.

Why it wasn’t included:

T-shirts, pants and boots are all just as important if not more so.

Fishing Net

Why it should have been included:

Nets make handling toothy or extremely active fish easier. Trying to handle a Northern Pike with a crank bait in its mouth is virtually impossible to do by hand. Also, it’s always tough to miss getting a picture of a great fish because you weren’t able to get it in the boat.

Why it wasn’t included:

You don’t really need one to shore fish. You also don’t need one to catch bluegills and other smaller fish.



There are endless new products and things in a fisherman’s tackle box that are useful. Tell us in the comments below what your MVPE is. Thanks for reading!


Locating Spring Bluegills with Fishfinders

Locating Spring Bluegills

Spring is a great time to catch fish for bluegills and other panfish. With temperatures rising and the brutality of a cold winter coming to a close, the light switch turns on and fish change their mindset towards feeding to build energy for spawning. While bluegills begin to get more active around the 50 degree water temp mark, they won’t begin to spawn in most places until the water reaches around 60 degrees. In most places this happens between early May and as late as August. Between the time of post-ice out/winter and spawning, bluegills being to bunch up and get shallower, following bait fish, larvae and hatching insects.

Finding Bluegills with Fishfinders

Fishingfinder technology has come a long way over the past 20 years. In the early fishing electronics days, fish finders were primarily just depth finders that might show a blip if there’s an object that somewhat resembles a living creature. However, today fish finders are amazing tools to help locate, track and navigate to fish. Many have color displays, gps systems, uploadable maps and even side imaging. Locating spawning bluegills with fish finders can make a huge difference between catch a few fish and slaying a school. Here are some techniques for locating spring bluegills with Fishfinders.

Basic Fish Finders

Fish finders can be a relatively inexpensive investment. The three big names in Fishfinders are Lowrance, Hummingbird and Garmin. All three of these brands include entry level fish finders that show depth, water temperature and other features for less than $80.00.

As stated earlier, bluegills will be most active with water temperatures above 50 degrees. They will begin spawning at 60. Water temperature can vary a surprisingly large amount on a lake, depending on sunlight, water depth and structure. Bluegills will almost always go to the nearest, warmest feeding areas in the spring. By keeping an eye on water temperature, you can locate the warmer spots, which should lead to more active fish.

Basic Cheap Fishfind

Garmin echo 100 Fishfinder

Keeping an eye on water depth is also imperative for any fishing. In locating spring bluegills, focus on depths of 4 to 8 feet. 4 to 8 feet is a very wide range in the world of lake fishing. Unfortunately, fish are still fish and their patterns can be random. Start at the shallower areas in the 4 feet range. If you aren’t locating any biters, move a bit deeper. When you catch a few fish, note the depth and focus on areas similar to the one you caught fish in.

Higher-End Fish Finders

All three of the big names also produce unbelievably advanced Fishfinders. If you’d like to spend a few thousand, you can. Some of the best features of higher end Fishfinders include: GPS, uploadable maps that you can mark, detailed imagining and side-scan sonar.

Side-Scan Sonar

Bluegill Beds Side Scan Sonar

Amazing Image of Bluegill Beds Located Using Side Scan Sonar from In-Fisherman

Side-Scan Sonar has been a revolutionary development in the serious angler industry. Side-scanning has been around for over 50 years. It was first developed to help crews find and recover wreckage debris and treasure hunters locate lost ships. It works by emitting a fan shaped pulse toward the bottom of the body of water it’s on. By doing so, you get a nice image of the floor from an above-down perspective. For most systems, a blind spot is left directly below the boat. For fisherman, this tool gives a unique look into structure, depth changes, humps, and so much more. It also can give you an amazing look at bluegill nesting areas. Bluegill nests are saucer-shaped areas that are about the size of a large dinner plate. Locating large amounts of nests is an obvious indicator that bluegills are present.


If you’re a dedicated angler and you’re in it for the long haul, being able to identify specific spots and mark fish can lead to huge successes down the road. Without GPS, no matter how good you are with paper maps and locating a spot, you WILL be off and it’s nearly impossible to come back to the exact same location and angle you were at during a previous outing. Modern GPS Fishfinders have the ability to save all kinds of data and they are amazing resource to become a more knowledgeable bluegill slayer.

Go fish!

Regardless of whether or not you want to spend money on fancy Fishfinders (or even fishfinders at all), the most important thing is to go outside, get some fresh air and catch some fish!