Fishing Gear Reviews

Below are reviews of three great products you can find at Fisherman’s Outfitter.

Frabill Chum Bag:

Described as a “neoprene coated nylon chum bag ideal for shark and tuna chumming,” this efficient little bag has a drawstring top closure to keep contents secure. The great thing about this bag is that it can double as a line holder.

Whether you add weights to the bag to drop it below the surface or attach it to a long line to rest behind your boat, this durable bag will give you the gradual release of chum you need to draw in the big fish.

As opposed to other methods of chumming, like baskets, the chum bag is a great way to chum without having to do any smelly cleanup or storing large chumming items.

Rigging Kit for Shark Fishing:

This handy kit really makes rigging for trophy fish like sharks much easier. It has everything you need, including:

  • 1-Rigging Kit Bag
  • 1-Wire Cable Cutter
  • SC-3C Jinkai Crimper
  • 1-Debonner
  • 1-50 lb Scale
  • 1-Hook File
  • 1-Pair of Mono Cutters
  • 1-Pair of Needle Nose
  • 1-1/4lb Spool of #19 Wire
  • 100′ of 400 lb, 49 strand wire
  • 100-Black Rubber Bands
  • 1-Roll of Electrical Tape
  • 10-7698B 9/0 Mustad Hooks
  • 100-Double Barrel Wire Crimps
  • 12- 350lb Snap Swivels
  • 12- 350lb Barrel Swivels

Although you may choose to not use all items in the kit for each fishing excursion, the rigging kit for shark fishing really has all necessities and is a great source for fisherman just getting into sport fishing.

2-Piece Complete Harpoon Setups:

Comes with A-1 Poly Ball, Steel Shank, and Bronze Harpoon Dart on 200 feet of rope with basket. They come in 8-foot or 10-foot lengths, as well as custom sizes.

This handy harpoon is foolproof, with no small pieces that can get lost in the boat or on your way to the water! Anyone who has ever fished for trophies knows the heartache of losing your fish after an agonizing game of tug and war. Harpoons are essential for big fish because they allow the haul into the boat to go that much more smoothly. This is a great harpoon because it breaks down easily for storage, but because the male piece is welded, it does not have any small bits that can get lost. Cut out the risk factor of losing your trophy fish by using this harpoon. All you need to do is bring in the fish!

Fishing Equipment for Beginners

If you’re just starting to get serious about fishing, it can seem daunting. Every fisherman has different ideas and methods, and there are so many different things to keep in mind when getting ready for a trip. You have to make sure you have the right rod, right hooks, right tackle, that you do your research, know where to go. It can seem like a lot! However, there a few things that most fishermen will agree are absolutely crucial when starting out. These few equipment basics will act as a starting point, and allow you to test the waters and learn what does and doesn’t work for you.

Remember: so much of having the proper gear depends on where and what you are fishing, so do your reading and don’t be afraid to ask more avid fishermen when you first start out. Doing your research and asking questions at your local store before heading out will ensure that you get the proper hooks (not to mention overall equipment) for your needs. There are a few things you’ll need to know about.

The Rod and Reel

What kinds of action are you hoping this rod will take on? How do you want your reel to function? There are a variety of speeds, functions, and ability levels to consider.

The Line

Like with all other elements of fishing, the right kind of line depends on what you are using it for. You have to take into account where and how you are fishing, what kind of rod you have, and what works best with your bait.

Bobbers, Corks, Floats, and Bait

Not only do bobbers, corks, and floats help you know when you’ve snagged a big one, but also they help keep your bait where it needs to be. Knowing if live or plastic will work best for your scenario is also important to learn as a new fisherman.

Hooks and Sinkers

What types of hooks will you need? Weedless? Circle? Barbless? What kind of sinkers do you need? What weight will work best?

A Well-Stocked Tackle Box

“Less is more” is never true for fishing. You want to be as prepared as possible, and that means having lots of extras, as well as safety gear and tools that you may need. These can include pliers, knives, a first aid kit, bug spray, sunglasses, sunscreen, flares, a whistle … the list goes on. Always have your fishing license ready, and, if you are on a boat, some easily accessible life jackets.

Keep these things in mind and you can focus on the fishing!

Shimano Fishing Rods & Reels


John Maher: Hi, I’m John Maher. Today I’m here with Joe Curcuru, manager of Fisherman’s Outfitter in Gloucester, Massachusetts. Today we’re talking about Shimano fishing rods and reels. Welcome, Joe.

Joe Curcuru: Thanks for having me here, John.

John: Joe, tell me, why does Shimano perform better than other products?

Joe: Shimano is a specialty company. They make all sorts of different rods and reels and specialty tackle equipment. They really focus on high?quality materials and innovations.

John: What are the different types of Shimano fishing rods?

Joe: That’s one of the best things about Shimano, is they make all sorts of different price ranges. They have something for everybody. They make species?specific rods, technique?specific rods. They have a different fishing rod for every different application.

John: Let’s talk about a couple of those applications. If I’m going after, say, tuna, what type of rod would I use?

Joe: Most guys would use probably either a trolling or a stand?up type of rod. Now, people are getting into the whole jigging aspect as well. High?speed jigging with specialty jigs, what they call butterfly jigs, that’s a pretty exciting way to fish. You’re pretty much tied directly to the fish.

John: What’s a jig?

Joe: A jig would be like a metal, artificial lure with hooks that hang off the bottom or the top.

John: Are there certain rods that you would use for the jigging?

Joe: Yeah, you need more of a parabolic rod. The rod needs to load up to make the jig move right. That’s one of the things that Shimano got right. They made a whole line of rods and reels that specifically are for that type of fishing.

John: What about smaller game that you’re going after, whether it’s stripers or something like that?

Joe: See, they make all sorts of different surf rods, boat rods, and everything in between, spinning rods, conventional rods. They just really make everything.

John: So depending on what type of fish you’re going after, you really should go and try to get a rod that specifically matches that type of fish that you’re going after?

Joe: You should probably go in and feel the different types of rods to get a feeling for them, because each one feels different in your hands. One rod might not suit another person. It’s like a glove.

John: Shimano obviously makes great reels as well. What are the types of reels that Shimano makes?

Joe: Just all their other stuff, they make everything from low end to high end. They have everything in between. It really depends on what you want to spend. They make the absolute highest quality reels. They use the best materials and the best technology.

John: What are the different types of reels?

Joe: They’re anywhere from ultra light freshwater graphite reels to the heavy?duty big game aluminum trolling reels.

John: What are the different sizes for? I’ve seen these really small ones that are just maybe a few inches in diameter, and then I’ve seen these absolutely giant ones that have a huge crank on them. What are those different sizes for?

Joe: Basically, the bigger the reel the bigger the winch. If you’re going after, say, trout, you don’t want a big trolling reel. You want a little ultra light freshwater reel. That’s really the way to do it.

John: If somebody wants to know, “Hey, what combination of rod and reel should I use?” should they call you up and ask you guys?

Joe: Absolutely. Like I said, everybody has a different type of fishing technique. If you’re going after a world record, say, striped bass, then you want a real high quality reel that can hold a real light line and perform under every condition you need it to, then you’re going to need something different than for the every day weekend warrior.

John: All right, Joe, thanks very much for talking to me.

Joe: You’re welcome. Thanks for having me here, John.

John: For more information, you can visit or call Joe at 1?800?500?TUNA. That’s 1?800?500?TUNA.

Spreader Bars For Off-Shore Fishing – Podcast

John Maher:  Hi, I am John Maher. Today, I am here with Johnny White, owner of Fishermen’s Outfitter in Gloucester and Plymouth Massachusetts. Today, we are talking about spreader bars for offshore fishing. Welcome, Johnny.

Johnny White:  Hi John, how are you?

John:  Good, thanks.

Johnny:  Good.

John:  Let me start off by asking, what are spreader bars?

Johnny:  Spreader bars are a number of lures that are used, whether it be in a two foot, three foot or four foot long titanium bars. A group of lures called teasers are rigged off of the bar with the hook bait being in the last one to emulate a school of fish while trolling for any offshore species of fish.

John:  You have got the line that is coming off of your rod, and then you have got the bar going across horizontally. On that are strung what? Additional lines?

Johnny:  On that are strung additional lines of lures that anywhere from 9 to 15 lures, coming off the bar, in a pattern looking like a school of fish, with the hook bait being the trail lure about four feet behind the bar.

John:  What situations do you use spreader bars?

Johnny:  All trolling situations, whether it be for tuna, marlin, wahoo, yellow fins, durado. Any time you’re trolling, it’s good to use spreader bars, along with single lures.

John:  You mentioned teasers. You’re using these spreader bars as teasers. What does that mean?

Johnny:  The teasers would be part of the bar, on a bar that has 15 lures on it, 14 of them have no hook on them. Only one would have the hook, and the others are just splashing across the top of the water to look like a school of fish.

John:  So a teaser is a lure that doesn’t have a hook on it. It’s there just to lure the fish in. Tease them, if you will.

Johnny:  That’s right.

John:  How do you choose whether you have a certain color or a type of lure on them? You said you can have different kinds of lures hooked onto the spreader bars. How do you choose what do you want?

Johnny:  You can. You can have squids ranging from 9 inch to 18 inch. You can have all different kinds of lures that are used in trolling to put on a bar. Depending on what your high speed and slow speed trolling ?? slow speed, meaning that you’re fishing for giant blue fin tuna, which you should be fishing two to four knots, whereas, high speed is anywhere from four to eight knots, sometimes nine knots.

The higher speed you go, the smaller the lures, so that they can travel through the water the right way out the spreader bar. If you use too bigger lures, traveling too fast, your bars aren’t going to give you the action on top of the water that you needed to give. The lures would tend to dive down under the water. The faster you go, the smaller the lure.

John Maher:  That’s good. Do you also use different colors? Would you use different colors?

Johnny:  We do. We have about 12 or 13 different colors of squids. There’s probably different colors of feathers and jets that we use. It depends on where you’re fishing and what species of those fish you’re fishing for.

The yellow fins tend to like a lot of greens and a lot of oranges. The blue fins, especially the giant blue fins, tend to like darker colors, meaning black ?? which is the best color, black and purple, orange and green, dark green.

John:  You said there’s squids. Do you also use other types of lures, as well?

Johnny:  We do. The squids are a shell squid that are made to be on top of the water. We also use six or eight inch jets, they call them, that has a lure with holes in the top of it that the water pushes through.

We use lures that have a head with feathers on them. We use some imitation ballyhoo that are about nine inches long, and look just like a ballyhoo. We make a spreader bar out of that which looks like a school of a ballyhoo splashing through the water.

John:  Do you use different size bars? You have small, medium, and large ones? What are those for?

Johnny:  Yes we do. We use different size bars depending on the species of fish that you’re fishing for.

If you’re fishing for yellow fins, dolphin, wahoo, fish that are tend to be on the smaller size ?? smaller, being like 100 pounds and under. You’re trolling faster. You want to use a smaller bar whether it be a two or three foot bar.

Sometimes, a four foot bar but with smaller lures, so you can troll them faster. You use the four foot bar, which is our most popular, for giant blue fin and smaller blue fin, putting anywhere from 9 to 15 squids, all lures, on each bar.

John:  I know that they’re something called “A bird,” that you put on the spreader bar, as well. What’s that?

Johnny:  The bird is either a 9 or a 13 inch bird that we rig special, at the store. We put a bar through the middle of the bird. The bird has wings on each side.

What that does is it helps the bar float more so that you can let the lures out farther, and also creates commotion because of the wings. That’s what you’re trying to do. You’re trying to cause commotion in the water to make it look like a school of bait fish on top with the predator chasing it.

John:  All right, Johnny White, thank you very much for talking with me.

Johnny:  Thank you, John.

John:  For more information, you can visit, or call Johnny at 1?800?500?TUNA. That’s 1?800?500?TUNA.

Items to add to your fishing trip checklist

A successful day on the water isn’t just about how many hungry fish there are. So much of a good fishing trip depends on how prepared you come. There are so many elements to consider when packing for your excursion; weather, location, type of fish you’d like to catch…they can all make a huge difference in determining what you bring along. However, there are a few basics that should not be overlooked. Add these items to your fishing trip checklist, and you’ll be ready for (mostly) anything.

Safety Precautions:

Not just for you, but for your vessel (if you fish by boat). An air horn, whistle, lifesavers, flares, life jackets, and other emergency gear are necessary to have when boat fishing. Regardless of where you fish from, having a pair of needle nose pliers, a small multipurpose knife, and a first aid kit is key–and can really save you in a pinch.

The tools you need to catch the fish:

These are the real basics: rod, bait, and a cooler to put your catch in. These items will vary greatly depending on what your aim is, but it’s always a good idea to bring a few rods and both live bait and some non-living bait to see what gets some bites. The cooler will ensure that your fish stay fresh as you continue to look for more.

A well-stocked tackle box:

This was covered in greater length in its own blog post a while back, but it cannot be stressed enough how important a fully stocked tackle box is! Along with your safety gear, your tackle box will hold spares of everything–line, hooks, anything that could possible get destroyed while fishing. You should have a few different assortments of bobbers, weights, plastic works, and other things to catch the eye of your prey. Beyond that, it holds the most top-secret tools of the trade…those favorite hooks and flys that help you in your fishing routine.

Weather Gear:

There is nothing worse than having to cut a trip short because your sunburn is getting unbearable, the bugs are eating you alive, or you are freezing. Know the seasonal conditions of the areas you fish in, and make a point to pack a bag full of some extra gear, just in case. It could be the difference between coming home empty handed, or coming home with dinner.

Photo credit: musicanys / Foter / CC BY-NC

Sinkers 101

Sinkers are absolutely essential for successful saltwater fishing. They help to stabilize your line, determine depth, and ultimately, help you land your target fish. Originally, most were made of lead, and created from molds in various weights, shapes, and sizes. However, because lead can be a toxic material, other metals are starting to replace it, such as brass and steel. Although the sinkers below are some of the most basic, they do not need to be used in simple ways. Here are a few sinkers every fisherman should not be without.

Split Shot Sinker: Hassle free, just clamp and go. Split shots help to bring the bait just a bit further underwater and also offer extra stability. In theory, they can be placed anywhere on your line, and where you place it will yield very different results. Clamping a split shot on your line sometimes weakens it, so be aware when hunting for larger fish, and (as always) keep an eye on it. 

Egg Sinker: Round in shape, these traditional sinkers are attached above the swivel, with the line going through it. When a fish bites, it then pulls the line through the bait, making the weight undetectable to the fish. Using live bait with egg sinkers is recommended, since you can let the fish eat some of the bait before landing him.

Trolling Sinker: Long and thin, with swivels on either end that help prevent the line from twisting. What size you use depends on how fast you are trolling, and what exactly you are hunting for. Like most bait/tackle/sinker combinations, it takes patience, practice, and even a little math to find the best combo. A good rule of thumb when starting out is to get a range of trolling sinkers from 1 to 4 ounces and test varying length of line and speeds.

Bank Sinkers: Meant to stay on the bottom, but not get stuck there. A basic bank sinker is round or oval in shape, but some have special add-ons that act as an anchor on the ocean floor. Bank sinkers are best for sandy areas because in more rocky areas (or areas with extremely strong currents) its rounded shape prevents it from staying put. The eye of a bank sinker adds to the weight on your line, which sometimes means wear and tear. A sinker slide can help reduce this risk and help your bank sinker perform better longer.

Tackle Box Basics: Ten Tackle Box Must-Haves

A tackle box is more or less the fisherman’s toy box full of tricks of the trade. Creating the perfect tackle box for your type of fishing takes years and years of trial and error, fine tuning, and learning about not only your likes and dislikes, but what the fish in your area like too. There is no correct way to stock your tackle box. In fact, if you ask a hundred fishermen what they think they need to have in their box, you will most likely get a hundred different answers. That being said, there are some items that are a good idea for any saltwater fisherman to keep well-stocked, regardless of personal preference. Below are ten tackle box basics that will give you a good jumping-off point to your perfect tackle box. Keep these essentials close at hand and you’ll be well prepared for any fish you happen to hook.

Sinkers: The basics. Egg, Bank, Trolling, and Split-Shot.

Artificial Lures: The type of lure really depends on what kind of fish you are hunting. Recently there have been many developments in lures, such as scented lures, that aid in helping the fish think that a fake lure is really a tasty snack. Think about what fish are in your local waters, ask your local store, and purchase your artificial lures accordingly.

Popping Cork: A little extra help attracting those fish never hurt.

Clippers: Great for breaking worn-out lines.

Extra line: Having extra line of varying lengths can really make or break your day’s catch.

Hooks: They bend, they get lost, they get swallowed … having extra hooks is a must. Without them, your fishing cannot continue!

Pliers: Great for getting those bent hooks out.

Knife: For cutting lines, fish, sandwiches … a must have for any all-day adventure.

First Aid: Because who knows what can happen!

Fishing license: Important to have at hand when you finally land that big trophy. In Massachusetts, anyone over the age of 16 is required to have a permit for any recreational fishing, regardless of where or how you like to fish. Permits run $10, but if you are over 60 it’s free! Not from Massachusetts but love to fish here? If you are a native of New Hampshire, Maine, Rhode Island, Vermont, or Connecticut, your state’s permit will be valid in Massachusetts waters.

Before your next fishing excursion, tackle your tackle box. Don’t be unprepared for the advanture!

Saltwater Fishing Facts

Saltwater fishing has roots in prehistory, when our ancestors speared fish and dug for clams close to shore. From these beginnings, a huge saltwater fishing industry has grown up around both humanity’s need for protein and our continuing love of hobby angling. The means of catching saltwater fish and saltwater fishing equipment may have changed over thousands upon thousands of years, but the purpose of dropping a line into the sea surely hasn’t. There’s something so relaxing about bobbing on the water, out of sight of land… and thrilling about knowing you can feed yourself using a few tools and your own wits.

Saltwater fishing fun? You bet your boat! But we trawled the ‘net to find out more about just what makes it so interesting.

  • According to the American Outdoor Adventure Network’s United States fishing facts, saltwater fishing was the fourth most popular participation sport in the country in the year 2000. In 2001, saltwater fishing was twice as popular as golf. And as of 2002, 22.2 million people considered themselves saltwater anglers according to the National Survey on Recreation and the Environment. Of over 500 million saltwater fishing trips taken, 25% were described as a way of spending time with family and friends, while 33% were a way of relaxing.
  • The restrictions placed on saltwater fishing catches are in place to ensure that fish stocks across species continue to thrive. These laws are regularly amended to account for changes in population and the environment. Sometimes that means certain saltwater fish are off limits for a time. In other cases, there may be limitations placed on the size or number of fish that can be caught. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, for instance, has restricted angling for white sharks to rod and reel only and catch and release only.
  • Scientific studies paint a grim future for saltwater fishing if further regulations aren’t enacted. According to one 2006 study described in Science magazine, many saltwater fish could be extinct by 2048 as the result of pollution, habitat loss, overfishing, and climate change. The solution proposed at the conclusion of the study involved responsible and sustainable fishery management, environmental cleanup, and habitat maintenance.
  • Scale is the name of the game when it comes to both saltwater fishing and saltwater fishing gear. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, any angler who sells his or her catch is considered a commercial fisherman – even small-scale artisanal anglers and recreational boaters who unload excess fish for cash. However, much of the saltwater fishing that happens around the 10,000 miles of US coastline is recreational.

Luckily, it looks like as of 2012, there are still plenty of fish in the sea. And at Fisherman’s Outfitter, we support efforts to keep it that way.

Learning the Basics of Tuna Fishing

 If you already love to fish or you think fishing is a hobby worth exploring in greater depth, consider making tuna fishing your next big angling challenge. Yes, there may be an initial financial outlay as your spring for tuna fishing gear – that is, if you are not otherwise equipped for catching the big ones. And you may have to learn a few tuna fishing techniques if your angling experience has been heretofore limited to casting off the beach. But overall, if you have any fishing experience whatsoever, it’s a lot of fun to get out on the water and pretend you’re the newest member of the Wicked Tuna cast.

But where to begin… When it comes to reeling in tuna as a beginner, our Gloucester fishing gurus have a few recommendations to get you started.

Try a tuna fishing charter. A charter fishing outing is probably the cheapest way to dive into the world of tuna fishing, as it lets you experience the thrill of the catch without having to invest in a lot of tuna fishing gear you may not use again. Plus, when you go out on the water with an expert, you can pick up all kinds of tuna fishing techniques while you’re actually fishing – as opposed to learning the sport by the book.

Know your tuna fishing gear. The first step may just be putting your credit card away because you need to research before you buy. Eventually, you’ll be investing in lures, rods, bait, and other specific equipment like Shimano reels, but you shouldn’t do any of that until you know what type of tuna you’re going after and where you’ll be fishing. On a budget? Then do yourself a favor and set a spending cap before hitting Checkout.

Know your tuna. Tuna fishing techniques change depending on what type of tuna you’re going after, so know whether you’re fishing for bluefin, yellowfin, longfin, bigeye, skipjack, or little tunny. Every type of tuna is going to require a different technique (not to mention different baits) so don’t risk reading up on the wrong kind of fish.

Map your territory. Where are you going to live out your Wicked Tuna dreams, anyway? First, decide where you’ll be fishing, then dig deeper. What’s the temperature of the water at this point in the year? How about the depth? Ask locals where the tuna fish can usually be found – and when the best times of day for reeling them in are.

Consult the experts. That crusty old guy selling you your squid, butterfish, or sardines may have some amazing tuna fishing tips and tricks up his sleeve, but you won’t know until you ask. Likewise, there are thousands of amazing tuna hunters online on message boards who’d be more than willing to answer your tuna fishing questions – but only if you ask. Find the experts, then put your questions out there. Everyone was a newb once, so don’t let your inexperience stop you from getting answers.

The long and the short of it is that tuna fishing is a lot more fun – and more rewarding – when you know what you’re doing and you’re doing things right. The time and effort you spending preparing to catch the big tuna will pay off in the end. Happy fishing!

The Basics: Natural Bait Versus Lures

When you’re new to fishing, it pays to choose the easiest method of catching fish. But after those first few trips out onto the water, once you’re ready to get serious about fishing, you may find that the range of bait options can be almost overwhelming. Choosing live bait or natural bait is hard enough. But start browsing lures and you’ll suddenly realize just how many bait options are out there. The good news is that the question of natural bait versus fishing lures is largely one of preference. Great anglers have caught multitudes of fish with both, and everyone has their favorites. For anyone on the fence, we’ve laid out the basics of natural bait and lures to help you choose.


No matter why you shy away from live bait, you’re in luck because lures often work better. Why? Because in addition to all-inclusive lures that are pretty good for catching almost anything, there is an almost infinite number of lures designed to mimic the exact foodstuffs of your target fish. There is also plenty of variation among lures, from different colors designed to be more attractive to certain species to rigged combo lures and two-part lures that give you more flexibility.

The big benefit of lures over live bait is you can always get what you’re looking for and you can, to some degree, experiment. A worm is a worm, but lures come in different shapes, sizes, colors, and types. Choose lures based on the conditions you’re fishing, the fish you want to hook, and the natural baitfish in the area if you’re just starting out. But if you’ve tried going natural and you aren’t getting the bites you think you ought to be getting, play around with different lure sizes, weights, colors, and configurations to see what works.

Natural Bait

Fish and foodstuffs, on the other hand, are the tried and true fishing baits that anglers have relied on for thousands of years. From the classic worm on a hook to live baitfish to chunks of whatever you have handy, natural bait is a big hit with fish for obvious reasons. It’s also a big hit with hobby anglers who like digging up worms, grubs, and nightcrawlers from their very own yards or just fishing with whatever they can find in the pantry.

When it comes to live bait that’s going to be swimming on the hook, choose active, lively bait that will move around enough to attract hungry predator fish and to inspire aggressive strikes. Remember to change your bait frequently because a tired killifish, for instance, isn’t going to look as tasty, and don’t forget that your bait should always be similar in type and size to the indigenous bait fish where you’re fishing.

Whatever bait you choose, have fun fishing!