Let me start out by recommending you support your favorite local tackle store. In my case, this would be my friend Ken Morse at Tight Lines Tackle - the best little tackle shop on Long Island!Below, some comments on useful fishing tools, tackle, and books.
What follows are some basic bits of equipment everyone really should have on their boat:
Some other good things to have on the boat:
A decent bait board, so you don't gunk up your boat, like this.
A good hook and knive sharpener, like this.
Shurhold gaff attachment, great if you don't have much room and rarely need a real gaff, like this.
Don't throw that used line overboard, stick it in a Fishpond Pod, like this.
For those bad-weather or winter days.
First, the fishing books, and with an admittted bias to fly-fishing and striped bass:
Alan Caolo, Sight-Fishing for Striped Bass
A really excellent guide to finding striped bass close in along the shore, with lots of excellent photos.
Peter Kaminsky, The Moon Pulled Up an Acre of Bass
Tales from a fall season pursuing striped bass, with the fly rod, in and around Montauk.
Lou Tabory, Stripers on the Fly
A more technical guide featuring tackle, flies, knots, and techniques, for chasing striped bass with a fly rod.
Ed Mitchell, Fly-Fishing the Saltwater Shoreline
More inshore fly rod tactics and techniques.
Lefty Kreh, Longer Fly Casting
The classic, by the master, on how to really cast a fly rod for distance. Essential in the salt.
John Skinner, A Season on the Edge
An entertaining year's worth of stories pursuing striped bass from the surf, with many tips and insights into where to find them.
Dick Russell, Striper Wars: An American Fish Story
The big picture on the striped bass fishery, population, health, and over-harvest issues.
David Kinney, The Big One: An Island, an Obsession, and the Furious Pursuit of a Great Fish
An entertaining look into the legendary Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby, and some of the colorful characters this event attracts.
Michael Cinquemani, Night Tides: The Striper Fishing Legend of Billy the Greek
Another entertaining look at one man's obsession.
Next, the fish books:
Mark Kurlansky, Cod
A fish that's been caught for a very long time, and is present in most cultures. Do you know what "baccala" is?
Paul Greenberg, American Catch
A very good and important review of the evolution and pressures on North American fishing.
Paul Greenberg, Four Fish
A look at four of the main fish harvested for consumption, and how wild scarcity is giving rise to farming of these or similar species.
Mark Kurlansky, The Big Oyster
Well, not really about fish. And a bit about New York City. But still a fascinating book, and once you read it, you'll understand how terribly important oysters are.
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That said, I have personally used or purchased almost all of these products and many, many more with my own money; never received any free or review or promo samples; included above only those I believe have merit; and all commentary above is my own opinion and not a paid-for endorsement.