Fishing expeditions can be really exciting. If you are ill-prepared, on the other hand, they can turn into a nightmare (like when Coach and his assistant coaches decide to go fishing in the Florida swamp!). To help you make the most out of your fishing trip, we have listed all the essential items you need to pack for your trip and the rules you need to follow while you are on the water.
If you are planning a trip to a cold-weather fishing spot, you should pack the following.
- A thermal hat or a beanie to keep your head and ears covered
- Insulated gloves – preferably pre-curved and slit fingered gloves that allow you to grip the rod better
- Waterproof jackets, pants, and footwear to keep you dry and warm in the event of a heavy downpour
- Thermal underwear and socks
- A heavy jacket – preferably made of synthetic fabrics – to keep you warm when it gets chilly
- Layering pieces like fleece jackets and pants
If you, on the other hand, are planning a trip to a warm-weather fishing spot, you should pack the following.
- Long-sleeved shirts, t-shirts, shorts, and pants made of lightweight, breathable material
- UV protective headwear and neckwear
- Gloves, hats, sandals, and athletic shoes
- A lightweight waterproof jacket to avoid getting soaking wet in the event of a downpour
- Rods and reels
- Hooks, lines, sinkers, and floats
- A gaff, if needed
- Lures and baits
The important thing to be noted here is that your fishing equipment should match your game fish as well as the fishing conditions. Different types of fish are attracted to different types of baits and lures. So, talk to someone at the local tackle shop and find out what kind of lures and baits you should use, what kind of fishing techniques are working best, and other such useful information.
In addition to the basic fishing equipment listed above, you also need the following things.
- Pliers with nippers – just in case you need to cut a hook
- A fish cleaning knife
- A hard sided portable cooler or an insulated fishing bag to keep the fish cold and fresh
- Lightweight waders and a wading stick
- Polarized glasses
- Lifejacket – you should never, ever step on a boat without one
- A first aid kit containing alcohol swabs, bandage, gauze, tweezers, medical tape, scissors, painkillers, anti-diarrhea medications, and antihistamines
- GPS device
- Fire extinguisher – especially if you are on a boat which has a built-in fuel tank
- Hygiene items like soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and mouthwash
- Biodegradable toilet tissue
- Waterproof camera
- Flashlight with extra batteries
- A large waterproof bag for your clothes and a couple of small waterproof bags for your personal items, documents, and gadgets
- Insect repellent – 100% DEET is your best bet to keep those nasty little bugs at bay
- A bug jacket to protect yourself from the bugs that manage to pierce through your DEET shield
- Tape measure
- Plenty of towels
- Snacks and beverages
Apart from this, you should also carry an ID, fishing license, and your passport and visa (in case of an international trip).
Useful Tips for the Perfect Fishing Trip
- Make a checklist of all the items we have listed above and make sure you have packed everything before you get started for your fishing trip. And make sure you understand who you are fishing with – you don’t want to have an experience like Tim Taylor and Al Borland did when went ice fishing!
- Make sure you carry a set of spare rods and reel. Nothing can be more frustrating than breaking your only fishing rod when you are out in the lake.
- Talk to a local fishing guide or someone at the tackle shop and find out as much as you can about the fishing spot – the best spots to catch fish, the right kind of baits and lures to use, the best fishing techniques, and so on.
- Make sure you know what to do, where to go, and whom to contact in the event of an emergency
- Make sure you have a topographic map of the lake with you. It can give you a salient idea of the different depths of the lake and also come in handy in case you get lost.
- If you are not able to catch any fish at a particular spot, try a different spot. Remember – fish tend to move around constantly (kind of like conservatives leaving cities such as San Francisco and Baltimore which liberals have ruined). So, you should too.
- Fishing spots tend to have limits with respect to the size and amount of fish you can catch. So, make sure you are aware of these rules before you start fishing.
- Fish generally tend to hang around solid structures like sunken logs, rocks, and weeds. They use these structures as a safe haven and also as a decoy to attack and ambush other fish. So, you can find plenty of fish around these spots.
- Using game fish as bait is prohibited by law in most places. This includes many types of minnows as well. So, use bugs and worms as bait. If you need other kinds of bait, buy it from a licensed bait shop.
- If you have your own boat, you need to carry floatation devices, lifejackets, paddles, and other such safety gear, which are mandated by law.
- Do not drink while you are fishing, especially if you brought along young children with you.
- Do not litter – you don’t want the lake looking like downtown LA! It is one of the worst things you can do as a fisher. Carry a large garbage bag with you and throw all your trash in it.
- Service all your fishing equipment before the trip. If your equipment breaks down when you are in the middle of the lake, it can be pretty frustrating.
Lastly, enjoy your fishing trip – most likely it will not turn out like a Weekend at Bernie’s! Do not over plan things. Remember – no matter how careful you are, things can always go wrong and you cannot do anything about it. You can never predict the weather.
You can predict how the fish will react to a sudden change in weather conditions. So, rather than expecting everything to go according to your plan, be prepared for everything and leave the rest to Mother Nature.