Fishing has been part of American culture from the very beginning. There’s nothing quite like setting out on a small boat to the middle of a lake and casting a line to catch your dinner for the night. Maybe lounging on the river banks for some casual catch-and-release fishing is more your speed. Others may prefer intense three-day trips out to the deep waters of the ocean, returning with champion-sized dolphin.
No matter your preference, there are some general tips you can follow in order to make the most of your upcoming trip.
1. Pay Attention to What You Pack
There’s nothing worse than getting out to the best fishing spot and realizing you’ve left your lucky lure at home. Your packing list is bound to be drastically different depending on your trip— packing for three hours of relaxation on the banks of a lake will look different from the suitcases of a five-day expedition.
Try to spend some time thinking back on previous, similar fishing trips. What do you use regularly? What do you usually bring, but never touch? Here are some good ideas for essentials to bring that you might not think of:
● Insect repellent
● First aid kit
● Portable camera
● Phone charger and power bank
● Snacks and drinks
● Fish finder (for those who haven’t experienced the amazing power of a fish finder, this review page on fish finders can help you find the right one.)
2. Check the Fine Print
Different states have different fishing policies. Even small-time trips could run into trouble without the proper paperwork. Look into the fishing licenses in the areas you’re planning to explore! Similarly, if you’re renting any equipment, thoroughly read the contract. Some equipment rental companies have large late return fees or could have unique damage policies. Be sure to know what you’re getting into.
3. Plan for the Area
Different regions have different types of fish. Different types of fish require different gear. Try to plan where you’ll be fishing, and research what types of fish are found in the area. Be sure to stock up on the right lures, rods, and reels for these fish. Look into what fish are in season in the area. Some fish species may have seasonal release policies; keeping too many grouper or a small Group 2 shark can land you in trouble with the law.
Be sure to check your forecasts as well! Rain isn’t the end of a fishing trip, but it could change the times you plan to set out or the materials you’ll need.
4. Know Your Crowd
Are you fishing with three experienced friends, or are you taking your 8-year-old son for a quick adventure? Your trip will be very different depending on who you go with! If you’re going with serious fishermen, be prepared for some serious fishing. Focus on stocking lures, bait, reels, and rods.
If you’re taking a family excursion, you may find yourself relaxing more than reeling. You may want to focus more on snacks, radios, swimming supplies, or cameras. Pay attention to who you’re travelling with and try to picture what your trip will be like. The more realistic you are about your expectations, the more you’ll enjoy your trip.
5. Be Considerate
Nobody likes a loud, rowdy, rude fisherman. Respect other anglers and their boats. Be sure to pick up after yourself; leave no line or trash in the water behind you. Even if there are no wake laws, be careful not to disturb others. Follow the elementary rule of “treating others as you’d like to be treated”. Don’t do anything that you wouldn’t appreciate other anglers doing to you.
6. Have fun!
Remember that fishing is fun! Be sure to keep your head out of the weeds of planning and details. Remember the real reason you’re setting out on this trip: having a great time!
Any other tips you want to share from one fisherman to another? Share them in the comments!