If you’re a nature lover, a truly wonderful way to get a fully immersive nature experience is by going on a fishing trip. Not only do you spend countless hours of quality time in nature, but you also get to learn about the habits and biology of its aquatic inhabitants, also, it is well known that fishing has tons of health benefits. Are you a newbie looking to go on a fishing trip? Look at this list with the essential pieces of fishing equipment that you will need.
In fact, going on a fishing trip is a great way to instill a spirit of nature conservation in children, as they learn to respect and protect our lakes, rivers, and oceans.
But, if you’re a novice angler, and perhaps even if you are going to experience your first fishing trip, chances are that you don’t know all the things that you should bring along to ensure you have a great experience out on the water.
To help you pack the most important items, we’ve compiled a list of 13 essential things that you should bring on a fishing trip:
13 Essential Things You Need for Fishing
1. Fishing Equipment
It goes without saying that you cannot go on a fishing trip without a fishing tackle. The basic items include a fishing rod and reel, and in addition, you also need a fishing line, hooks, lures, and sinkers. For more details on the basic tackle items to pack, check out Sport Fishing Buddy, which has a bunch of guides on fishing equipment. You may also want to bring bait (though often you can get that at your fishing destination).
1.1 Barbless Hooks
Look, this is a bit of a point of contention. Some fishermen will swear by barbed hooks, others won’t. For the sake of being kind to animals, opt for barbless hooks. Barbed hooks can tear away at a fish’s cheek and can cause serious harm to them. When you are fishing, always have a pack of barbless hooks in your rucksack. While there is more of a chance that the fish may getaway, to us, that makes it more exciting. For much larger fish like sturgeon and pike, admittedly, you may have to use barbed hooks, but avoid it if you can.
2. Sun Protection
Whenever you are on or near the water in summer, sunshine not only affects you from above, it is also reflected off the water surface, which increases exposure to UV rays. Therefore, it is essential to apply ample amounts of sunscreen lotion before you set out, and refresh it several times during the day. Also, sunglasses are a must in this situation.
Bringing the right clothing for the season is more important than most people realize. During the summer, you’ll want to have a hat, a long-sleeve shirt, and long trousers to protect you from the sun, plus a light jacket in case there’s a cool breeze, or if the weather turns bad. During the colder season, make sure you dress sufficiently warm and wear several layers that you can take off or put on as required.
Bringing gloves along with you fishing is very important, and not only for keeping your hands warm. Many are completely unaware that diseases like Weil’s Disease may lurk just below the water’s surface, and a tiny cut can allow it in.
Additionally, it is very easy when unhooking a fish to get the hook stuck in your skin, which then opens you up for infection. By investing in a pair of the best gloves for fishing that you can find [providing they are anti-hook gloves], you will prevent illness, disease, infection and ensure that you stay warm through long winter days on the water. Never neglect the importance of a pair of gloves when you are fishing, for they can make the difference massively.
Especially if you’re going to a foreign country, or if you’re planning to spend all day long on a fishing charter, you may not be able to go to a pharmacy or drug store in case you need medicine. So if you’re taking the regular meds, make sure to bring them along on your fishing trip. If you’re going on an ocean fishing charter, you may also need seasickness medications, as it’s quite common to get seasick if the sea is choppy. On the other hand, if you’ll be fishing inland, then bug sprays come in handy on most trips during the summer. Finally, a small first aid kit should always be in your bag.
5. Storage containers
You’ll need a tackle box for your fishing gear, and a backpack to stow away the tackle box and everything else you’ll bring along. If you’re using a two-piece fishing rod, you’ll need a rod case to carry the fishing rod without breaking it. A great way to avoid this is by using a telescopic fishing rod, which can be retracted into a shorter version, and stowed inside your backpack. You may also want to bring a small cooler for your bait, and cool drinks. Finally, it’s a good idea to use a waterproof backpack, as there’s a high likelihood that it will get drenched during the day.
6. Safety Equipment
If you’re going to spend time out on the water, it’s essential to wear a life jacket, just in case you take an involuntary swim. It’s also a good idea to bring a spare rope and a penknife. And if you’re going to spend the night outdoors, then also bring a torch, and a lighter to ignite a fire.
While Google maps can be very helpful if you can use your smartphone, you may not always have access to the internet on your fishing trip, so it’s better to bring some real paper maps of the area where you plan to go. These maps may also include some details that you won’t find on Google.
8. Backup Batteries
Extra batteries are important for all of your electronics, including your smartphone, GPS device, torch, and fish finder (in case you’re planning to use one). Keep in mind that you may not get access to a charging port for an extended period of time. So, you should definitely bring backup batteries so that your devices don’t run low on electricity.
9. Additional items
Something almost everyone wants to have on their fishing trip is a good camera. Of course, you can use your smartphone for that, but keep in mind that it may run out of power during your trip. Imagine catching the fish of your life, and not being able to take a photo. So it’s definitely a good idea to bring a separate camera in addition to your phone. Also, you should bring snacks, drinks, scissors, sunglasses and anything else you need.
Many fisheries do not allow for keepnets on their waters, so it is always good to research beforehand if they will be allowed on the one you are going to. Keepnets are large nets that can be left in the water, and they allow you to store your fish alive in them. Not every fisherman kills his fish, and many do catch and release. Even if you are a catch and release fisherman, you can still make use of a keepnet, for it will allow you to store the fish for photographs afterward. And, for fishermen who eat their catches, it allows you to keep them alive and fresh before killing them.
11. Unhooking Mat
Most fisheries throughout the world demand some form of unhooking mat or another. If you are fishing on private land, it is always good practice to bring one. An unhooking mat is a padded mat that you put the fish on to, as the name suggests, unhook it. Unhooking mats prevent the fish from becoming covered in mud and potentially hurting itself. Unhooking mats are a very humane way to unhook a fish, and it is always good to treat the fish respectfully by using these.
12. Non-Conventional Bait
When going fishing, it’s fun to get creative. Rather than splurging on tackles and lures, why not invest in some non-conventional bait. Many carp, barbel, and trout fishermen swear by using Spam and sweetcorn, as well as bread, prawns, and capers. Getting creative with your bait can be a lot of fun, and it can save you a lot of money. While preparing, raid your cupboards for tinned snacks and load up your equipment bag. Non-conventional bait can be very exciting, and even if you just end up pulling out Breams and Chubs, you will still have a good day.
For long, rainy sessions, a bivvy is essential. We’ve all seen the so-called ‘experienced’ fishermen using these, so why not you? They provide shelter while fishing and ensure you can stay dry, warm, and even brew a pot of tea if you should want to.
The best way to pack for a fishing trip is to make a checklist including the items listed above, and start packing. Don’t worry too much about all the details, and just make sure you have the most important things to enjoy your time out on the water.
Now, whether you are a new fisherman or an experienced one, it is important that you prepare and have your kit full of equipment and essentials ready for when you can go fishing again.