A great way to relax and spend some time outdoors is to go fishing. But if you're not prepared, it can be a frustrating experience. Whether you're a seasoned angler or a beginner, here are ten tips for a successful fishing trip.
1. Choose the right location: Research the best fishing spots in the area you're planning to visit and choose a location known for good fishing. Choosing a body of water to fish is the first step; whether it is a lake, river, pond, stream, or you’re looking to test yourself out on the ocean. The other factor that goes into choosing the right location is which fish you are hoping to catch.
Some fish stick to certain regions and bodies of water and maybe more active or prevalent in certain areas. Look for areas with structures like rocks or vegetation, as they attract fish. Search online for blogs and message boards or ask around for local recommendations if you are not familiar with the local bodies of water.
2. Check the weather: Check the weather forecast before your fishing trip. You want to avoid fishing during a thunderstorm, high winds, or other severe weather conditions. Also, keep in mind that certain fish are more active during certain weather conditions. For example, cloudy days or right after a rainstorm are good times to cast a line.
It is also helpful to know the weather forecast when planning what to wear and bring on your excursion. It is important always to remember that even during a cloudy day you may still need to wear sun protection. Check the UV index. If it is 5 or higher, you will want to cover up and apply sunscreen. Big Daddy’s UPF long sleeve shirts and snapbacks are perfect for protecting you from harmful rays.
3. Bring the right gear: Make sure you have the right gear for the type of fishing you'll be doing. This includes the obvious: fishing rod and reel, bait or lures, a fishing line, and hooks. But also consider your pliers, scissors, a multitool, net, bucket, and towels. Bring backup or replacement gear to ensure your fishing trip won’t get cut short. It is essential to pack extra snares, bait, line, rod, and weights for your trip.
4. Know the rules: Make sure you know the fishing regulations and laws for the area you'll be fishing in. This includes things like size limits, bag limits, and catch-and-release rules. Some areas also require licenses, permits, or payments for fishing. You can typically find this information on the local government website in the environmental department section.
5. Safety first: Despite the excitement of fishing trips, safety should always be prioritized. Always fish with a buddy, or at least tell someone your plans and whereabouts. When on and near the water, it is important to wear a USCG-approved life jacket or personal floatation device. Always have a first aid kit handy; you never know when you’ll need it. When fishing, you should always have a fully charged communication device, such as a cell phone or radio. Keeping yourself hydrated and comfortable by bringing extra snacks and drinks is always a good idea. From the beginning to the end of your fishing trip, be aware of your surroundings and look out for any potential hazards.
6. Use the right bait: Choose the right bait for the type of fish you're trying to catch. This could be live bait, like worms or minnows, or artificial bait, like lures or flies. Different species of fish bite with different types of bait. More aggressive species, like bass or catfish, may prefer live bait over artificial. Coolers or portable freezers, especially for longer trips, will help keep live bait and stored fish fresh.
7. Know your knots: Knowing a few basic fishing knots is extremely helpful when out on the water. It will make tying hooks and lures on your line and tying the leader to your main line a breeze. Basic knots that are good to know include: palomar, uniknot, clinch knot, and blood knot. The most important thing with tying knots is to cinch them completely down. You cannot cinch knots with your hands, so a knot puller is a must for getting your knots to cinch properly. Check out our other blog post for Three Beginner Fishing Knots.
8. Be patient: Fishing requires patience. You may have to wait a while before anything starts nibbling. So, make sure you're prepared to sit and wait. Be willing to move around and try different spots. Stay quiet to increase your odds of catching a fish. A beautiful aspect of fishing is its peacefulness and ability to make you more patient.
9. Have fun: Remember that fishing is supposed to be fun and exciting! There is no such thing as a bad day fishing! Enjoy the experience, and don't get too caught up in trying to catch the biggest fish. Take in all the sights and sounds while soaking up some sun. Fishing is an enjoyable hobby that brings people together.
10. Leave no trace: Make sure you respect the environment while fishing. Don't litter or leave any trash behind and avoid damaging the habitat. For extra brownie points, clean up trash that others have left behind!