Are you packing for your next big fishing trip? Go through this fishing trip packing list to make sure you don’t forget anything important! Whether you’re a beginner to fishing or an old pro, everyone forgets something they need sometimes. Stay on top of your packing game and be prepared as possible when you get out on the water.
What To Pack for a Fishing Trip
Make sure you have this essential fishing gear packed for your fishing trip. Depending on where you’re going fishing and what type of fishing you plan to do, you may need more than this, but these are the basics:
- Fishing License
- Fishing Rod, Reel, and Line
- Fishing Hat, Sunglasses, and Sunscreen
- First Aid Kit
- Fishing Cart, Caddy, or Backpack
- Other Tools
Most states require you to have a fishing license to legally catch fish. Each state, and often each body of water, also has different regulations about where you can fish, what you can catch, and catch-and-release guidelines. Check out your state fishing laws and research your specific fishing location to ensure that you follow all laws and local regulations.
Fishing Rod, Reel, and Line
You can’t catch fish without a fishing rod, reel, and fishing line! These are the most basic staples you’ll need to go fishing. Fishing rods come in various sizes and have different features that may affect your choice - research the best rods for your style of fishing before you make a purchase.
There are also different types of reels to choose from. The most popular and easy to use fishing reel is a spinning reel, but more experienced anglers often choose a baitcasting reel, or a fly reel for fly fishing.
Fishing line is essential to use your rod and reel and to catch fish. There are three main kinds: monofilament, braided, and fluorocarbon. Your choice of line depends on your rod and reel, where you’re fishing, and what you plan to catch. You’ll also need extra, special line called leaders that you tie to the end of the line and attach tackle to.
You can’t forget to pack tackle if you plan to catch anything. Tackle is the equipment that is attached to the end of your line. The basic tackle you should have on your checklist includes bait, lures, hooks, swivels, bobbers, and weights. Your choice of live bait or artificial lures will depend on where you’re fishing and what you hope to catch. Research beforehand, or ask for help at the local tackle shop the day of.
Fishing Hat, Sunglasses, and Sunscreen
Now that the weather has warmed up and the sun is out, fishermen need to be careful about the harmful effects of the sun on their skin. Be sure to pack a fishing hat to protect your face and neck, sunglasses to protect your eyes and help you see out on the water, and sunscreen (SPF 30 at least). Long hours out on the water can cause serious damage, so don’t forget to pack these.
First Aid Kit
Every fishing trip checklist should include a first aid kit! Ideally, you won’t have to use this, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Out on the water, you may not have immediate access to medical care, and handling sharp hooks and tools can cause injuries. Be sure to pack a first aid kit with the basics and any other medications you may need.
A cooler may not be the first piece of fishing equipment that comes to mind, but you’ll likely need one for a few reasons. First, you should always pack water when you’re out fishing so that you stay hydrated. Why not keep your water cold all day in a cooler? Another reason you may need a cooler is if you use live bait - you’ll want to keep the bait cool and alive for as long as possible to improve your chances of a catch. Finally, when you do catch something, you’ll need to keep the fish on ice so that it doesn’t spoil.
Fishing Cart, Caddy, or Backpack
You’ll need something to help carry all of this gear. Depending on where you’re fishing, you can opt for fishing carts, caddies, or simply a waterproof backpack and tackle boxes. If you’re going surf fishing, choose from some of the best surf fishing carts to travel over sand and surf. A caddy is easier for carrying less equipment, either on a beach, pier, or simply to the boat.
There are a few other basic tools you’ll need to go fishing. Scissors or a knife are necessary to cut line, and a knife is also useful if you want to start gutting or filleting your fish. Needle-nose pliers are needed to take hooks out of fish - you can use your hands, but you might cut yourself on the hook or the fish’s teeth. These three items may come all together in a multi-tool or Swiss army knife. Other tools that are optional but can be helpful are a scale to weigh your catch, and a tape measure to measure its length.
Pack for Your Next Fishing Trip
Now that you have a checklist of the essential fishing gear you need to pack for your next trip, you can begin prepping for a day out on the water. Don’t forget the gear on this packing list, and anything more specific you may need.