The way your fishing trip plays out often comes down to how well you planned. Whether your trip is recreational or you’re looking to finally land the big one, your blueprint will determine whether you go home happy or disappointed. Read on for five things to do to ensure your family fishing trip is a success:
Find a great fishing spot
There are numerous lakes across the U.S. that are open to the public. You can use one of the many online guides, such as this guide to Lake Charles Louisiana, to get location descriptions, fish types, population information, amenities, and safety standards.
Next, create a family-friendly list of lakes, and use your fishing objectives and other factors to develop a comprehensive filter-down criterion. If possible, choose a location that is closest to home.
Obtain all the fishing equipment you need
The list of requisite fishing tools varies depending on factors such as your family's fishing experience and the fish you want to catch. The first set of tools in your tackle box should be a fishing rod and a baitcasting reel or spinning reel, depending on what you deem more convenient. Each angler should have a pole they will be comfortable using. This may mean bringing your entire family with you to the fishing gear store.
If you are used to going fishing alone or with other experienced anglers, you should be aware that those lengthy sessions may not be your family's cup of tea. You need to pay attention to the general family mood to detect any weariness or loss of interest. The bottom line is to have your family members enjoy the trip and go home feeling fulfilled. If fishing becomes boring, there is nothing stopping you from jumping overboard for a swim. That said, try to ensure no one gets bored before catching a fish; It is a fishing trip, after all.
Pack enough food
Hunger can disrupt even the most fun activities. Regardless of the amount of time you spend on the water, ensure you don't do it on an empty stomach. Pack as much food and drinks as you can and involve family members in choosing what to carry. You definitely don't want your youngest child whining all day because you forgot to pack their favorite snack on what was supposed to be a fun outing.
Practice at home
Practicing at home a day or two before going fishing may increase your chances of success, along with getting your family excited for the trip. Introduce them to the basics of casting in the backyard to help them understand coordination and timing in an environment they are used to and where they are not pressured to deliver. You can even set targets for them, so they know what to aim for on the day of the trip.
Finding a family-friendly location and ensuring your boat is well oiled are some of the obvious safety measures to take before setting out on a fishing trip. But that's not all it takes to ensure your family's comfort and safety on the water. Carry a first aid kit and a set of life jackets in preparation for the worst-case scenario. If you are going to fish under the hot summer sun, a bimini top, sunscreen, water, and a cooler would be fantastic additions. Ice fishing and other forms of fishing have their unique safety recommendations, too.
Don't set the bar too high
Most seasoned anglers will be on the water for the biggest fish, but youngsters and newbies will be satisfied with anything they get. Reserve your trophy bass ambitions for next time and go for panfish, which are plentiful and easy to catch. Smaller fish can be found near the shores, meaning your plans can go on with or without a boat.
Try shore fishing
If your children's entertainment is a top priority for you, shore fishing would be perfect. There is more space on the shore than on a boat for kids to play if they get bored with fishing. What's more, shore fishing is less expensive as you won't need to rent a boat or tow yours to the lake or sea. And of course, you won't need to travel to a dangerous place to find a great shore fishing spot.
Bring your camera
Having a camera at your fishing destination allows you to capture those little moments of achievement and snap memories of a place you may never visit again. Experienced angling enthusiasts go for the high-end fishing cameras to take the perfect photos, but you don't have to make a big investment if fishing trips are few and far between for your family. A regular camera will serve you just right.
Go through basic fishing rules
A family fishing trip provides the perfect opportunity to introduce your kids to the environment and eco-consciousness. If any of them takes a permanent interest in the activity, it is best that they learn to be responsible before their maiden catch. There are many free online guides to give you basic fishing guidelines, so don't worry about having to add another expense to your checklist.
That said, what you do while they are watching is what will have the most sway on how they conduct themselves on subsequent visits. Follow the rules you teach, and make sure to explain why they are necessary.
Don't teach too many skills
Practice makes perfect, and one day is simply too little for the less experienced anglers on board to grasp everything. Choose something you know they won't struggle to get the hang of and let them practice it throughout the fishing trip. If possible, show them fishing videos in advance, so they can make a choice themselves.
Whether it is a first-time family fishing trip or one of many occasional outings, proper planning is essential. The above tips can help you prepare a basic checklist for safe and enjoyable fishing.