How many times has it happened that you went out fishing and wished you had brought something that was left back at home? It happens a lot. Sometimes it’s one of the most critical items you need for the day, and it’s not doing you any good sitting on a shelf and not on the boat. Sometimes it’s not that we forgot to bring it along but instead didn’t even think it would come in handy to make the fishing experience run more smoothly. Here is our best advice for what to bring fishing. 

What are the essential items to bring fishing?

What to bring fishing can be entirely based on the type of fishing you are doing; however, certain items can be a challenge to live without.

Pliers or a multitool knife

Don’t leave this tool behind. What happens when you deeply hook a fish and can’t remove it without pliers, or you’re snagged on the bottom and have no way to cut the line free.

Bug spray and sunscreen

Sunburn can cause pain that lingers for days. Apply it before you leave and again through the day. Not much is worse than being covered in insects that bight. Swatting these nuisances away will deter you from focusing on the bite. 

Fishing License

Be sure that your state required fishing license is not expired and is packed along with you. Remember, in Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, a license is needed for salt and freshwater. 

The Bait

We have all done it, headed out only to realize we forgot the live bait or artificials. This is a quick way to end your day earlier than anticipated.

Measuring tape

The day you are piling in fish, but a close call on meeting state-size regulations will be the day that the measuring tape is left behind. Keeping illegal fish can lead to severe punishments. Bring the tape with you or plan to practice catch and release.


Ever run short on hooks, leader line, or weights? We have! Losing tackle to snags or hangups in trees is standard. Pack enough terminal tackle in the event you are donating the necessities to the bottom of the lake or coastal waterway. 


Torturing yourself on an empty stomach doesn’t lead to an enjoyable escape from a workday. Bring along a sandwich or some handy bars to grab and snack on while you’re still catching fish.

The proper clothing

Spring, summer, fall, or winter the clothing selection is critical. Avoid being cold when you can pack more layers, stay dry in heavy rains, cover your skin on bright sunny days. Most of all, wear a hat and sunglasses. Squinting and gazing at the sun all day can lead to an unpleasant headache.

Rod and reel combinations

Highly unlikely you’re going to forget the stick and reel needed to land the big one. Preparation ahead of time is a must. Line wears out over time and has what’s called “memory.” Memory is the line staying in the shape of the reel’s spool as you cast or send it down to the bottom. Check your rod and reels before it’s time to fish. 

Don’t forget to have fun

Lefts face it, being away from the workplace is often a rarity. Add house chores on top of it all; you may only get to do this a couple of times a year. Have fun, and enjoy time spent on the water.

You may think to yourself; no way am I going to forget these ordinary things. Trust us, it happens. The mad rush to prepare is an adventure in itself. Take your time and plan. Hurrying out the door in the morning may turn a good day into frustration. If it makes it easier, create a simple checklist, it’ll be worth your time.