As with anything, the more you prepare, the more likely you are to succeed. The same goes for planning a day on the water fishing.  I’m sure it happened to you before, you’re ready to head out to your favorite fishing hole, and you realize you have left behind a vital component of the day. Preparation should begin a day ahead to avoid these costly errors. 

Here are some of our best tips about what to bring fishing.

Before You Leave

  • Inspect the fishing line and functionality of the reels.
  • Rig rods and reels with the lures you plan to use.
  • Don’t leave your pliers laying in the garage; make sure they go back into your tackle bag.
  • If your planning on buying or gathering live bait, be sure you have working batteries in the pump.
  • Study tides, weather, and water conditions to decide what spots will be safe to travel and if you’re fishing an incoming or outgoing tide.
  • If the boat is in a dry rack and you plan to leave early the next morning, contact the marina to have your boat in the water the day before. 
  • Make sure your tackle box has the terminal take needed or visit a tackle shop to stock up.
  • Gather snacks, food, and drinks.
  • When trailering a boat, start it up in the driveway as a test in advance.  
  • Sharpen and safely store a fillet knife to clean fish dockside and bring along plastic bags to place the fillets in. 

Once all of the at-home duties are complete, everything will be organized and ready to go. Now its time for some final steps before driving off in your vehicle.

  • Ice down a cooler for food in addition to a separate cooler to keep your days catch ice cold.
  • Wear comfortable clothing that reduces sun exposer, such as long-sleeve shirts and pants. 
  • Pack a wide brim hat, and whatever you do, don’t forget sunglasses. Nothing is more miserable than spending a day in the sun without sunglasses.
  • Apply sunscreen before you even step out the door, or else it will become an afterthought. 
  • If rain is in the forecast, add in the foul weather gear. Sitting in drenched clothing is leads to an unpleasant day. 
  • Load up the truck and head out.

On The Road

When you’re headed to the marina or boat ramp, you may need to make some stops.

  • A sub made by your local grocery store always makes for easy grab and go meal between reeling fish. While you’re there, remain hydrated and load up on some refreshing drinks.
  • If you’re feeling confident that you will be coming back with fish, add on the ingredients needed to cook the fish to your liking. 
  • Some prefer to catch live bait with casts nets while others visit the local bait shop. Stop in to pick up your favorite live or dead bait.
  • Unload the vehicle at the marina but take an extra look through to make sure nothing is left behind. 
  • Remember to lock the car and take your wallet.

When you are prepared ahead of time, something that you may have left out of your gear will more likely pop into your head before even leaving to fish.

Once the boat has departed the dock, it’s unlikely that you will turn back for anything. It has happened countless times that we have to cope with missing essential items, but you can make it work with what you have.

Most often, the last-minute scramble to get everything ready does not end on a positive note. Greater peace of mind comes from knowing ahead that you are prepared to load the boat up with fish.