Fishing 101 Checklist: Prepare for Your Fishing Trip like a Pro

a man is fishing

Fishing is one of the most enjoyable and rewarding hobbies. It is also good for your mental health, as it can help you deal with PTSD, depression, and anxiety. As a pastime, fishing has been shown to build more robust relationships between buddies, improve focus, and help you stay on top of your fitness.

The excitement and thrill of hooking a fish on your line can knock your socks off, plus the tranquility and peace that comes from being in the middle of nowhere can be out of this world. However, planning for a fishing trip, especially if it is your first time out, isn’t an easy walk in the park.

That means you will need to prepare for fishing accordingly, and here’s a handy checklist to help you.

Get Enough ZZZs

Fishing can be a physically-demanding expedition. That rings especially true if you’re venturing out in the open seas to fish aggressive species like barracuda or goliath tigerfish. For that reason, you will need to load up on energy-giving food and get well-rested before you head out.

A good night’s rest will also help beat seasickness and become more alert when fishing. Avoid being intoxicated or drinking too much coffee the night before fishing.

Pack the Right Gear

The first step in preparing for fishing is packing all the gears you need, which is the most crucial. It is a wise idea to begin gathering all of the items early on to prevent your fishing trip from being ruined at the last minute. For your reference, here’s what you will need to pack for your expedition:

1.  Sunscreen

You’ll be out in the sun almost a whole day. The harsh UV rays from the sun can cause immense damage to your skin and put you at risk of sunburns, itching, redness, and skin cancer. For that, you’ll need to pack a high-quality sunscreen, preferably something with titanium dioxide or zinc oxide as active ingredients. Ensure it is rated SPF 50 or higher for optimal protection.

2. Solar Generator

No fishing trip would ever be complete with a top-notch solar generator. You will need a reliable energy source to power your fishing tools, such as a depth finder, cooler, mini-fridge, smartphones, and other essentials.

When selecting the right solar generator for fishing, think about your power requirements, capacity (i.e., how much energy the battery can store), size/weight, and cost. The last thing you want is to shell out thousands of dollars for a unit that won’t do much. 

bluetti eb55 power station

Based on these criteria, we highly recommend the BLUETTI EB55 portable power station, and for good reasons. It is incredibly portable at just 16.5 pounds and features multiple ports that can help you run or charge up to 13 devices at once. It has a 100-watt USB-C port for blazing-fast charging; 3 DC outputs for direct current appliances like mini-fridges, four USB-A ports, and a 15-watt wireless charging pad.

solar generator and smartphone

The BLUETTI EB55 has a capacity of 537-watt hours and a maximum output of 700W, which is more than adequate to run practically anything you’d take fishing, and even charging a cooler in a pinch.

Perhaps the icing on the cake, though, is its ability to be juiced up super-fast thanks to the ample 400W input power. Wiring to two 200W solar panels will get it fully recharged in less than 2 hours. And if you plug it into your home’s wall outlet, it’ll recharge from 0 to 100% in around 3 hours.

3. Basic Survival Kit

You might be out in the open sea or in the middle of the lake. The nearest supply store may be miles from where you are, which would prevent you from stocking up on necessities. As such, consider bringing plenty of drinking water, snacks, drinks, food, and a first aid kit.

a man holding a fish

4. Fishing Gear

You probably own several fishing rods. If not, ensure to invest in fishing gear and tools beforehand. Sometimes, you can rent or borrow some of them from friends or family. Here’s what you’ll need to prepare for fishing:

  • Fishing rods and rod holders
  • Fishing line
  • Reels
  • Baits and lures
  • Cutters/pliers
  • Cooler with ice

You'd better wear proper fishing gear. If you’re planning to stay in a lodge or cottage, inquire if they offer fishing equipment rental. If you will cross the country’s border, ensure you have your visa and passport handy. Note that you may also need to acquire a fishing license, depending on the place.

fishing rod

Finding the Right Spot for Fishing

Another important thing you should get out of the way when you prepare for fishing is to find a good spot. This will depend on where you live, the kind of fish you want to catch, and the equipment you have. Remember, not all lakes, rivers, or oceans offer the same selection of fish.

Some lakes are not ideal for fishing. You might want to consider joining a fishing group to help you learn the rope on your first time out. They will serve as mentors and provide you with the tips, hacks, and general knowledge you will need to become an efficient angler or fisherman.

Learn the Crucial Fishing Skills

Here are some important skills you will need to master when preparing for fishing:

1. Knot-tying skills

Tying knots is a basic fishing skill, as it will help you set up your line, reels, and ensure your rod is getting the job done. You may have to read a book, listen to a podcast, or watch an instructional video on the subject.

Below, you will find the most common knots you’ll want to learn to prepare for fishing:

  • The double surgeon’s knot:If you want to link two lines, you will have to use the double surgeon’s knot. This will come in handy if your line snaps or gets snagged. Similarly, you can use the knot if your line breaks or gets caught in between rocks, logs, or crevices.
  • The Palomar knot:This is the most basic yet equally important type of fishing knot. You will need this skill when connecting your line to the hook. It is prized for being extra strong and easy to tie.
  • The clinch knot:This type of knot is preferred when tying your lure or hook to the line. Once you have learned the improved clinch knot, nothing will stand in your way.

2. Water reading skills

Reading water is a fishing term that describes the act of finding out where the fish are hiding, helping you direct your line to that area. Most freshwater lake fish often cluster around or in logs on the bed, downed trees, or around weeds.

Some fish may also hang out close to drop-offs, such as near waterfalls. For that, you will require a kayak or canoe to better fish these kinds of lakes.

The same tricks will serve you when fishing in a river. You will need to look for nooks and crannies where fish can find cover, such as overhanging banks, falls, or logjams.

fishing by the river

3. Casting skills

Casting your line should be a straightforward skill. Start by throwing around 6” of line, making sure the reel is strongly held under your dominant hand (for most people, this is your right hand). Release your line when your rod is slightly leaning forward or straight vertical. Start reeling after flipping over the back of the bail.

4. Hooking skills

To properly hook the fish, you need to prevent your line from breaking under the power/ weight of the catch or allowing the fish to spit out the bait. Here’s how:

  • Set your hook at the perfect time (the moment when you see the bobber jumping up and down)
  • Apply moderate pressure when pulling up and back the rod
  • Always ensure your line is taut

FAQ:

Q: Do I need a weight on my fishing line?

It depends. You don’t necessarily need a weight (aka the sinker) on your fishing line, but it can help immensely, especially when bait-fishing. The question is whether you will need a lighter or heavier weight on your fishing line. Usually, you will want a heavier weight if you are struggling to cast your line to the right distance. However, for most fishing instances, you will need to pick a lighter weight instead of a heavier sinker.

Q: How to charge my mobile phone?

The good news is that most boats do come with a USB port for charging the majority of iPhones and Android phones. If you are not using a powered boat, your next best bet is to invest in a solar generator; it usually has several ports for charging multiple devices. Some do come with a wireless charging pad.

Q: What should every fisherman have?

Every fisherman should have the following essentials:

  • A smart first-aid kit
  • Needle-nose pliers or line cutter
  • An extra reel of line
  • Bobbers
  • Weights or sinkers
  • Several lures and extra bait

Conclusion

big fish

When you prepare for fishing, it pays to pack the right gear. The right fishing clothes, tools, and accessories like a solar generator, extra lines, and a survival kit can make your experience more enjoyable.

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