Fishing Tips

10 Must Have Items When Out On The Water Fishing

How many times have you been out on the water just to discover that you don’t have something you could really use? It happens, right? Everyone has been there along with myself. Today, I’m going to share my must have items to have while out on the water fishing.

Must Have Items While Fishing

Extra Gear/Lures

So, I’m sure you are not going to forget your gear. But let’s think about it in a different light. How many times have you been out on the water and have you gear fail on you, your reel backlash or you forgot to reload your favorite plastics?

Caring an extra rod and reel (or two) with you can save you a boatload of time if something happens to your gear while out on the water. In place of needing to spend time untangling the line you just back-lashed, you can work on it later.

It is always smart to carry extra of your favorite lures, but do you have an assortment? What if your favorite Fluke just isn’t working? No one likes carrying around a large tackle box, but it just may save your trip out.

 

Hat/Glasses

Smallmouth bass fishing wearing Sombriolet Sun Hat

Far too many people forget one or the other while out on the water. A hat and sunglasses are both important and play different roles.

Hat

Many wear baseball caps while out on the water which works but doesn’t give you full protection from the sun. Using a Sombriolet Sun Hat is a smarter choice. It will protect your face and the back of your neck from the sun. How many times have you come home with a burnt up neck…

Sunglasses

Sunglasses are a no brainier but if you have ever been out on the boat and didn’t bring any, I’m sure you remember going forward. Not only do they protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, they will also help you from getting that ridiculous headache from squinting all day. Everyone needs a good pair of fishing sunglasses. They don’t have to be expensive, just make sure they are polarized and keep them in your tackle box.

Sun Block

While we are on the subject of the sun, don’t forget to take some sunblock. If your going to be out all day, protect yourself.

Phone

Fishing app on phone

Photo Credit: navico

You may think this is pretty obvious, but it is worth mentioning. Besides being your way to communicate if you are in trouble or stuck out on the water for some reason, your phone is a great tool for other fishing related tasks. Here is a list of things you may have not thought about using it for:

  • Camera to snap shots of your catches
  • Maps or GPS to navigate the waters
  • Marking good fishing or potential fishing spots
  • Marking underwater structures you find
  • Fishing and weather apps

Measuring Stick

Bass being measured

Depending on what your fishing for and/or if you are keeping your fish, keeping a measuring stick on you comes in handy a lot. Maybe not really needed if your bass fishing for catch and release, but it could come in handy if your in a tournament. It is also smart to have a measuring stick close by if your keeping your catch. The DNR is strict on size limits and you do not want to have that conversation with an officer on why your catch in an inch short. You will be ticketed.

Tip: Look up length limits on what you fish for per your state regulations. Make your marks on the measuring stick so they are permanent. That way, you are always prepared.

Scale

I know, I know, you are a great judge when it comes to guessing weight. But if your in a tournament, you are going to want to check the right fish to keep for weighing and which to send on his marry way back to the water. A scale is not as important as measuring stick but they are nice to have on hand.

Snacks/Drinks

There is nothing worse than being out on the water all day baking in the sun without having energy. You get sick, dehydrated and it could turn dangerous. I have personally been with a friend that passed out because he was not drinking enough (water, he was drinking plenty of beer). Here are a couple ideas for quick energy:

For food

  • Jerky
  • Nuts or trail mix
  • Sausage sticks
  • Snickers (if you can keep cool)
  • Fruit (apple, banana)

For Drinks

  • Water (of course)
  • Gatorade
  • Apple Juice
  • Jug of tea
  • flavor packs for your water

Stay away from carbonated drinks

Friend/Kid

Dad and son fishing

Some hit the waters on their own. Maybe you have the day off, maybe your retired, some people do fish alone and there is nothing wrong with that. But lets’s think about it from a safety standpoint. You always want someone with you in case something happens.

Let’s take it a step further, why not take someone that may not have the opportunity to fish from a boat much. Spread the love of fishing and take a kid. It could be your own , a niece/nephew, a neighbor kid that is looking for the father figure, etc. Even if it someone from work, that person is going to be very thankful they were invited.

Fishing from a boat may be something you don’t think twice about. But for many, that is a huge treat and they will be grateful. People like this help grow the sport on to the next generation.

Safety Gear

Don’t be lazy or cheap. Have your safety gear on-board at all times. It’s not only smart but some of it is law. You do not want to be boarded by t he coastguard and not have your life jackets and fire extinguisher. Here are a couple other things that may come in handy:

  • Whistle (if your stuck out at night with no power so they can find you)
  • First aide kit
  • Small mirror
  • Air horn (may be law)
  • Extra rope (towing or needing to tie off)

Find your state’s boat safety requirements.

Rain Gear

When out on the water, you never know whats going to happen. I have been on the water many of time with sunny skies, and having a storm blow through. It’s always smart to keep some on the boat. Frogg Toggs are light weight and easy to stuff in someplace tight. I actually keep a set on the boat, in the camper, garage, etc. I’m never without. You can check out what I think about Frogg Toggs on a post I wrote a while back.

 

Things To Do During The Off Season

If you are an outdoors person, there really is no “off season” though some people may like to fish but not hunt. However, in this article we will go over a couple thing to do during the the time where hunting or fishing may not be is season for you. It’s all about staying in the game.

Hunting

Sadly, there is a long period between hunting seasons. It is shorter if you take advantage of them all, but most people hunt deer, many hunt turkey, but most don’t hunt small game or birds. Even if you hunt all available seasons, you have most of the summer off. Sure there is plenty to do late spring through summer like fish, but we want to stay on top of our game. There is always something to do to prepare for the next hunting season.

Practice

I can’t say this enough, but you can never practice shooting enough. Be it your shotgun/rifle or bow, people get rusty. Besides that, things on your preferred hunting tools get out of wack as time goes on. Your scopes need adjusted and your sights get out of whack.

This is especially true if your getting new gear. Guns nor bow shoot the same and some will require a lot of adjustment to get them set up for personal preference. They say practice makes perfect, being fun is just a side advantage.

Heck, you can even start doing a buck shooting workout

Scout

Most people don’t scout at all. The ones who do, usually start scouting a month or so before the season. Scouting can and should be a never ending cycle. By scouting all year, you learn what is where at what times of year. How can not be a good thing. Knowing the woods you hunt is important and  knowing them like the back of your hand goves you an advantage.

You don’t need to go all in daily or even weekly to keep up on scouting. Taking walks through the woods every couple weeks not only helps you get familiar with the property, but is is also a relaxing exercise. What hunter doesn’t like spending time in the woods hanging out with nature? This is also a perfect time to get your kids out to enjoy and learn. Here are 21 Off-Season Tasks you should be doing.

You may also run into some sheds, they always make for a fun off season hunt!

Clean You Gear

I’m assuming that you have already cleaned your firearms for the year. If not, get it done. Dirty guns can quickly turn into down time, money and uselessness if left through the off season.

How about all your other hunting equipment? Is your bibs, duffel, etc sitting out in the garage? If so, gather them up, give them a good cleaning. After washing, gather them up and throw them in a garbage bag, add a couple handful of leaves and tie it up. This gets rid of all the smells from last year (cleaning deer), your garage and keeps them fresh smelling like the outdoors. Putting leaves in the bag just tops it off to make sure you smell like Mother Nature herself come next year.

Gear Up

During the off season is a good time to think about what you need. This gives you plenty of time to spread out your purchases over a long period of time.

Are your boots old and rank? Why not go ahead and get a new pair now? This will give them some time to get that “new shoe” smell off them. Get them and throw in a bag with leaves and tie it off.

How about ammo or arrows? Buy a little here and a little there now.

Since you will not be buying last minute, this gives you time to research and find sales on the gear you want.

If you have done all of that and still want to stay in hunting mode, check out some hunting games online to feed your addiction. They are quite fun.

Fishing

Fishing season is not as short as hunting season, but there is some down time. You ice and southern fishermen have it made and can wet your lines all year long but, most of us don’t get that blessing.

So if you can’t fish year round,here are a couple things to do on the off season.

Restring Your Reels

Would it surprise you to know that many anglers use the same fishing line for 3, 5, plus years without changing it? Some wait until their line is so dry rotted that it snaps on them pulling in a monster 2lb’er.

Depending on how much you get out fishing and how much sun your line see’s, you maybe should be changing your line out yearly.

The sun’s ultraviolet rays destroys mono line. If you fish alot or leave your gear outside (like while camping), you may want to go ahead and change it out during each off season. Price is not too bad and it will make sure you have strong line every time.

Wash/Lube Reels

This is especially important if you fish saltwater. Saltwater along with dirt, sand and crud will wear your gear out faster than you may think. You saltwater guys (and gals) probably know this better than anyone. What better time to break everything down and give it a good cleaning and lube those gears up? Doing this regularly will give you many years out of your reels.

Restock You Tackle

Tackle is expensive. When you go to stock up for the year, you can easily pay a couple hundred dollars doing so. Why not do this over months? You will be surprised about just how many weapons you will have in your tackle box come spring.

Make Something

Have you ever wanted to make a live-well? How about some new catfish pole holders? What better time to do so than when your not fishing anyway?

Last year I made a live-well to keep shad in since we catfish a lot while camping. This year, I want to modify our golf cart and add some pole holders. I guess I better get on it since fishing season is pretty much here!

Conclusion

The whole point of this article is to get you thinking outside the box. Just because you can’t hunt or fish during a specific time, doesn’t mean you can’t stay in game mode. Staying in the mindset may feed your spring fever per say, but it prepares you for the upcoming season so you are ready.