checklist

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.

 

Kayak Fishing Checklist

Photo by: Michael Whitacre

Are you new or thinking about getting into Kayak fishing? If so, there are a couple of things to think about and a few basic items you will need. The below list is a Kayak fishing checklist. It is a good idea to print out a list for quick reference of things you don’t want to forget. We have all had that “oh crap” feeling when we are out and realize we forgot something! Don’t be that person…

Tip: if you store and load your items the same way every time, they are easier to track and makes running through your checklist much quicker.

Kayak Fishing Checklist

Kayak of course

We are not going to spend a lot of time on this one. It is pretty obvious that you will have your kayak but you would be surprised… I’m assuming you already have one. Just make sure it is loaded before pulling out lol.

Paddle

You paddle is another pretty obvious item but this one can get left behind a little easier. We suggest a lightweight paddle that has a way to attach it to your Kayak for transport. Remember, the best thing you can learn is to set yourself up for success and make travel/preparing as easy as possible.

Safety Gear

You would be surprised on how many people do not pack the correct safety gear. It is not only irresponsible for you, it also would affect you family if you actually needs it.

  • PFD (personal floatation device)
  • A emergency whistle or airhorn
  • Sun block
  • Something hunter orange like a hat (in case you need to be spotted)
  • Headlight if you will be fishing at night
  • Knife
  • Paracord, they make knives and bracelets made with paracord. Search for survival bracelets or knives.
  • If possible and you have room somewhere, it is advised to take a small first aid kit

Portable GPS

Photo by: kayakbest.com

Many people do not think about using GPS while out kayaking but it really is a smart idea. You may think you know your local waters but they can serve couple ways. 1. of course is to know where you are. 2. You can mark honey holes or a turnoff you may not have time to explore but may want to in the future. 3. as a safety device so you can let someone know your exact location if you get into trouble. KayakBest has a good list of the top 5 GPS systems you can find here.

Tackle and Storage

So you will be in a Kayak with limited space, where do you keep your tackle, power bars and water? You want something easy to store and in the limited space you have. This of course depends on the type of fishing your doing.

Engel cooler makes a nice device that has multiple uses. It is a live well if you are using live bait or it can double as a air tight cooler for water and food.  Did you catch it was air tight? The lid locks tightly so if you do capsize and end up dumping it, the cooler stays shut and protects everything in it. Great place to put your phone!

If you don’t want to put your money into one of those, I have two words for you. Milk crate… I have seen many people use these and they make an awesome storage spot. Easy to store and think of how much stuff it can hold. No worries if you have a small tackle box you want to take.

Lastly, think clothing. A cheap fishing vest or cargo pants give you a lot of room to keep lures, etc.

Camera

A camera is a must when fishing these days. When fishing by Kayak, using your phone camera is not the best choice. I always suggest always keeping them protected. We suggest something like a GoPro in a waterproof case. You could attach it to your hat or arm band to get some pretty cool shots.

Fishing License

Seems like a no brainer but make sure you have it on you. We also suggest laminating it as well since you will be on the water. Keeping it along with your wallet in something like the cooler above is recommended.

Water/Snacks

Pack plenty of water along with things like power bars. You will be doing a lot of rowing in the heat. You may be able to get away with a camelbak but a gallon water jug will be just fine (if you have the room).

Proper Attire/Weather Check

Check the weather, always dress for the elements. Remember that you will be doing a lot of rowing. Always wear a hat, wear plenty of sun screen (take extra with you) and wear polarized sunglasses.

Lastly

Though you may have other things to add to your list, this is a good starting point. Just like everything else in life, you need to tailor the list to your needs. It’s a good idea to make your list, print it out. Laminate it and keep it with your gear.

I also want to stress that coming up with a packing and travel system will save you a ton of headaches. That way, it is always the same, you know where everything is and you will not lose things when your in a hurry.