Fishing is relaxing way to spend an afternoon in the great outdoors, and the sport is particularly stress-free if you have the right gear on hand. A selection of carefully chosen gear is essential for catch-and-release fishing, but is also a must for fishermen who keep their catch. These must-have tools are useful additions to your tackle box in any season.
Your Fishing License
A fishing license is a must-have for every fishing trip, whether you release your catch or keep it. You need a fishing license for each state you plan to fish in, including your home state. You can find out where to get a local fishing license from the state’s Game and Fish commission.
Gear to Release Fish
Some fish are protected by state or federal laws, and must be released if you catch them. Other species of fish, such as salmon, must be released during mating season. Check local regulations for specific release dates for these fish. Small fish may also be protected by local laws.
Take a measuring device, such as a tackle box with ruler measurements on the lid, to measure your fish after catching them. You also need gear to release protected fish without damaging them. To safely release protected fish, take a de-hooking tool along with you on your fishing trip.
A Sharp Knife
Fishing lines can easily tangle or become caught on underwater debris. A sharp knife is also necessary if you plan on cooking your catch over a campfire. Opt for a knife that is easy to use with one hand, and look for something that is rust-proof, such as stainless steel, so your knife stays sharp after being exposed to water.
Your Fishing Pole
Although it sounds simple, your fishing pole is an important tool that should be suited to the type of fish you want to catch.Opt for a lightweight, flexible fishing pole to catch smaller fish like perch, or choose a heavy-duty fishing pole for saltwater fishing. A basic spinning-casting reel is a good option to avoid tangled fishing line.
Sitting on the lake is a great way to spend the afternoon, but the sun reflecting off the water can cause a massive sunburn if you don’t have protection. Choose sunblock with a high SPF to prevent sunburn, and wear a hat to protect your eyes from the glare of sunlight. A DEET-based insect repellent is also a wise addition to your essential gear, especially if you are fishing at dusk. With the right tools, your fishing trip can be successful, even if you don’t have a mount-worthy fish at the end of the day.