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Month: October 2016

Circle Hooks: Catch and Release Fish Hooks for Consideration

Circle Hooks: Catch and Release Fish Hooks for Consideration

Andy Whitcomb 10/31/2016 The circle hook qualifies as a great addition to fishing safety gear. Because of its unique shape, it is safe for fish, and increases successful catch and release.  It is also safe for anglers because the sharp point of the hook is […]

Planning a Fishing Trip

Planning a Fishing Trip

Tom Keer 10/28/2016 Any day now I will head to the beach and find that there are no fish to be caught.  My striped bass and bluefish are migratory and when the Fall Run is over there isn’t a fish to be caught until they […]

Use This Weekend Fishing Trip Packing List

Use This Weekend Fishing Trip Packing List

Are you getting ready to head off on a weekend angling adventure? How exciting! You’ll definitely want to create a fishing trip packing list before you leave. This way, you can rest assured knowing that you’re prepared with everything you need to make fantastic new fishing memories on the water. 

Just save and print this list, crossing off each item as you pack it. Keep in mind that this is a sample fishing gear list. Different items or additional items may be needed depending on the destination and duration of your trip. If you booked a trip with a charter guide or boat captain, he or she will most likely provide the tackle and gear you need, but always confirm this before you leave.

Weekend Fishing Trip Packing List 

1. Fishing license. Slip your fishing license into a small waterproof dry bag for easy access and store it inside your backpack or tackle box while fishing. If you don’t already have a fishing license for the state where you plan to fish, just purchase your license online now.

2. Set of printed state fishing regulations or access to fishing regulations online. No matter which state you travel to, you will need to know the legal slot limits, bag limits, and other special regulations that may apply.

3. GPS. If you plan to take a fishing trip to a remote area or unfamiliar place, it’s a good idea to have a GPS so that you can find your way back to your fishing lodge or campsite.

4. First aid kit. Pack a portable first aid kit that includes items such as antibiotic ointment, bandages, tweezers, antiseptic wipes, aspirin, gauze pads, cloth tape, non-latex gloves, and a blanket.

5. Polarized sunglasses. Polarized sunglasses will not only protect your eyes from the sun, they also help to cut through the glare while on the water so you can spot the fish.

6. Sunscreen. Be sure to bring a UVA/UVB broad-spectrum sunscreen or sunblock, preferably one that is waterproof. Even on cloudy days, the suns rays can be strong.

7. Bug spray. Always pack a bottle of bug spray to keep pests like mosquitoes, gnats, and ticks away. If you are taking a fishing trip with a guide or charter captain, you may want to ask them for a recommendation on a product that works well in the area or environment you’ll be fishing in. 

8. Seasickness pills. If you plan to take an offshore fishing trip, it’s a good idea to bring along a packet of seasickness pills. Follow the instructions on the package, but most work best if you take one the night before your fishing trip, and then one again in the morning before you leave.

9. Pants. Pants will provide you with more protection against insects and the sun than a pair of shorts. Find pants in a lightweight, moisture-wicking or breathable materials.

10. Hat. Add a wide-brimmed hat to your fishing trip packing list so that you can use it to keep your face shielded from the sun. 

11. Camera. Bring along a camera, cell phone camera, or video camera so that you can document all of your amazing catches.

12. Waterproof bag. Use a waterproof bag to store your camera, cell phone, and anything else you need to keep dry.

13. Rain jacket or rain gear. Weather can change in without much warning, so be prepared with a set of rain gear (jacket and pants) or at least a rain jacket. 

14. Layers of clothes. Mornings and evenings on the water can get chilly. Be prepared by dressing in layers that you can remove as the day progresses and temperatures rise.

15. Non-skid and non-marking boat shoes. Leave the sandals and flip-flops at home. Opt for non-skid and non-marking shoes that are made for wearing on a boat. 

16. Personal flotation devices. Always bring along your life jacket or personal flotation devices (PFD). If you will be fishing on someone else’s boat, check to be sure they have enough PFD’s aboard, and that the PFD’s are suited to the type of fishing trip you plan to take — inshore or offshore.

17. Extra set of clothes. If you get wet or it’s a warm day, you’ll appreciate having a fresh set of dry clothes to change into afterwards.

18. Pocket knife or multi-tool. Bring along a multi-tool for cutting lines, sharpening hooks, and for a number of other uses.

19. Pliers. You’ll need these for removing hooks, making adjustments to lures, and a number of other things. Take along a pair that is corrosion-resistant and keep them stored in a sheath. 

20. Tape measure. This will help you make sure that your catch is within the regulations if you plan to take it home to cook for dinner.

21. Towels. Bring along a few towels to use for drying off in case you get wet.

22. Water and snacks. You will want to stay hydrated and have enough energy. Bring along plenty of water and non-perishable snacks such as almonds, beef jerky or granola bars.

23. Fishing rods and reels. If you plan to fish on your own without a guide or captain, find out which type of saltwater fishing rods and reels or freshwater fishing rods and reels you’ll need to bring along.

24. Fishing line. Make sure you have plenty of extra fishing line along in case you need to re-rig. The type of line will vary depending on where you will be fishing, the method you intend to use, and the specific fish species you plan to target. 

25. Tackle box. If you are fishing on your own without a guide or captain, you’ll need to bring along a tackle box that includes items such as various sizes of hooks, sinkers, bobbers or floats, lures, a de-hooker, swivels, leader material, and scissors.

26. Bait. If you are fishing with kids, you’ll want to bring along or purchase some live bait before you arrive at your final fishing destination. Live bait will help ensure plenty of bites to keep the kids entertained.

27. Cooler. Bring along a cooler for storing your catch (provided it’s within the legal regulations and you plan to take it home for dinner) and keeping bottled water cold. 

28. Cash. Don’t forget to bring cash to pay for charter gratuities, bait, fuel, etc.

29. Medications. Remember to pack any special medications you might need while away from home. It’s always a good idea to have a few extra days of medications on hand in the event your trip back is delayed or you end up staying longer than expected.

Hopefully you have now checked each of these items off of your fishing trip packing list and are ready to go fishing. If you want to learn more about the type of boat you may be taking out on your saltwater or freshwater fishing trip, you can check the boat comparison tool.


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Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.

The Best Time to Fish for Steelhead Trout

The Best Time to Fish for Steelhead Trout

Andy Whitcomb 10/26/2016 The steelhead trout is genetically the same as a rainbow trout. The difference between the two is that the steelhead doesn’t just stay in creeks or rivers. On the Pacific Coast, it migrates to and from the ocean. They’ve also been stocked […]

The Overfishing Dilemma

The Overfishing Dilemma

Tom Keer 10/19/2016 We go fishing to catch fish, and when we hook up we like to keep some to eat.  But in some areas of the country we can’t seem to find fish, and that is frequently due to overfishing.   But exactly what […]

5 Ways To Determine Best Fishing Days

5 Ways To Determine Best Fishing Days

Have some flexibility in your schedule? Want to find out when your best chance will be at landing a brag-worthy catch? Good news! There are few ways you can research the best fishing days for upcoming months. From tide changes to simply spending time with friends and family on the water, check out these tips for selecting the best days to fish.

Tides for Fishing

If you are trying to determine the best days to go saltwater fishing, be sure to check a tide chart to find out when the tide will be rising or falling where you plan to fish. Baitfish and other game fish prey are more active on a rising or falling tide. This means that game fish will be feeding more heavily during these periods.

Solunar Tables

Solunar tables can be used to determine the best days of the month and times of the day for catching fish. The gravitational pull of the moon affects tidal movement, while the sunrise and sunset times can help anglers predict when the fish are going to bite. Many anglers feel that fish are most active on a full moon or new moon, and that activity is at a low on a quarter moon or a three quarter moon.

Weather Reports

Weather, and barometric pressure in particular, can have a major impact on fishing activity. Fish behavior can change significantly before and after cold or warm fronts. Before a front, fish often increase feeding activity due to periods of lower barometric pressure. Since fish are sensitive to changes in pressure, they increase feeding activity right before a front moves in — this is an opportunity for some of the best fishing days. Also, don’t forget that weather reports can change frequently, so always check the weather before you make plans to go fishing. Always change your fishing plans to another day, and stay inside if the weather report calls for storms or other unsafe fishing conditions.

Seasons

 


You should also use the seasons of year to help you determine the best fishing days. Spring is often considered by many Florida anglers to be prime time for targeting largemouth bass in Florida, just as one example. Summer can be a great season for fishing as well, but you may want to avoid the hottest periods of the day. Focus on fishing at dawn and dusk during the summer months when water temperatures aren’t quite as high. When summer transitions into fall, this be another great time of year to fish provided that the weather is consistent.

If you want to go ice fishing for panfish or walleye in the northern states, the coldest winter months will be the safest and most productive. Focus your ice fishing efforts at dusk or dawn when targeting walleye through the ice since they have light sensitive eyes and are most active during those time periods. However, if it’s panfish you’re after, species like crappie will often school up and feed heavily during periods of diminished light as well. Pay special attention to the edges of weedbeds, weedlines, and points during the winter.

Friends and Family

Sometimes the best fishing days are quite simply those days when you can get friends and family together to enjoy an experience on the water. Fishing is often about so much more than just catching. Consider all of the above, but don’t forget that time spent relaxing out in the fresh air with good company is often what the very best fishing memories are made of. 

Since you now know more about how to determine the best fishing days of the month, don’t forget to buy your fishing license online so that you are prepared when the conditions are right. Tight lines!


Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson

Debbie Hanson is an award-winning outdoor writer, women’s sport fishing advocate, IGFA world record holder, and freshwater guide living in Southwest Florida. Hanson’s written work has appeared in publications such as Florida Game & Fish Magazine, BoatUS Magazine, and USA Today Hunt & Fish. To learn more about her work, visit shefishes2.com or follow her on Instagram @shefishes2.

Tips for Charter Boat Fishing Trip Fun

Tips for Charter Boat Fishing Trip Fun

Andy Whitcomb 10/14/2016 Fall is a great time to plan a fishing trip. Fish are opportunistically taking advantage of the remaining warm water to feed heavily and “pack on a few pounds.” Fishermen are opportunists as well, looking to get in some quality fishing time, […]

Fall Boating Gear Tips

Fall Boating Gear Tips

Tom Keer 10/13/2016 Fall’s crisp air means that it’s no longer shorts and bikini weather.  Not only are the northerly winds cooler but the water temperatures are dropping, too.  Fall is my favorite boating season because I change my gear to make sure that I […]

Boat Battery Safety Tips

Boat Battery Safety Tips

Boat Battery Care

The 12 volt deep cycle battery is an important part of boating. Not only can it be a source for ignition of larger boat motors, but they are a handy source of power for the heavily relied on electric trolling motor which lets you move stealthily to locate actively feeding fish.

But a boat battery is to be respected. One local angler took out his boat for the first time early this spring, lowered his trolling motor in the water, and stepped on the power pedal. He was met with a nerve-rattling explosion that sounded “like a shotgun” that fortunately was contained in the boat’s battery compartment.

Here are just a few boat safety tips for batteries.

Safety Glasses. Whenever working on a boat battery connection, wear safety glasses. Period.

Safety Cover. Invest in a boat battery box. This heavy duty plastic containment keeps contents dry and secure for carrying and transporting.

Hot Connections. Immediately after heavy trolling motor use, the wing nuts or other connectors may be hot. Allow to cool for a few minutes before disconnecting for the return trailer ride.

Charge It. Follow the directions and connect carefully to the recharger soon after use. A slow charge is recommended.

Corrosion Awareness. Watch for any corrosion to appear around the terminals. Baking soda, water, and a brush will clean and help keep a good connection.

Battery Age. Keep track of the months of usage of the boat battery. Often there is a date or punch out reference on the top. When a battery nears the end of its lifespan, just go ahead and return it for recycling and get a fresh one. It may save you from needing a tow back to shore.

As handy as this power source is, it can be dangerous. Be sure to read all boat battery instructions carefully and go down the rest of your boating safety checklist, so you can enjoy many safe trips in your boat. And of course, don’t forget to make sure your boat registration is up to date!


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Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb

Andy Whitcomb is a columnist, outdoor humorist, and stressed-out Dad. He says there are “people who fish”… and there are “fishermen”.  One of the few things he knows is that he is a “fisherman”…  To the point it could be classified as borderline illness.  Sharing this obsession is rewarding, therapeutic. He likes to encourage people to “stop and smell the crappie.”  Enjoys catching fish, but gets a greater thrill out of helping someone else hook up.

Born in Florida, but raised on the banks of Oklahoma farm ponds. Now relocated to western Pennsylvania. He has fished, worked, lived all around the US.  He has a B.S. in Zoology from Oklahoma State as well…

And he met his wife while electrofishing. He has been contributing weekly to www.takemefishing.org since 2011.   

10 Tackle Tips for Safe Fishing

10 Tackle Tips for Safe Fishing

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