Around 55 million Americans go fishing at least once a year. This figure increases every year with more and more people discovering the huge benefits of fishing.
It’s relaxing and encourages you to get outdoors and in nature. Fishing is also an essential survival skill and a great way to not pay for dinner.
But if you’re new to fishing, having the right equipment can make or break the experience. What you need is a simple fishing checklist with all the fishing essentials on it.
Lucky for you, this complete guide has exactly that! Read on to discover more.
Fishing License and Evidence of Fees Paid
Before going fishing for the first time, you should ensure you have the proper documentation. Most anglers need a state fishing license and if you are catching fish abroad then you might need an international one.
Keep it with you (or a copy, at least) whenever you are out fishing so you don’t run into any trouble.
Fishing Rods, Reels, and Lines
Aside from your fishing license, a fishing rod is the most important item on any fishing checklist. Unless you plan on learning how to catch fish with your hands or a spear, that is!
Rods and reels are interchangeable terms. And there are many different types of rods, including:
- Spinning rods
- Baitcasting rods
- Surf rods
- Telescopic rods
- Overhead rods
- Fly rods
- Action rods
The best rod for you will depend on personal preference, style of fishing, and your level. But most anglers (beginners, in particular) can’t go wrong with a spinning rod. It’s the most common type and is all-purpose.
There are three main materials used for fishing lines. These are:
Wire fishing and fly fishing lines are also available but they are less common. Most anglers opt for monofilament lines as they are easy to source, affordable, and absorb tension well.
Fishing Hooks, Jigs, Sinkers, and Baits
Now you have your rod, you will need a hook to go on the end of your line to catch your fish. The size of the hook will depend on the sizes and types of fish you want to catch.
You should also attach a bait to the hook to attract your fish. It can be a manmade object like a small plastic fish or a bug like a worm. Again, the best type of bait will depend on the fish you want to catch.
Fishing “jigs” are a cross between a hook and bait. They are colorful and move around in the water to fool the fish into thinking that it’s prey.
If you want to invest in all the best fishing gear, then it won’t hurt to get some “sinkers” too. These are small weights you can attach to the bottom of your line to help the hook sink into the water.
Fishing Tackle (Equipment) Box
You might have the best fishing equipment, but where are you going to store it? In a tackle box!
Fishing tackle is a common phrase for fishing equipment. Most anglers opt for a large, durable one to keep saltwater away from the gear so rust doesn’t set in.
Choose a box that will help you keep small objects, like bait and hooks, organized. One with a slot for your rod will come in handy when you’re trying to carry all your gear from your car to the water, too.
Fishing Knife and Multitool
You might spend hours sitting on a riverbank without so much as a bite. But in the lucky event that you catch a beast, you’ll need to know what to do with it. An angling buddy can show you how to fillet a fish but you should have your own knife so you can do it yourself.
Choose a rust-resistant, durable knife with a short, hard blade. This will help you prise the meat away from the fish bones.
Fish Identification Manual
There’s no shame in not knowing all the different types of fish if you’re new to the hobby. Everyone has to start somewhere. But you should invest in a fish identification book that is relevant to the area you are fishing in.
After a few months, you’ll know all the different types of axolotls, white fish, river fish, and more!
Appropriate Fishing Clothing
If you don’t know what to wear while fishing, you could end up getting very cold and wet. Prepare to sit out for hours by wearing lots of layers made from sweat-wicking fabrics. You will need waders and boots if you want to fish while standing on the river bed as opposed to sitting on the banks.
Fishing vests might not win you any fashion awards, but they are very practical. All the pockets will keep your baits and hooks organized and dry. It will stop you from having to go back to your tackle box all the time to get more.
Outdoor Protection and Safety Gear
Sitting outside for hours means that you are exposing yourself to the natural elements. Pack sunscreen, a sun hat, sunglasses, and insect repellent when fishing in warm weather. Keeping a first aid kit in your tackle box is a good idea too.
Advanced Fishing Equipment
When you become adept at fishing, you may want to invest in some advanced equipment to improve your chances of a catch. High-tech gear might include:
- Fishfinder device
- Weather radio
- Water maps
These devices will help you take a lot of the guesswork out of fishing.
Use This Fishing Checklist to Hook Your Catch
Fishing is a pastime that demands a lot of gear but offers great rewards. And now you have this fishing checklist, you won’t have to worry about gear and can concentrate on hooking your lunch.
Fishing is a great skill and a healthy, outdoorsy hobby. Learn about other healthy hobbies and sports by browsing the health articles on our website!