Fishing is a gear-intensive pursuit. You have to bring rods, reels, lures, hooks, line, weights and a million other things each time you head to the water. But what about all the other gear that makes sense to bring, but isn’t really “fishing gear?” Do you opt for packing light, or do you splurge?
Never fear! We’ve got you covered. Check out this list of eight items that are worth the extra cash and the extra weight on your boat or inside your backpack. Each will make your time on the water safer and more enjoyable. And be sure to let us know in the comments if we’ve missed anything.
Many anglers consider polarized sunglasses to be as much a part of their tackle as wide-gap hooks and spinnerbaits are, and rightly so. But if you don’t already bring a good pair of polarized glasses, you should start doing so immediately. Polarized lenses make it much easier to see your quarry swimming below the surface, as well as things like laydowns, baitfish and submerged weed beds.
Sometimes the action gets better as the rain starts to fall, and a good poncho (or even better, a full rain suit) can allow you to keep fishing during inclement weather. At the very least, stash a disposable emergency poncho in your bag for emergencies.
First Aid Kit
Fishing is hazardous, involving injury-inducing items like hooks, line cutters and, in some cases, toothy fish. Carrying a first aid kit with you to deal with minor injuries just makes good sense. If you fish from a boat, you probably have enough space to take a deluxe, top-of-the-line first aid kit, but bank anglers are better served by purchasing (or compiling) an efficient, no-frills kit to save space.
It’s simple: comfort equals concentration, and concentration equals fishing success. Water and snacks can make a big difference in your mood and help keep your time on the water fun. Because your hands will be dirty, it’s best to opt for things that you can eat without touching them, like granola bars. And speaking of your hands being dirty…
I know, we’re anglers. We get dirty. It’s part of the appeal. But let’s be smart about this, folks. Virtually everything you touch while you are out in the boat or walking along the bank is coated in bacteria and assorted other cooties. To keep those germs from doing serious serious harm, you need to sanitize your hands regularly. Try to rinse any gunk off of your hands before applying the sanitizer, as most such products don’t work in the presence of organic debris. Also make sure that there’s no sanitizer left on your hands if you plan on handling and releasing fish.
While it’s true that your grand pappy didn’t have a new-fangled cell phone to take fishin’ with him, and half of the reason many of us go fishing in the first place is to escape the information overload of the modern networked world. Having said that; a cell phone is an invaluable safety tool that you should bring on every trip. Besides, you can use your phone to take a photo of your new personal best.
Most of us probably have a pair of pliers and a screwdriver bouncing around in the boat or in our backpacks, but to repair those things that break you really want a full but compact toolkit, with all of the basic tools.
Aside from the serious health-related problems (cancer and blood-borne diseases) that sunblock and bug spray help prevent, they keep your skin from burning and hold the biting bugs at bay, so it’s wise to use them. Combo sprays will allow you to apply the products quickly and easily and get on with the fishing.