For some anglers, a guided fishing trip is an opportunity of a lifetime. Carefully researching and planning the trip for months or even years, saving hundreds or thousands of dollars for the excursion, organizing friends to come along, and spending even more money on gear. With all this work comes the expectation that the experience will be perfect. Of course, the fish may not bite with even the most experienced guide at your side, but when devoting so much time, effort, and money to the trip, you want everything to be as close to perfect as possible.
Unfortunately, some anglers can become their own worst enemies by skipping some important details. All your careful planning when booking the trip won’t mean much if you aren’t fully prepared when you cast your first line. Here are some tips to help when preparing for your guided fishing trip:
Get Off the Couch!
Though fishing may not sound as physically demanding as some sports, being in shape for the type of trip you’ve planned is important. If you’re planning a guided trip with the hopes of catching something bigger than you normally would, you better be physically fit to do battle with the mighty fish (they don’t put fighting chairs on sportfishing boats because they look cool). Are you going fly fishing in the backcountry? You’ll likely be on your feet the entire time and hiking in with a full pack. Furthermore, if you live at a low altitude and travel to a higher elevation for your trip, your lungs will definitely notice the difference. Getting into shape before your trip is essential. Just taking a brisk walk every evening the month before your vacation is a great start and will help your overall fitness.
Plan for Transporting Your Gear
Many fishing guides and outfitters will provide rods and terminal gear as part of the trip (and beware of the ones that don’t …). However, if you want to bring your own rod and you are flying to your destination, you’ll need to pack it in a TSA-approved, telescoping rod case, such as ones offered by Cabelas and Plano to ensure it arrives in the same number of pieces you started with. And because it is odd-shaped, be sure to allow yourself a few extra minutes at the airport for it to be available at the baggage claim.
Pack for the Location
Your destination and the time of year will determine what and how you pack. For example, if you’re fishing northern Wisconsin in October, you’ll need to pack for cold evenings … or even snow. An offshore trip to the Gulf Coast means moisture wicking gear and sunscreen. Finally, if you’re hiking in to the perfect fishing spot, be sure you have good, broken-in boots (new ones may look cool but will likely hurt like hell).
Are you a land-lubbing angler booking an offshore trip for the first time? Pack a motion sickness remedy such as Dramamine with you. Take it the night before and then as often as directed thereafter. There’s no use in trying to be a hero here. Fish respond well to a nice chum slick but leave that to the mate – he has better bait than last nights dinner.
Want a few more tips on planning a fishing trip? Check out our “How to plan a guided fishing trip”.