How to Plan a Fun & Successful Fishing Trip

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Going fishing isn’t just for avid anglers. Everyone should go fishing at least once. Here’s how to plan a fun and successful fishing trip.

A fishing trip is a great way to celebrate Father’s Day, have a bachelor party, and take a family vacation. Give it a try with these tips on knowing where to fish for a successful fishing trip, and how to plan a fun fishing trip with kids.

Fish according to the weather conditions.

fishing according to weather conditions

Because we have other commitments we usually don’t get to grab our fishing rods when the weather is perfect for fishing, so it’s a good idea to have a couple of fishing spots in mind where we are successful for differing weather conditions.

Fishing guide Nick Heid at Advnture recommends checking:

  • today’s weather forecast
  • wind and rain forecasts
  • tides, if applicable
  • surf height if surf fishing
  • water temperature
  • sky conditions
  • time of day
  • season

Heid says, “On brighter days with clear water, brightly-colored baits tend to do better. On cloudier days, go with a more neutral-colored bait or lure, or a smellier bait if you’re targeting catfish, carp and similar species.”

As any avid angler knows, fishing at dusk or dawn is the best time, especially when the other conditions are great, because because fish like to feed when the light changes.

Dress according to the weather conditions, and bring other clothes you may need if the conditions change while you’re at your fishing spot. Think layers.

How to find the most successful fishing spots before you leave home.

Checking out fishing forums online for the area you’re planning on visiting is a good idea, too.

How to find the best fishing spots in the area.

fishing store or bait shop

Once you’ve picked the area where you want to fish, stop by the local bait shop or fishing store and ask the owner or other local anglers where would be the best place to go for the species of fish you’re wanting. They’ll also be able to tell you things you may not have considered, such as where there’s a fishing hole close enough for kids to walk.

Yes, take your phone.

phone gps

Make sure your phone is fully charged before you leave the house, and have a reliable GPS app to help you get to your fishing spot and assist if you get lost.

Even if your fishing trip is taking out of cell service, you may need the flashlight and other apps in an emergency.

How much comfort do you need?

If you’re just fishing for an hour or so, you don’t need to consider comfort as much as if you’re going for the day or even camping overnight. If you have children with you, there’s an extra consideration for comfort.

Set up camp.

father son fishing trip

If you’re spending time at your fishing spot, building a safe firepit could be a consideration, depending on the weather. You’ll need a hatchet and portable shovel. A bucket to pour water over the fire is a good idea and doubles as a bait/fish holder. There’s nothing like bonding over a bonfire. It’s what we call Good Times Glue for close relationships.

Seating, cooler with food, thermos of coffee & other beverages, something to hold your fishing rod or keep it in place, and other entertainment such as playing cards, horseshoes or other enjoyable distractions if the fish aren’t biting.

Don’t rely on eating fish. Every fishing trip is different, and there’s always the chance that you don’t catch anything. Bring enough food for your trip just in case.

If you’re staying overnight, you’ll need your usual camping equipment. Don’t forget to bring rope to suspend your food from a tree branch if you are in the woods. Remember to leave your campsite as you found it!

If you’re fishing with kids or other people who may be uncomfortable going to the bathroom in the woods, you may want to find a fishing spot close to a public restroom or take a portable toilet and a little tent.

You also want to be sure to take toilet paper where you want the comfort of the toilet tent or not!

Fishing with kids.

how to plan a fun and successful fishing trip

They need their own fishing rod.

When fishing with children, it’s more fun for them if they have their own rods*, at a size they can manage.

Our local library rents fishing rods, especially for children so they can give it a try. Most areas don’t require a fishing license for kids, either.

Don’t expect them to sit and watch you fish. Or even to sit and watch their own fishing rod the whole time. Bring something that holds their rod for them* when they need a break.

For a true bonding experience, don’t fish yourself. Fish with them, and then play with them when they need a break. Bring a frisbee or something active.

Bring a picnic. Take eating to the next level of fun.

father and son fishing

Kids need something to do besides fishing.

bait slingshot

You will need to bring something for them to do when they take a break from fishing. (Not too exciting like a hand-held video game which may fall in the water.) Maybe a book, LEGOs or digging equipment if you’re on the shore. Something age appropriate.

Older kids will enjoy using a bait slingshot. Especially great if they have to sit still in a boat, it’s something active they can do. Encourage them to aim for the float or bobber to help with fishing. And be sure to bring LOTS of bait!

Kids need to fish where there’s lots of bites.

little kids should go fishing for little fish

Fish somewhere that you know you’ll get LOTS of bites. If your children are small, it’s better to fish for small fish that they can handle, even if they aren’t edible. Our kids loved fishing for sunfish. They learn about catch and release, and have a blast catching one fish after the other.

Take them fishing with nets, too. We went ling fishing in the spring at a creek near their grandmother’s house just at dusk. Yes, their boots will overflow with ice cold water, and they will get wet. Bring a change of footwear and at least a blanket, if not a change of clothes. They can eat ling, which is exciting for them. (See eHow’s How to Cook Ling Fish.)

Take younger kids fishing for a good time, but a short time. If it’s not interesting, they may not want to try it again when they’re older and can learn how to cast better.

Want more? See our other fishing articles.

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How to Plan a Fun & Successful Fishing TripHow to Plan a Fun & Successful Fishing TripHow to Plan a Fun & Successful Fishing Trip