How To Plan Your Next Family Fishing Adventure – Step By Step Guide

Fishing since ancient times has been a good source of income for many and has provided food for the countless human beings to help sustained life on land.

However, in recent times, fishing has become a recreational activity in which people are taking a penchant for.

Not only is fishing fun but also adventurous. This form of recreational activity can provide an adrenaline rush which is unlike any other.

In general, fishing may seem easy, all you have to do is catch a fish with a fishing rod, right? Sorry to pop the bubble but no, it isn't as easy as it sounds.

My Mega Guide on How to Plan a Fishing Adventure

Before you plan on going on a fishing trip, there are countless things that you will have to keep in mind before you head out.

Don't let my words overwhelm you because I will try my best to narrow down the things which are a must have before you go on a fishing trip.

I will be discussing all the details below in the article.

Get Necessary Gear

Gears are the most important things that you should think about before you head out to a fishing adventure.

This is due to the fact that if you are not prepared, you won't be able to get the desired fish that you have planned on getting.

There are probably hundreds of fishing gears available in the market for fishing, but it's unlikely you will need them all.

Some gears are designed specialized for fishing, but you won't be needing them now.

I will be stating a list of essential equipment which are a must-have when you are going to head out for a recreational fishing adventure.

1. Rod and Reel

Just like any other sport or hobby, you will be selecting from a wide variety of equipment available in the shop. These can be quite cheap and extremely expensive depending on your choice.

When you enter a shop, which sells fishing equipment you will see rods and reels which are said to be specially built for catching a particular type of fish.

My advice would be to avoid buying them. As you are a beginner, buying such Rod and Reel can be frustrating to use and expensive too.

Getting a Rod and Reel combination which can handle both bait fishing and lure fishing will be the key here.

As you are not sure what kind of fishing you are going to be doing once you start, therefore it is best to select one which is good enough in both types of fishing.

If I have to be more specific, then I would suggest you buying an "Ugly Stik GX2”. Funny name, right? Do not mistake it for its name though.

“Ugly Stik GX2” is a very capable rod which is very reasonably priced and provides you with durability which will last you multiple seasons.

“Ugly Stik GX2” is a medium action rod rated for 8lb to 20lb line. This allows you to catch multiple kinds of common species of fish found in many lakes and rivers.

Now let's talk about the reel that you are going to use. The reel is as important as the rod as this too will be going through a lot of stress as you will be pulling a fish out of the water.

There are three kinds of reel which are available in the market. Those kinds are “Close faced” or “Spincast Reels”, “Baitcasting Reels”," and "Open-Faced" or “Spinning Reel.”

Beginners are suggested to get “Closed face” reels as “Baitcasting" reels, and “Open-faced” reels are considered to be way too advanced for beginners.

2. Line

This is another most important thing. A strong line will increase your chances of reeling in a fish. If the line is weak, then the force at which the fish will be pulling will snap the line.

As fishing has gained such popularity, manufacturers have started to produce lines available in almost all kinds of materials and diameters.

If two lines are made from the same material, one has a larger diameter, and the other has a smaller diameter, the one with the larger diameter will be stronger.

Braided lines can be found available in the market and are known for being strong and thin, whereas fluorocarbon lines are known for being invisible underwater, with stretching capabilities and being abrasion resistant.

"Berkley Trilene XL" which is a monofilament 10lbs line, is a great line to begin with. This is known to be a great line used by beginners.

3. Tackle Box

Like any other toolbox, this will also change depending on the kind of personality you have and what type of fish you are planning to catch.

But there are some necessary items which must be present inside the tackle box. These items which I am about to discuss have been suggested by experts who are masters of the game.

The following tools are:

  • An Extra Line
    Fishing lines are made in such a manner which requires them to be strong, but this necessarily doesn't make them invincible. Which is why having an extra set of the line is a must-have inside the tackle box.
    The extra line that you are carrying must be as strong as your main line which you will be using. Your ability to reel a fish to shore or on a boat will depend a lot on the line which is being used to reel in a fish.
  • Lots of Hooks
    The tool is over nine thousand years old but yet still now it is being used in modern times. This tells you just how necessary and capable the thing is to help you catch a fish.
    There are three kinds of basic fish hooks available in the market which a beginner will need. These hooks are; "Baitholder," "Aberdeen," and "Circle."
    "Baitholder" is designed with two barbs on the shank, this is to help prevent the bait from sliding down on the bend side of the hook. When a worm is being used as a lure, this is a famous choice.
    "Aberdeen" is popular among fishers who are fishing for pan fishes such as perch and trouts. This is a J-shaped hook which you can easily remove from the fish.
    "Circle" is becoming popular among fishers as this kind of hook will almost never get stuck to a fish's gut of gills. If you are going to use live bait for fishing, this is going to be the hook which you will prefer.
  • Floaters
    Bobbers or sink detectors are another name which this little tool is known by. You will almost never find a beginner fisher out there who started without a floater.
    The tool helps you keep track of your bait when a fish bites on it, the floater will move or sink depending on the fishes pull.
    The most popular floater out there is the round bobber. The round bobber is nice to use for beginners as installing them to the line is rather easy. Just clip them to the line, and you are good to go.
    Round bobbers have their drawbacks too, as there is a limit to the depth your line can reach before sinking the bobber.
    There is one more kind of bobber which is known as the slip bobber. This allows your line to sink deeper in the water body. But the catch is that, it is hard to install onto the line.
    Corks tied to a piece of stick can always be used as this is the old school technique used by many in the past. On top of that, this won't cost you anything.
  • Weights
    You cannot possibly get your line to sink deep in the water relying solely on the weight of your hook and the bait which you would be using. You will need something more substantial.
    This is where the weights come in. The weights attached to the fishing rig compensates for the light weight of the lure or bait and the hook.
    Adding more weight to the fishing rig means the deeper the line can travel with the bait still attached on the hook.
    Weights are made from different kinds of materials thus come in different weights. Be sure to get plenty of weight and more importantly, the right weight that compliments your boobers.
    As heavyweights will sink the bobber and make your work a lot harder.
  • Lures
    Sooner or later, you will shift to using lures as this reduces cost and saves you the trouble to hunt for live baits. Lures can be very useful if used correctly. They come in different shapes, sizes, and colors but I will tell you about the most common lures being used by many.
    Soft plastic lures are quite popular among fishers. This kind of lure is used to catch bass fish. The most popular artificial bait in the soft plastic kind is the Yamamoto Senko. This is usually 5 inches in size and is pumpkin orange.
    Spinnerbaits are the second most popular and common kind in the bait world. This is preferred by a lot of fishers due to one simple reason, "IT WORKS." This type of bait is used mostly when visibility is low underwater.
    The spinning blade causes vibration in the water which helps the fish to find the bade and bite it. White Booyah spinnerbait weighing 3/8 oz is the best for beginners use.
    Topwater lure bait is used when fish are spotted eating on the surface of the water. This kind of lure is the best which gets the job done with ease. Whopper Ploper is one of the most popular topwater lures. The process of use for the tool is very easy for which it is advised to be used by beginners in similar situations.
  • Needle Nose Pliers
    This tool might not seem so important at first, but trust me here; you will need it. The tool is responsible for getting hooks out of a fish's mouth.
    The same job can be done by hand, right? True, it can be. But there will always be a chance that you will injure yourself while trying to get the hook out.
    You might be boating in the middle of a vast lake and hospital maybe miles away. That injury may cause infection as you won't be able to mend your wounds on time which may lead to other serious complications.
  • First Aid Kit
    A small first aid kit should always be in your tackle box as mentioned earlier, small injuries may have a devastating outcome. Anti-septic, some bandages, etc. should at least be present inside that First Aid box.
  • Sunscreen
    Fishing means being out in the sun all day long if you are fishing at the day. And as you are not used to being in the sun, it might cause skin problems. You may or may not take it. Including this in your tackle box is a piece of advice that is not necessary.
  • Knife
    This is another tool which will be doing multiple jobs for you. For example, cutting lines or hooks of a fish if it's too stuck if the fish is too big reeling it in and stabbing it before getting it out of the water, etc. The possible ways you can use this tool are endless.

4. Live Baits

The reason I didn't mention to take it in the tackle box is that the baits are going to be alive and you will need to carry them in a bucket or something with water if you are using fish.

IF you are planning to use live fish as bait, the best advice would be to get "Nightcrawlers” or “Shiners." These fish are excellent as baits.

Nightcrawlers are mainly used to attract panfish although every freshwater fish will eventually take the bait. Thread a whole nightcrawler in the casting line and wait for the line to sink to the bottom to attract catfish and use a bobber on the casting line to draw other fishes.

Shiners are mostly used to catch predator fishes like bass; bass cannot resist shiners for some odd reason. Take a whole shiner to tie it onto the casting line and wait for the bass to bite in.

5. Sonar Device

Ok! Now, this is a critical tool to have. Sonar can help locate fish in the area and give you an exact location where the fishes are.

If you go fishing without a sonar device 4 out of 10 times, you will be sitting with your bait or lure in the water without a single fish biting it. The reason is simple; the fish are just not there.

The advice here is to get a sonar which can sense deep in the water surface as with that amount of information at your disposal. Thus you will be able to catch more fishes.

6. A Bag

Now all you need is a proper waterproof bag to be perfectly geared up for the fishing adventure you are planning to go on.

Know Your Fish

Even though you are fully geared up, you won't be able to catch the desired fish if you have zero knowledge about the fish that you are planning to reel in.

Researching the fish you are planning to catch is as important as preparing for the gear that you are going to take.

Down below is a list of some of some of the most popular fishes that you are sure to encounter.

  • Sea Lamprey
    This kind of fish is parasitic fish which lives off the fluid of other fishes once they attach themselves to the host.
    This parasitic fish can reduce the growth of its host fish and can even kill if it stays attached for an extended period. A considerable effort is being placed by authorities to monitor the population of the fish and control it.
    Sea Lamprey larvae burrow in the sand where the water is quite and will stay inside the sand for 4-5 years.
    After reaching their adulthood, they will leave their sand homes and head out for large lakes and oceans to look for preys.
    This fish can be 14inches in size when they are little and can reach a maximum of 4 feet once they reach adulthood.
  • Lake Sturgeon
    Lake sturgeons are also known by their other name the Rock Sturgeon. The Sturgeon species have over 25 kinds in their family.
    The shape of this fish resembles that of an armorer torpedo. The Elongated spade-like snout has four sensory organ which helps Lake Sturgeons to locate preys hidden from sight.
    This freshwater trophy fish can be found in water bodies which have was oxygenated water and where the water is full of oxygen and minerals.
    New York state has three kinds of sturgeon species which can easily be found in its lakes and rivers.
    The Lake Sturgeon can reach a maximum length of 7ft with a minimum being 3 ft. Fishing for Sturgeons is strictly prohibited in many of the states in the US.
    This is due to the fact that many of the sturgeon species are listed under the endangered species list. Overfishing and loss of its natural habitats haves reduced the fish’s population which is why catching a Lake Sturgeon can land you in jail.
  • Bowfin
    Bowfins are relics from ancient times. This fish has been around for hundreds of years and is closely related to the gar in the infraclass.
    This species is often referred to as “Primitive Fishes” for retaining some of their ancestor’s characteristics even after evolving a great deal.
    An excellent ability for which the Bowfish has been around for so long is because of its ability to breath both on land and less oxygenated water. This ancient fish can reach sizes ranging between 18-34 inch.
    Clear Lakes and rivers are both suitable habitats for bowfish although bowfish can be found in weedy water too. You will have to look harder for them if you plan to catch one in water that has high vegetation.
  • Longnose Gar
    This is also known as the Needlenose gar for its long and pointy snout. The longnose gar is a primitive ray-finned fish which belongs to the Gar family.
    Gars have been around in this world from over 100 milion years, and they are still around today which makes them a living fossil.
    Longnose Gar can grow up to 4 feet long and can be found in waters with high vegetation. They will usually be hiding close to the shore.
  • Channel Catfish
    The Channel catfish can be found in considerable numbers in the USA. This species can reproduce fast which can be a problem for the ecosystem.
    The fishers in the USA catch about 8 million Channel Catfish each year from all the places they are available at, and yet their number is still growing.
    Channel Catfish can grow from 15-37 inch in size and can be found in all kinds of lakes and rivers. A large number of Channel Catfish can be found around lakes and river containing rocky or sandy bottoms.
  • Brown Bullhead
    Brown Bullhead just like Catfish can be found in huge numbers in the USA. Theie male and female will spend a lot of times near its offspring’s and will attack anyone close to them.
    This kind of fish belongs to the Lctaluridae family. The brown bullhead is the clan symbol for a native American group named the Ojibwa.
    This fish species can be found in any water surface which has a muddy bottom. These can grow from 8 to 21 inches in size.
  • Chinook Salmon
    King Salmon is another name that this giant salmon is known by. This is the largest species of salmon which can be found in the Pacific region.
    Chinook Salmon are native to the North Pacific Region and its rivers. This is one of the most sought-after catches by a sporting angler due to the high value for the fish.
    Salmon have great taste and contain high dietary nutritional content. This great fish in recent years have seen a drop in population as it is being overfished.
    Catching a salmon is not illegal, keep in mind to release the young salmon back in the water if you do get your hands on one
    Chinook Salmon can be found where the waters are really deep and can grow up to 48 inches in size.
  • Coho Salmon
    Another fish from the salmon family. This can also be found in the Pacific region and is native here just like the Chinook Salmon.
    Coho Salmon has all the qualities that a Chinook Salmon has, and the only difference that the Coho and the Chinook salmon have is the size.
    Coho are a lot smaller than Chinook Salmon. The Coho salmon can reach a maximum length of 33 inches which is 17 inches smaller than the Chinook.
    These Salmons can be found in deep waters of the North Pacific Region. Coho has not yet been listed as being endangered but will soon be if the overfishing doesn't stop.
  • BlueGill
    Bluegills are small fishes. Bluegills are called by multiple names, and the most popular is the sunfish.
    Sunfish occupies most of the rivers, ponds, and lakes in the US. Shallow waters are preferred by them although explorers have found bluegills in deep waters.
    Males of this species of fish are the most colorful among them. The female Blue gill will lay around sixty thousand eggs.
    Bluegills can be found all year long in all water body which is why you are sure to catch a couple of bluegills as soon as you start to fish.
    Bluegills can reach a maximum size of 10 inch in length. 5-6 inch bluegills are most common to find.
  • Rainbow Trout
    Rainbow trouts go by many names, and the most popular one is Steelhead. Rainbow touts are found in water which is cold.
    These trouts are usually found in the river and will be smaller in size compared to the ones found in lakes.
    Steelheads can grow a maximum of 33 inches in size if it is born and reached adulthood in a lake. The minimum length is 8inchs.
  • Brown Trout
    Brown trouts are native to Europe. Later on, the fish spread to places which had suitable habitats.
    Trouts, in general, are really difficult to catch because of their great senses but Brown Trout steals the crown here.
    Brown trouts are the most difficult to catch among the trout family. Brown trouts will mostly stay clear of sight and rarely fall for lures.
    Just like Rainbow Trouts, Brown Trouts too grow enormous lengths if they grow up in large rivers or lakes compared to the ones who grew in a stream.
    Brown Trouts can reach a size of maximum 30 inches if it lived in a large lake or river and a size of maximum 15 inch is reached if grown in a small stream. Brown trouts can be found in waterbody which is cold; it can be a lake, river or a little water stream.
  • Atlantic Salmon
    Atlantic salmon belongs in the Salmonidae family just like the Coho, and Chinook Salmons did.
    Atlantic salmon was native to the northern Atlantic Oceans and Rivers, and due to human introduction, Atlantic salmon can now also be found in the North Pacific side.
    This ocean fish now can be found in the lakes of New York state, this happened when they moved from Ocean to fresh water to spawn and got landlocked in a lake.
    And now after generations of spawning Atlantic Salmon which purely grew in fresh water exists.
    The fish can jump very high from water and will put up a great fight if its caught and is being reeled in.
    Atlantic salmon can reach lengths of 38 inch and can be found in well oxygenated water; it can be a river or a lake. Oceans are the original habitats of this fish.
    Atlantic Salmon are endangered due to being fished on an industrial scale. Many nations around the globe are trying their best to preserve this fish.
  • Brook Trout
    Brook trouts originally belong to the Salmonidae family but are named a trout due to its being purely freshwater fish.
    These trouts are native to Eastern North America and Canada, but in recent times, Brook Trouts can be found all over the North American Continent and Europe.
    The fish goes by multiple names, the most popular among the bunch is the Mud Trout. Mud trouts can be found in Small and medium-sized water body like ponds and small streams of water.
    This fish from the trout family can grow a maximum of 22in and a minimum of 8inch. Finding a fish which is 14-18inch in size is considered a great catch.
  • Lake Trout
    Mackinaw is another name that this mighty fish has. Lake trouts can be found in North America living in freshwater lakes.
    This kind of trout is a sought-after fish to catch among most of the anglers. Lake trout is a game fish and a source of food in the region.
    Lake Trouts thrives in cold deep water which is well oxygenated and grow from between 15-24 inch. 43inch monsters can also be found in deep waters in some of the lakes.
    Those 43inch monsters are very rare to find and even seeing one in your life is a considerable achievement.
  • Chain Pickerel
    Chain Pickerel felt under the Esocidae family who live in fresh water. The name "Chain Pickerel" comes from the chain like marking which the fish has on its body.
    The Northern Pikes and Chain Pickerel has similar looking body outline so do not be confused when you see them.
    This fish kind can be found in shallow or weedy water. Small ponds, lakes, and water streams are suitable to find the species of fish.
    15-20 inches is the average length reached by this fish and the maximum length grown by this fish is staggering 30inch long.
  • Northern Pike
    Pike is another name that this great fish goes by. Northern Pikes are predator fish which can be found in most water of the North American region.
    This predatory fish thrives where the water levels are low, and the water visibility is cloudy. The fish can also be found in areas of lakes where the water level is low.
    Northern pikes aren’t known to reach humongous size. The length reached by this fish is 18-30 inches with the largest one ever caught being 52 inches.
  • Muskellunge
    Muskellunge are predators, and they are good at what they do. This is considered to be the largest game fish in the US.
    This gem of a fish can be found in lakes which are large and cold, and reach a size of 6 feet in length.
  • Pumpkinseed
    This is the kind of fish which is likely to be your first catch. Pumpkinseed can be found in huge numbers.
    Get a worm as a bait, tie it to a line, and you are sure to catch a pumpkinseed at some point. Catching this fish is that easy.
    Some anglers use pumpkinseed as bait as the fish can be caught easily and predatory fish loves feeding on them.
    Bluegill and pumpkinseed are similar; some will say almost identical. The only difference these fishes have is the opercle flap that the pumpkinseed has, and the bluegill lacks.
    This fish can be found in most lakes and ponds near the shallow region of the water body and will grow a maximum of 11 inches in length. The average length is between 4-6 inches.
  • Rock Bass
    Rock bass is identified by its goggled red eyes which cannot be found in another bass. The red-eyed devil is another name given to it by locals of some areas.
    This fish is said to be native to North America although evidence cannot be provided to prove this point.
    Aggressive, fighter and fast are some of the characteristics the fish has. Catching this fish is can be somewhat tricky if you are not familiar with the catching process.
    The preferred habitat of this fish is the underwater rocky areas where they can hide and feed on other fish.
    If you get your hands on a 13 inches Rock Bass, be sure to take a picture as this is a scarce sight to see. Usually, 5-10 inch ones can be found with ease.
  • Black Crappie
    This species is also a kind of bass. The other name that this fish goes by is the calico bass.
    Catching this fish during the summer is rather difficult as they will dive deep in the water surface. The best time to find them is after their breeding season is over.
    Quite areas of water are their desired choice for habitat. Small ripples in water can frighten them. It can grow a couple of inches larger than a rock bass.
  • Largemouth Bass
    This fish is one of those fish that an angler will want to catch in their season. This fish is an excellent predatory who is skilled in hiding.
    Young Bass will feed on zooplankton and larvae after reaching about 2inches in size, they will start hunting for Small fish.
    The largemouth bass is known for its super aggressive nature; they will attack anything and everything near them.
    The preferred habitat of these apex predators is where the water vegetation is dense. Five pounds in weight is thought to be good catch among anglers, and the length should be around 12-18inch.
  • Smallmouth Bass
    Smallmouth bass is another treasure for anglers in the sports fishing world. Just like its relative the largemouth bass.
    The abundance of this fish is higher in some water body and low in some, but one thing can be said for sure that it will be present in most of the places.
    Habitats of this desirable sports fish range from cold waters of rivers and water streams to deep clean lakes.
    Highest recorded length reached by these fish is 25inches and the natural range being 10-16inches.
  • Walleye
    The fish is named after its particular pigment layer which is in its eyes. This pigment layer allows the fish to see clearly in dark water.
    Due to the fish being sensitive to light, the Walleye prefer to stay in deep water when it gets dark outside, only then will you find this fish near the surface.
    This popular freshwater gamefish belongs to the Perch family and is the largest member of it; they grow about 10-19 inches in length and weights close to 3 pounds.
    In deep lakes where food is not an issue, this fish is said to reach more than 26 inches in length, although finding one that big is difficult.
  • Yellow Perch
    This gem of a fish can be found on the Northeast side of the North American continent although there have been sightings in Europe and other places where there is slow flowing water.
    High water vegetation is the desired habitat of these fish, it can be a lake or a pond. The fish are said to be 8-10inches in size.
  • White Perch
    Gravels and muddy bottoms of lakes which has warm water is the location of choice of these fish.
    Just like Yellow Perch, white perch too reach the same length.

Final Preparations Not To Forget

Now that you have known about the necessary gear and the basic information of some of the most popular fishes let me give you some tips before you head out to your fishing vacation.

Research on The Area

Doing a little research on the area that you are planning to visit is always good for everyone. There are loads of websites and forums which will tell you everything you will need to know about the place.

On top of that, these websites and forums will display all the baits you can use to fish your desired fish and how those baits can be used too.

An idea of the fishes available in the nearby waterbodies should also be shown on those websites.

So, before you head out, learn as much as you can about the place that you are going to.

Chose a Guided Trip 

Usually, guided tours are better if not the best for beginners. Fishing alone is also an option but should only be selected by those who have been to the particular place a number of times and knows everything about the place.

Guides have knowledge on how to make their clients day productive. They will guide you to places where you can find your desired fish.

Even if you don't have a particular choice, no worries, they will take you places where you can catch multiple kinds of fishes.

If you prefer to go on a solo adventure, the advice here would be to take a guided tour once or twice and get to know the place and all other details.

Once you have familiarized yourself, head out on your own. Getting good catches on a solo fishing trip is one of the most satisfying things. Be good at what you are heading out for, and you will get this feeling sooner or later in life.

Choosing a Guide

Do not select the first person that comes in front of you offering his services as a guide. Take some time talking to your resident manager and local bait shops.

Names of popular guides will start to pop up. After you have 4-5 names, do some digging on their records and their experience being a guide.

Once you start doing that you will begin to realize that each guide has something that they specialize in.

Chose the once whose specialties fit your desired motives on coming to fish in the first place.

No matter what that guide specializes in you must make sure that the guide you are choosing is a good captain as he will be responsible for moving you around on the water.

Follow The Fishing Regulations

Fishing regulations are something that you should always be sure about before you start fishing in a particular area.

This is because every area which will allow you to fish will have some sort of regulations that they will be using to make sure the lakes are not overfished.

These fishing regulations are maintained seriously by the authority and breaking these regulations might get you in deep trouble.

The fishing regulation should also be followed due to ethical reason. There are endangered species which are going extinct due to overfishing and it is our duty to make sure the endangered spices of fish get to thrive again.

Just like any other sport or recreational activity, these set of rules draws a line for people. Crossing the border will never be taken lightly.

"Having a Fishing license," this is the one rule that is followed by most places. This license helps maintain the number of people able to fish in those areas.

Your guide will inform you about all the rules and regulations but still just to be on the safe side do some digging on your own.

Final Thoughts

The only thing left unsaid is "Best of Luck." Fishing is a great way to get some alone time with nature and to get relaxed from the hectic life that we all live.

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