Planning a Fishing Trip

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Consider Tackle, Lures, Technique, and Topography

Gathering information and the right equipment beforehand makes fishing trips successful.

Preparation for a fishing trip requires more than putting a couple of rods in the back seat and stopping by the bait store for a tub of nightcrawlers. The angler who is getting ready for a major fishing expedition, or just a day on a nearby lake or river, will find that thorough planning results in a larger catch.

Depth charts and Waypoints

Anglers should consult maps to become familiar with the shape and size of a body of water. These indicate boat launches, no-wake zones, limited horsepower areas, and islands. Depth charts show channels and shallow areas. These resources allow fishermen to approach the water with an idea of where and how they will access the fishing areas. Online research can also yield information about campgrounds, parks, and other attractions near the fishing destination. DeLorme offers an excellent series of atlases with detailed information. Software such as Andren’s LoranGPS and Garmin’s BlueChart allow anglers to organize collections of GPS waypoints into lists and maps.

Fishing Reports

Fishing reports are available for nearly every fishable body of water. Searching the internet will yield weekly, or even daily, reports of what species of fish are being caught in which water on what types of bait. Libraries yield piles of outdoor magazines containing articles on all types of fishing and countless fishing destinations.

Scouting the Waters

If possible, the angler should visit the lake or river for a fact-finding session before the fishing trip. This is the time to walk along the bank, noting water color, temperature, vegetation, and insect and aquatic life. It’s a good bet that bass will bite on crawfish lures if the little crustaceans are scuttling about the river bed. When swirling water indicates surface feeding largemouth, it’s time to break out the bass bugs. Are the launch areas very busy? Fishermen should plan to fish in other parts of the lake, and allow extra time to reach these spots by boat. Secluded, less frequented areas are less likely to be heavily pressured by other anglers.

Lures and Presentations

Most anglers are amiable folk who are happy to talk about their favorite pastime, although a fisherman engaged in landing a whopper probably prefers to chat later. However, casual conversations with others can reveal a lot about the type of lures and presentations that work best for that location. Visitors can gather information by observing the types of lures that dangle from other fishermen’s rods. Are they spoons and spinners, or plastic worms? How does this information compare to the notes from fishing reports and articles? There is great satisfaction in arriving at the fishing destination properly outfitted with the right tackle.

Shop for Tackle Before the Trip

After researching the body of water, the fishing reports, articles on technique, and the sage advice of other fishermen, it’s time to head to the store. Going after muskie with bluegill tackle is like swinging a drinking straw at a baseball. Outfitting for a fishing trip includes getting rods and lines of the right size and weight. Understanding the tackle and lure requirements for the type of fishing allows the angler to shop for the best prices on equipment before leaving home.

Pack Up and Go

After days or weeks of planning, the angler can pack up and take off for the fishing destination. Equipped with the right combination of tackle and information, fishermen are well-prepared for fishing adventures and a good catch.


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