Florida Fishing Checklist
If you’ve been living in the Florida area long enough, chances are you’ve been on quite a few fishing trips. Southwest Florida has some of the best fishing spots around and the beautiful year-round weather offers plenty of opportunity. But remember: one of the key factors of having a successful fishing day is being prepared. The supplies and tasks needed will vary depending on the type of fishing, but start with this basic Florida Fishing Checklist before you take off.
1. Check for Working Rods & Reels
Don’t get all the way to your fishing spot just to realize your equipment isn’t working properly. Before you leave, always check your rods and reels to make sure they’re functioning correctly. Also, inspect the line to see if it’s tangled or knotted and to see that it’s strong enough for the fish you’re planning to catch.
2. Bring Your Fishing License & Research Regulations
Know your local fishing laws! Nothing can ruin a fishing trip like a hefty fine. Check to make sure your license is up-to-date and that it’s valid in the area you’re fishing in. Also, check to see that the areas you’re visiting are legal fishing spots. You’ll also want to research any out-of-season or restricted fish or any regulated species.
3. Pack a Well-Equipped Tackle Box
The best and most prepared tackle box is one that reflects the type of fishing you plan to do. Bait and tackle will be very different depending on what you plan to catch – there is no “one size fits all.” It’s usually best to buy live bait the day of and be mindful of where it’s stored. While it’s important to pack light, it’s also important to have any tackle you might need!
4. Get to Know the Boat & Set Guidelines
If you’re fishing from aboard a boat, it’s important to be familiar with the layout and to decide from the start who the “captain” should be. Whether you’re going with friends or family or renting or own a boat, know who to go to should any problems arise. Make sure the boat is prepped with life jackets and permits and that you know where everything is.
5. Check the Forecast for the Weather & Tides
It’s always important to know the weather when fishing, especially when deep sea fishing. Before your trip, check the weather to ensure you’re not surprised by any thunder or lightning while out on the water. For optimal fishing success, follow the local wind speed and tidal movements as the trip approaches.
6. Address Any Safety Needs
If you’re taking a boat, it’s essential that the vessel is overly prepared just in case an emergency occurs. Do a thorough inspection of the boat and know the local contacts should you run into any trouble. Check to make sure all the location and emergency services on the boat are functioning correctly.
7. Bring Sunscreen & Protective Attire
No matter where you are fishing, odds are you will be exposed to long hours of sun. Try to wear thin, covering layers and bring things such as hats, protective sunglasses, and swimsuit cover-ups. Sunscreen is a must-have and should be reapplied often! Lastly, sunglasses that are polarized are optimal.
8. Pack Extra Water & Snacks
One of the most important things to bring on a fishing trip in Florida (especially if going out on a boat) is fresh, clean water. Bring enough for all of the people present and pack extra – you’ll be happier for it! If you have room, packing a separate cooler to keep water and snacks in is also a good idea.
There are plenty of details when it comes to creating a successful Florida fishing trip, but these eight things should get you headed in the right direction. For the best tips on fishing trips, just ask local experienced fishermen in the area. Good luck on your next trip!