The Fishing Tournament Checklist for the Forgetful Fisherman

fishing tournament checklist, toolbox, fishing box

There’s nothing better than getting out on the water one morning for a little friendly fishing or a die-hard competition. Whether you come to win or just come to play, a bad day fishing is better than a good day doing anything else. Once the fishing tournament starts, it’s all about who gets to the best spots first, who came prepared, and, of course, a little luck. The one thing that could ruin a perfect day is forgetting something important or even something basic. So, here’s our version of a fishing tournament checklist.

1. Culling Clips

These suckers are easily overlooked and lost. It’s just such a pain when you have a winning fish ready and you have no idea where your clips are. We like the clips with foam buoys over the plastic ones. They’re easier to use, plus they can survive more than a few fishing tournaments. Writing the numbers on them with a permanent marker makes it easier both for you and for your fishing buddies.

2. Refreshments

A good day of fishing always includes your favorite refreshments. A fishing tournament can last all day. While the sunshine is great, it can also be exhausting. The more food and drinks you have, the longer you can stay out on the water. Our favorites are beef jerky, a sandwich or two, some packs of tuna, and some whole fruit. Pair these with your favorite fishing beverage (just don’t forget the water).

3. First Aid Kit

Now, this doesn’t have to be some fancy, decked out first aid kit, but it is important to at least have the basics. No matter how much of an expert fisherman you may be, we all make mistakes. And heck, most things are out of our control on the open water. Picture this, you’re having the best day of fishing of your life, you got to your favorite spot first, and you’ve got this fishing tournament in the bag. Now, your fishing partner catches you with a hook or you get finned while handling a fish. You don’t want to have to cut this trip short. With a first aid kit on deck, you’ll be able to tend to the wound without having to go back to shore prematurely.

fishing tournament, fishing

4. Life Jackets

It’s the law to have a personal flotation device on the boat for each passenger. Even if you can swim, it’s important to follow this rule. After all, the last thing you want is to get caught without life jackets. Not only could you face a ticket, but you would also have to forfeit the fishing tournament.  

5. Quality Pliers

Just the thought of forgetting your pliers makes you sick, doesn’t it? We all know someone who has accidentally left their pliers at home during a day of fishing. There’s nothing more annoying to forget. A quality pair of fishing pliers is always a good thing to keep handy. Better yet, keep a couple pairs handy, just in case you and your partner need them at the same time. This also helps to minimize the time that the fish is out of the water, which is always something to keep in mind.

6. Toilet Paper

Laugh all you want, but if you are a regular fisherman, you’ve been there. You’re out enjoying nature when nature calls. Sometimes it’s just unavoidable, and sadly there are no floating porta-pottys. If you haven’t been there before, just wait. It will happen. So, before you run out of the house, grab a roll of toilet paper and seal it in a bag. Hopefully, you won’t need it, but at least you’ll have it just in case.

Whether it’s your first fishing tournament or your 100th, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and leave something back on land. The last thing you want is to be reeling in your catch of the day and realize you don’t have what you need to make it count. We hope this checklist helps, but we know it doesn’t cover everything. So, we recommend making your own as well. You know what you need, and you know what you usually forget. Most importantly, have fun and stay safe.