Integrated Family Community Services 3370 South Irving Street, Englewood, CO 80110-1816 Ph: 303-789-0501

Planning the Perfect Fishing Trip for Your Family

Fishing trips can be heaven for those who like to fish, and even if you don’t, you’ll enjoy time in nature, time on the water, and peace. If you haven’t done much camping, it’s important to know what to buy, how to pack it, and where to store it.

Protective Gear

Whether you’re renting a boat or fishing from shore, you’re going to need some protective gear. Find an unscented, high SPF sunscreen that can be sprayed on and test drive it before you get on the road to make sure that everyone in your clan can tolerate it. Spray sunscreen works best while on the water because the reflected rays off the water can burn from below.

Make sure that everyone in the group has shoes that will shed water and dry quickly, waterproof gear for wading if necessary and a good sun hat with a brim. Baseball caps can work if sunscreen goes on the ears, but be sure to reapply. Burned ears hurt. Finally, invest in good sunglasses for everyone and consider adding strings so your little ones can keep them around their necks rather than setting them down and losing them.

Camping Gear

If you’ve never camped before, gear can get pricey. Consider renting a fully stocked site and try camping in Utah State Parks to see what works and what doesn’t. Bring your own pillow and large, thin towels. Thick towels feel luxurious, but they don’t dry easily and can get stiff and “crunchy” when left to air dry.

Make sure everyone has one long-sleeved shirt, preferably with buttons down the front, that they can use to cover up and cool down. When the sun is hot, soak the shirt in water and put it on. As it dries, it will cool you. Finally, leave time in your schedule for a trip to the laundromat when you get home. Your camping clothes and towels will likely come home full of sand and grit, no matter how careful everyone is. Don’t put that in your washer at home.

Fishing Gear

Unless you’re hiring a boat, skip the tackle box and use a backpack to haul your fishing gear. Make sure to load a couple of heavy-duty trash bags so you have some water protection. A collapsible rod and reel that you can clip to the backpack will keep your hands free and allow you to maintain your balance as you hike along the shore. If you plan to wade in the water to fish, bring a salt shaker to sprinkle on leeches you may pick up. Sprinkle the leech thoroughly, then work the salt under the body until they drop off.

Wrap your hooks and other sharp objects in a small washcloth or handkerchief before securing it in a plastic case inside the backpack; if the case opens, you can save yourself some unpleasant pokes while looking for your gear!

Fish Prepping Gear

For your own sanity, choose a small plastic bin with a lid and pack some quality kitchen tools to manage the fish you choose to keep so you can easily gut, de-scale or skin, and fillet them. Pick up some biodegradable soap that you can safely toss when you’ve finished cleaning up. Consider packing smaller tubs inside your kitchen bin for quick wash-ups and storing your fish fillets before you put them over the fire. Unless you have access to dry ice at the site, bringing fish home may be tricky. Call ahead to check on your options for transporting fish flesh home. You can’t carry too many trash bags on this trip. Finally, don’t forget the hand sanitizer.

Privacy and Security

You’ll likely be on the road with your keys, wallet, and cell phone, and none of this stuff needs to go in the water. Look for a waterproof pouch that will hold what you need to carry. Fit this pouch into a bag you can wear around your neck or your waist. For example, a passport bag with a long string can easily fit over your head and be carried under your shirt. You can also carry these items in the inner pocket of a fishing vest, as long as the pocket zips and you keep it on.

Your fishing trip can be a blast if you have the right gear and don’t lose your phone and keys. Check the temperature in the area you plan to fish to make sure you’ve got the right clothes to stay warm and keep cool. Bring shoes that will dry quickly and don’t cheap out on the fish prepping supplies. Finally, pack a small collapsible shovel to bury offal on the campsite if allowed.

Tim Esterdahl

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