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What NOT to do on a fishing trip

A great day on the water can be ruined by one thing going wrong.
Whether you’re fishing alone or in a group it’s best to remember what to do and what not to do. Below are some tips on what not to do based on either personal experience or hearing other people’s stories. Some of these may seem like common sense but sometimes the excitement of a fishing trip could make a person forget something simple.

Don’t forget to scope a new spot. Make sure you know about the lake or fishing hole you’re going to before getting out there. The last thing you want to do is bring the wrong equipment to fish with.

Don’t forget to tell someone where you’re going. This is especially important if you’re going alone. Someone has to know where you are and around what time you’ll be back in case something happens. They should be able to contact you (just like you should be able to contact them) if there is an emergency. This means either putting your cell in a sealable plastic bag or getting a junky cell to use on the water.

Don’t forget to check weather reports. You need to know if it’s going to be raining or clear and from which direction the wind is blowing if you want a successful trip. If it’s supposed to rain, bring your rain gear. It’s better to have extra stuff just in case than to be caught out in the rain with no rain jacket. It’s also good to know how strong the winds are so you know what you’ll be dealing with on your boat or on the dock.

Don’t try to catch bigger than your boat. If you’re in a 10 foot boot don’t try catching a shark or tuna (if you live in an area with these massive fish). A fish bigger than your boat might make you capsize and put you in a lot of danger.

Don’t forget to pack snacks. This is especially important if you know you’re going out all day. Bring a lunch as well as other things to munch on during the day. Even though fishing is considered by some to be a leisure activity we know it’s more than just sitting in a boat. You need to keep your energy level up in order to reel in the big one.

Don’t ignore warning signs of bad weather. If it looks like there’s going to be a big storm coming in don’t ignore the visible signs. Get off the water if you hear thunder, see lightening, or experience high winds and high waves. Always take into consideration what your boat can handle and what you can handle in bad weather.

Don’t fish when injured or sick. When you’re dealing with a cold or an injury while fishing, it will put a damper on any fishing trip. This is especially true if that injury is a cut on your hands or painful blisters on your feet. You definitely don’t want to be drowsy from cold medicines when you’re fishing because you could make a mistake that costs you a trophy fish.

Don’t forget to take stock of your gear. Make sure you’ve got all the tackle you may need, your rods, nets, bait, other tools, and either a compass or GPS in case you get lost as well as anything else you’ll need. Even if you don’t burn easily take along sunscreen and wear sunglasses. A good day fishing can turn miserable if you can’t see what you’re doing or are too sunburned to move the next day. Remember to bring pliers for helping to release the fish. You don’t want to use bare hands when dealing with a wiggling fish that has a sharp hook that needs to come out.

Don’t fish to drink. It’s all right to have a beer (depending on state laws about operating a boat with alcohol in your system as well as age restrictions) but don’t drink enough to become impaired. You might cause damage to your boat or self which may result in you not being able to fish again.

Fishing is about going out and having fun but you have to be safe on the water. The best fishing trips can turn sour if you’re forgotten something important. What are your worst experiences on the water and what tips would you give to prevent it?