We talk a lot about “essential items” that every angler needs and they mostly include things like rods, reels, line, flies or something related to the core of fishing. There are a lot of things the angler really needs in order to have a comfortable and pleasant experience, yet those items never seem to make the list. So I have decided to make my own, and this will include some items you may not even know you need or thought it might not be as essential as you once thought. You are going to need to have proper protection from the elements, you are going to need to stay hydrated, and you need calories to keep you fueled. You have what you need to go fishing, you just need to make sure you have everything that keeps you fishing longer, and you can only do that if you are comfortable.
The sun is a monster. It will fry your skin to a nice reddish/purple hue that will leave you in a lot of pain and discomfort for quite some time. It will burn your eyes and hurt you to even look at the water, and the heat during the summer can be intense. Rain will leave you soaked and cold even on warm days because when the sun goes behind those clouds those temperatures drop. Those fall afternoons can be quite gray, windy, and very cold. Fish bite no matter what the weather is, so you need to be prepared. Get yourself a good pair of polarized sunglasses so you can see through the glare on the water and spot those fish. Grab a good sun mask like the ones made by Buff, and wear long-sleeved shirts that are rated to block out those harmful UV rays. Make sure you always have with you some kind of waterproof jacket, preferably one that will keep you warm as well. On a hot day when temps are over 100 it may not matter as much being wet, but on a spring or fall day when that cold rain falls you are going to wish you had a warm coat. You are going to be going outside all day, so be prepared for that, the weatherman is not always accurate so you need to be a step ahead with proper clothing and protection. There is no such thing as bad weather, just bad gear.
I cannot stress how important staying hydrated is when you are out on the water all day. Take care of yourself, you only get one life. You need to make sure you are taking in water, and I mean water. Not flavored water, not some fancy vitamin water, just good clean and natural water. I have a hard time remembering to drink water when I am out fishing because I get so focused on the task at hand. I later then wonder why I have a horrible headache, I am tired, and my mouth is drier than Oscar Wilde. If you have that problem like me, set alarms on your phone to remind you to drink water, I have to. Carrying water is a pain in the butt, and since you are already ON water that is often very clean, get yourself a water bottle with a filter or some way to filter water. This way you aren’t having to carry out water which is heavy and cumbersome. It is also kind of neat to be able to drink the water you are fishing, makes it mean more to me at least. If its particularity dry out, you may feel the need to drink more water than you need so having some kind of chewing gum or hard candy to keep you salivating so you can tell better when you are actually thirsty. That is another thing, you do not need a specific amount of water per day, your body will tell you when it is thirsty and if you are thirsty you drink water. It really is that simple. Take care of yourself so you can stay out longer.
Now we are protected from the elements, and we are staying properly hydrated but we still need to make sure we have proper fuel in our bodies. Before you head out, eat a good and hearty breakfast. You are going to be expelling more energy than you think and you need to have those calories in order to keep you going. Bring food with you, it takes a little extra time to pack a lunch and some snacks but the more you bring, the less you have to go back home later for…so you can stay on the water. I like to bring granola bars, dried meats, and dried fruits. Most of us live sedentary lives so when we go out into the woods we are using a lot more energy than we normally do. This is why we get so hungry when we are out fishing, even if just on a boat all day. So walking and wading are going to make you burn even more so you need to eat more. Keep it light, but also make sure its got proper energy. Don’t bring out junk food and processed garbage like cakes, cookies, candy bars…keep it full of natural sugars and proteins. Get that proper energy to keep you going and you will not only last longer out in the field but you will feel all around better.
You only get one life, and you need to make sure you take care of it, especially whilst fishing. You need to take the extra care to make sure you are not only comfortable but you are healthy. Protect yourself from the elements, make sure you are staying hydrated properly WITH WATER, and make sure you keep that fuel tank fuel with the right foods. Fishing is a great way to be outside and can be a great means to be in shape as well if you are willing to take care of yourself. I have lost over 100 pounds fly fishing and eating right while fishing. It helps, so listen to your body and help yourself to the right things.
Born in North Carolina, raised all over the world and currently living in the Rocky Mountains above Montana. I have spent most of my life fishing, hunting, exploring and adventuring. While the adventure continues I have started to jot a few of them down and write. I Love Fly Fishing and sharing what I know with others. Fish on!