By Jerry Kane
Nebraska Game and Parks Commission
LINCOLN, Neb. – Consider this scenario: You are an angler new to the sport and go out fishing on your own. You have a license, rod-and-reel combo and some tackle.
What else do you need?
Depending on the regulations of the lake, an angler has two choices to consider when fishing: to keep some fish, or to release fish. To harvest, or to catch and release are decisions that play a role in the type of things you should have on hand.
Let’s get into it:
Fishing Guide – One who intends to keep fish needs to know the regulations. If you haven’t looked them up for the lake you will fish before heading out, then having a Fishing Guide on hand is necessary. The guide includes all bag limits, length limits and special regulations an angler needs to know.
Measuring device – If your lake has a length limit on fish, you need something to measure fish if you intend to keep any. It could be a small tape measure or some type of ruler.
Hook-removal tools – One is not enough. Hook-removal tools tend to be left on the ground and left behind. That’s why two is better than one. Needle-nose pliers, forceps, multi-tool pliers or any of a number of other options are available. Crimp down the barb on a hook with pliers if you plan on releasing fish. Lack of a barb will make removing the hook easier with less stress on the fish, even though it will increase the chance of a fish getting off the line.
Line clippers – You need something to cut line when replacing a hook, changing a lure or clipping the tag end of a knot. This can be small nail clippers or a small pair of scissors. For convenience, you can wear a lanyard around your neck that will keep the nail clippers and a pair of forceps.
Headlamp – Have a headlamp with you when it starts to get dark and you won’t have trouble baiting your hook, tying a knot or finding things you set on the ground.
Sunscreen – The sun’s rays reflecting off the water can be the quick way to a sunburn. Take sunscreen and try to remember to apply it before you leave the car with your fishing gear and walk to the water.
Polarized sunglasses – Protect your eyes from the sun’s rays, glare off the water and the tackle at the end of your line. Polarized lenses are worth the extra cost. By cutting through the glare you will be able to spot fish beneath the water’s surface.
Bug spray – Mosquitoes will ruin a fishing trip before it gets started. Don’t leave home without bug spray.
Appropriate clothing and footwear – Everyone wants to be comfortable when fishing, but dress for the weather conditions and the type of access. Shorts and flip-flops are OK for a brief walk to a fishing pier rather than a lengthy hike through brush, so plan ahead. Have rainwear in your vehicle at the ready. A hat will keep the sun off your head and the brim will help keep the sun out of your eyes.
Cell phone – If you’re fishing with a friend have him or her take a quick photo of you and your catch.
Small cooler with ice – If you decide to legally harvest fish for a meal, get them on ice quickly if you can to keep them as fresh as possible.
Just as important is what you don’t need. This includes a big tackle box full of lures when you are just getting started. Learn how to fish a few lures and go from there. A landing net is handy, but not necessary. A small, trout net is large enough to get by for most beginner situations.
For more information on fishing in Nebraska, visit outdoornebraska.gov/howtofish.