Boating, fishing, kayaking, and canoeing are all fun sports that can be enjoyed by anyone. Even so, sometimes things can go from a casual, family, ordeal, to one potentially annoying. Having the proper equipment set aside for when things do not go optimally on the water is essential. In addition to your usual fish catching gear, if you are ever caught without the needed equipment to properly take care of a problem when it arises during your fishing trip, it can ruin a day of fun for everybody.
Being well-prepared for potential problems provides a piece of mind for you and your entire crew. It allows you to spend more time fishing and less time worrying about them. Everyone should have certain items on their boat or in their tackle bag to be prepared for most situations. Your emergency fishing kit contents should always consist of a few essential items that you should always have with you regardless of where you fish.
Important Safety Essentials
When referring to those particular items used for personal safety and security, these are the ones that cannot and should not be passed up by any fisherman or boat user in general. They are important to make sure everyone has a good and safe time on the water. You should never be so caught up that you forget to take these with you when you go.
They will provide a little bit of insurance as well as make it much easier to avoid things before they happen. If things do decide to go south for whatever reason, being adequately prepared for it will allow you to remedy the situation and fix the problems as they occur. Again, do not catch yourself without the essential things to keep bodily safety secured. It keeps everybody safe and insured.
1. A Good Waterproof First Aid Kit
Especially true in the sport of fishing, a kit set aside to treat physical injuries is a must-have. When handling sharp hooks, fish with teeth or spines, or a heavy boat anchor, a first aid kit can help treat an injury if you ever get one. Well, not if. It is a matter of when.
As for what to pack inside a medical kit, you want bandages of many sizes, hydrogen peroxide for cleaning wounds, cotton balls,a bottle with pure, fresh, clean water, a few pairs of medical gloves, first aid ointment, absorbent pads that will not stick to wounds, hand sanitizing gel, medical scissors, and paper towels. It also never hurts to keep an epinephrine pen in case of allergic reactions.
I also recommend storing these things in a waterproof container so moisture can never seep inside and ruin your sterile items. Water also has a diluting effect with mixed with pretty much anything so having one on a boat requires a good water-tight container. A first aid kit requires a container that is heavy-duty and preferably has a moisture seal around the inside of the perimeter.
Regardless of how fancy one chooses to be when putting one of these together, this is not an optional item if you are an angler. You NEED something that you can treat your injuries with. Don’t ever think for a minute that you will never get injured fishing. It most certainly will happen.
Examples include dropping a boat anchor on your foot, getting stabbed by catfish, getting bit by Walleye or Pike, or even getting a hook deep in your hand because you forgot how to set the drag on a spinning reel or a baitcasting reel properly.
Even something as small as a bug bite can cause severe problems as well as allergic reactions if not treated immediately. Also, if you take medications of any sort on a regular basis, make sure to pack these as well as a drink and food if you require it.
Our Top Pick: The 241 piece waterproof and survival kit by Monoki is an essential health and safety asset for any angler. As the name implies, the entire case is waterproof. This means that if you drop it in the water, your medical gear will remain dry, sanitary, and ready for use. An added perk is that this kit also floats.
So if it does end up in the water, not only will all of your contents remain fully functional, but it will be much easier to locate and retrieve if it gets away from you. It is also an extremely durable case. It is very difficult to crush it also. It also contains a ton of extra gadgets other than a basic bandage. It certainly has those too though.
If you are a fan of survival fishing, having a case that contains survival fishing gear is also a plus. It has line, lures, and even hooks. It has all the essentials one could need. Bandages, flashlight, compass, multi-tool, waterproof case, and all for a low price.
It contains everything you need to safely treat cuts, scrapes, and other minor injuries without professional medical help. It has antiseptic wipes for treating cuts and scrapes, gauze pads for dressing and wrapping injuries, sting relief wipes to treat bug bites, antibiotic creams to apply to the affected areas to promote healing, two pairs of latex-free gloves, a razor blade, adhesive tape, safety pins, and an assortment of bandages, all of which are latex-free to avoid allergic reactions.
2. A Life Jacket (Or Five)
Life jackets are relatively inexpensive and they are a very small price to pay when you consider how valuable they are worth. If you or another crew member ever find yourself in the water, having a good flotation device on your body will help keep you afloat until you can reach solid ground. Also, even when your not fishing or boating, children often have a great time playing in them.
They are an excellent way to introduce kids to the water as many children do not know how to swim very early in life. Having at least two vests for every crew member on board provides the best insurance for your trip. Life jackets are also an essential part of every kayak user’s arsenal.
Costs can vary anywhere from 5 dollars all the way up to hundreds of dollars per vest. They are a piece of equipment that no boat owner should go without, regardless of their budget. One great thing about life jackets is the fact that they are so customizable.
While all of them will float and can be used without much hesitation, they come in tons of very cool colors, styles, and sizes to match any wardrobe or protection need. Styles include strap on vests, ones that zip up, ones that wrap around the neck and strap in the front, and many, many more.
In addition to the colors and styles available, they can also be tailored to you with protection in mind. Many materials and techniques are utilized to create them so everyone can get a vest that fits them just right. There literally is a life jacket or vest out there for everybody.
Our Top Pick: Made from quality materials, the Onyx Adult Universal life jacket is a personal flotation device that is approved by the United States Coast Guard for functionality and reliability in keeping your head above sea level when things do not go optimally on the water. These do a good job of performing their intended purpose without forking over a ton of money.
They do not cost a lot, yet they get the job done without any issues. At this price point, it earns our top pick spot because you can easily get one for every member of your crew to do what you want a life jacket to do.
For state laws that require floatation devices to be used on the water, these make a great inexpensive way to keep you legal and out of trouble.
It resembles a standard life jacket. It may not be a fancy option with a ton of bells and whistles yet it will keep your head above water when it matters most. They are a shade of highly visible orange that will make it much easier to see from a long distance while you are wearing it. These vests are easy to put on and extremely comfortable to wear.
It also provides good neck support and has an adjustable strap capable of fitting almost anybody. They are also nice to have as a backup in addition to your primary vest if you want some extra insurance for the safety of you and your crew.
3. Sunblock Or Sunscreen
If you are anything like me, I prefer to be outside on a sunny day in shorts and a t-shirt. However, being this comfortable can also be a problem. I burn very easily. Naturally, this kind of attire is not efficient in the sun. When I get home after fishing all day, forgetting sunblock has ALWAYS left me as red as a boiled lobster. Not to mention the fact that it stings when you apply something to the burn.
Instead, it is always better to apply sunscreen BEFORE you go outside. A sunscreen with an SPF(Sun Protection Factor) of at least 30 is recommended for everyone that will be in the sun. It will protect from about 97 percent of the sun’s rays. If you go up from there all the way to an SPF of 50, the difference is about one percent more protection. It will protect about 98 percent. It really is more or less your preference.
In any case, make sure that the bottle says,”broad spectrum”. Broad-spectrum sunblock protects against UVA rays as well as UVB and it is always the better option to consider. All exposed areas should be covered with your sunblock but especially the back of the neck, the ears, the face, and legs. Give these areas the attention first. They tend to hurt the most when sunburned. Apply twice or a few times throughout the day. It is worth it.
Our Top Pick: If you are after a sunscreen that is extremely effective in giving UVA and UVB protection to you and the rest of your family including younger anglers over six months of age, the Neutragena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch SPF 55 Broad Spectrum sunscreen for children is the one for you. It provides pretty much all the protection you would need from the sun and its harmful rays, without breaking the bank.
This proprietary blend is both sweat and water-resistant, not greasy at all, and it is also hypoallergenic for you and your children without a terrible odor. The tear-free formula prevents irritation that might develop as a result of sunscreen entering the eyes.
This particular sunscreen works extremely well on adults as well and will provide all the sun protection an adult angler could need or want.
It is also tested by pediatricians to be safe for use on children as long as they are six months of age or older. This formula is helpful to those with sensitive skin and eyes as well, as it doesn’t run and is not very thick at all.
4. Polarized Sunglasses
Except in the case of night fishing, a good pair of sunglasses will work wonders for you and your fishing success. The polarized variety bend sunlight in a way that reduces glare and enhances contrast, providing a vivid, clear, highly detailed sight picture.
They will keep the sun out of your eyes and prevent it from distorting your vision. Polarized lenses are especially great for anglers because they break up the sun’s glare on the water’s surface, allowing you to locate fish and other things simply by looking at them. Also, they prevent a lot of damage done to your eyes by the sun in general. If you don’t grab a pair for the clarity, then grab one for the protection.
It is a very solid investment that can help prevent cataracts, partial blindness, chronic dry eye, abnormal eye strain, and other eye problems down the road, especially if you enjoy spending long days in the hot, blistering sun using your eyes constantly. It’s good to take care of your eyes and make sure they are protected. Polarized sunglasses will help with this process significantly.
Our Top Pick: Your eyes are arguably the most important sense an angler is capable of utilizing. Your eyes are worth their weight in gold because they do almost everything for you. There are benefits to wearing polarized lenses. In addition to this, you need to protect your eyes and many just do not have expensive polarized lenses within their everyday budget.
Well sorry, you need a pair. Skip the $150 rod you were going to buy yesterday and get a pair of Costa Tuna Alley sunglasses instead. They cost about the same. While it seems expensive, these are shades that will probably outlast your fishing career.
Made out of Nylon, the frames are ventilated and the lenses provide superior protection as well as clarity. The lenses block 100% (you read that right. ALL of it) of harmful UVA and UVB rays from harming your eyes. The lenses break up scattering light and they enhance your clarity to see free-roaming fish under the water’s surface. These particular sunglasses also come in 9 different colors that will match and fit just about any wardrobe.
The frames on these sassy shades are scratch-resistant, durable, and the glasses themselves come with a lifetime warranty. Even with that guarantee though, this is not an item that is usually returned. These glasses are not expensive to purchase at all either. They cost an amount that most people with fishing gear can easily afford. What is the price of not investing in your eyes when your rods cost more?
5. A Very Breathable Hat
A hat of some sort is worth its weight in gold on a hot, sunny, day. In addition to keeping the sun out of your face to a degree, they also protect your hair from bleaching in the sunshine. When facing rain, snow, and sleet, a cap or brimmed hat will help keep these things from touching your face too much more than necessary. In harsh cold weather conditions, snow on your face is a bad decision.
When snow touches your face, it decreases the temperature of your entire body forcing it to work harder to stay warm. This expends energy and can cause hypothermia while ice fishing if you are not careful. For this reason, you will never find an ice fisherman without a wool or cotton hat on protecting their ears and head. In the sunshine, hats are helpful in cooling the scalp by reducing the exposure to sunlight and its ultraviolet UVA and UVB rays.
Also, hats can be very stylish and a pleasure to wear. Many anglers have the option to wear a hat that features their company’s logo or their favorite lure manufacturer. Even without fancy styles, a basic camouflage baseball cap with a hat hook attached can look very stylish for a person regardless if they are male or female. There are many reasons why one might put a hat or visor on. Protection from the sun is just the most important in fishing and this alone is a great reason to grab one for yourself.
Our Top Pick: A good hat can keep the sun at bay. For fishermen, the unisex sun hat from Lenikis makes about the best one you can get in terms of protection. The hat itself has a distinct design that extends beyond your traditional one that just lays on top of the face.
This provides unparalleled protection from the sun’s rays when your neck is turned towards it. This hat is also great at being a pleasure to wear. It is a very comfortable piece that sits and fits nicely on the heads of most adults. It protects the ears and is well ventilated on both sides.
The hat is made with a flexible material that makes adjusting it to fit a simple task. It comes in 3 different colors and is stain resistant. It is made out of polyester so the material is extremely soft and comfortable.
If it gets wet, it tends to dry quickly and the material is very easy to fold. This ensures that it will remain comfortable and breathable regardless of how your face or head is shaped. Also, this is a great option for cold weather to keep your face out of the snow and air.
Important Fishing Essentials
When you consider the essentials for fishing, these are the things that you should bring with you to prevent problems unrelated to personal health and safety. These may not relate to personal health in any way, shape, or form, yet having them on hand is still recommended if you fish.
The first section covered what should be packed to keep you safe from harm. The ones inside of this section will not address that problem yet these items are still important for different reasons. Also, make sure you don’t leave home without them.
1. Valid State Fishing License
Always bring your license to fish. Never forget it. If you plan on fishing in public waters, this is something you have to have on you at all times. The last thing you want is to max out on a limit of good-sized fish and then being required to throw them all back before being issued a citation and a fine by the game warden. Nothing about forgetting your license can end well.
If you realize that you have forgotten your license at home, do not take the gamble of breaking the law. Drive home and grab it first. If you were going to be fishing anyway, you have enough time to go get it. If you traveled a long way after the fact, wait until tomorrow. Catching fish can wait one more day.
I suggest making up multiple copies of your license and storing them in many places so if you forget one, you can still fish legally. Make a copy for your wallet, one for your glove box, one for your keychain, and keep a copy of it in your tackle box.
Our Top Pick: While you can very easily purchase and print your valid state fishing license online at many different places, that is not what we are suggesting with this product.
Instead, we are suggesting something that will protect your already obtained license from water, dirt, and the other elements. Just as important as having the license with you is being able to protect it as well as store it in more places.
It comes with two protective holders which allows you to carry one in your tackle box and one in your car. They are waterproof and also come with a dual-action compass.
It will also work for your phone, car keys, credit cards, and even cold hard cash can seek protective comfort from harsh weather. They also float which is an added bonus if you happen to drop it.
2. A Cooler or Ice Box
If you intend to bring your catch home to eat, keeping it fresh is always preferred. Some laws in certain states require you to dispatch certain fish species when you catch them. Almost always, they will let you keep those.
If the fish happens to be a species you do not want to eat however, or you just do not want to bring fish home, a cooler is optional. Coolers excel at keeping fish fresh by keeping them at a constant temperature.
Using ice is standard practice for taking fish to eat. It keeps them cold, fresh, and tasty. An alternative method is to use a Livewell or a fish stringer instead. Both methods keep them alive until you are ready to take them home. Once removed from either, it will be difficult to keep the fish alive unless you have a portable tank with an aeration system available.
The cooler allows you to essentially freeze the fish until you are ready to clean it by bringing its temperature down. It is helpful if you plan to clean your fish on-site as well. You can bring the fish fillets or steaks down in temperature making it much harder for them to spoil and giving you a lot more time to travel to your intended destination. Many also choose to use a cooler for a portable aeration tank because of how well they are insulated.
Coolers make a great live bait container when paired with an oxygen source. In other words, a cooler is a win-win. If you want to take the fish home alive, you can, or you can choose to clean the fish and have it protect the meat from spoilage.
Our Top Pick: If you want a dual-purpose cooler for your sandwiches that also serves as the best live bait container on the market, we urge you to try out an Engel Live Bait Cooler for yourself. The design of this cooler is amazing.
It is well insulated and is specifically designed to keep baitfish alive. It comes with an oxygen pump, a leak-free hose, and a very temperature neutral body. We have a lot of good and positive things to say about this particular gem.
Instead of going over all of those in one post, we instead would prefer it if you would check out our entire review of the Engel Live Bait Cooler.
It has a lot of other great features that are also worth mentioning. We believe that every angler should have at least one for themselves.
3. A Pair of Needle-Nosed Pliers
You can use long-nosed pliers for removing hooks from fish, cutting lines, changing the hooks on your lures, and even as a way to tighten a loose bolt on your boat.
A good set is an angler’s best friend and the best tool in his possession. They are very helpful on the water. They come with many features and the best pairs include carbide cutters that can cut all types of fishing lines with ease. If you ever forgot your nail clippers, these make a fine substitute to trim the tag end.
A very durable piece of hardware, they often take a lot of abuse from freshwater and salt. They can be fit onto a lanyard and fit inside of a sheath on your waistband. If you ever needed to remove a deeply hooked fish or if you are messing with treble hooks and toothy species, these are a tool you should certainly consider getting. Many styles exist. There are really long pliers as long as 6 – 7 inches and as small as 3. Most models come with a crimper for saltwater anglers and a split ring tooth for changing hooks on your lures. If you do any sort of fishing, you should really consider grabbing a pair.
They are relatively cheap at only about 9 bucks for one of decent quality. Well worth the investment, a good pair of pliers will last you for years to come. Good sets can also cut hooks if you were to ever deeply hook yourself. These are a great emergency tool to have on hand because it can also crimp hook barbs. If you live in a place where barbed hooks are prohibited, this tool makes it effortless to create a barbless hook in seconds.
Our Top Pick: The set of fishing pliers from Bubba Blade is certainly an investment worth making. If you are looking for a one size fits all type of tool, this one pretty much fits the bill. To start off, it comes equipped with a split ring tooth so you can easily change out the hooks on your lures.
It also has a pair of ridiculously, sharp, tungsten, cutters that is capable of cutting mono, fluoro, copolymer, and even braided super lines with ease.
For saltwater anglers, this set also includes a crimping tool. The long nose of the pliers is exceptionally helpful in removing hooks from fish, especially those specimens with teeth. That is why your here right?
With extremely durable aluminum construction, the jaws are made out of steel coated in titanium for superior rust resistance. It holds up well to regular fresh and saltwater use. It comes on a coiled steel lanyard and has its own nylon sheath to carry it in. The Bubba Blade pliers are especially helpful because of the grips on them. They are almost impossible to drop them!
Be Safe, Have Fun
Let us face it. No matter how hard we try, we will inevitably come across a problem that we are not prepared for. We all agree that an angler can never be one hundred percent prepared for all of them. That is not to say though, that your emergency fishing kit contents can’t better prepare you.
If ever a problem were to arise seemingly out of the blue, having some or all of these items can help you solve it quickly and efficiently. There are hazards to our health so we need to be prepared for them, at least to a degree. Ensuring you equip yourself will maximize the chances that you will be able to enjoy the sport of fishing for a much longer time than you might would have otherwise.
What items do you carry for an emergency situation when you are out on the water? Maybe your input can help us all better prepare. Let us know by leaving a reply down in the comments!