Plan a fishing trip

Every day I go to the beach and find that no fish can be caught. My striped bass and bluefish are migratory and when the fall run is over no fish can be caught until they return in spring. It won’t be long before I get itchy to catch a fish somewhere. Whether you are fishing near your home or visiting friends and family, here are four tips for planning a successful fishing trip any time of the year.

Hire a guide

When planning a fishing trip, first decide how long you will be in one place. If you are in an area for a short period of time, it makes sense to hire a fishing guide. They know the water where the fish are and can get you caught pretty quickly. Guides fall into one of the following categories: hardcore, lifestyle, and instruction. Hardcore fishing guides want to get fish on board. If you have the skills and perseverance, book one quickly so that the best guides are booked early. Lifestyle guides enjoy the fishing experience and are great for a wide variety of anglers, from experts to beginners. Teaching fishing guides focuses more on mechanics, ranging from throwing and rigging to gear and general fishing skills. Make sure the type of guide matches the skill levels of all members of your fishing group. Usually you can determine what type of fishing guide you are dealing with by browsing the website or social media pages, asking your family and friends, and / or having a quick phone conversation with them.

Professional behavior Nothing kills a fishing trip more than misunderstandings between a client and a guide. Plan your fishing trip properly: ask in advance for the details: hours of the trip, what equipment will or won’t be provided, meals, drinks, tips, and other expenses (think of bait or fuel). It is important to know what happens in the event of a weather cancellation, especially in relation to your deposit. Good business practices make a great fishing trip.

Fishing trip preparation: DIY 1 When you’re out with your friends, you know what to expect. But when you mix family with friends, or when a friend of a friend comes along, you have to iron out the expectations. There’s nothing worse than wanting to fish a full day while listening to someone complain that you’ve been out on the water for way too long. Part of your planning for fishing trips should be identifying expectations in advance (including food and accommodation).

Fishing trip preparation: DIY 2 Get fresh, reliable information. Your fishing trip plan should include finding fishing shops or exploration areas using nautical charts. Google Earth is a great way to get updated information and find spots. Social media groups or fishing forums are also good for gathering information. Just make sure they all provide solid and reliable advice.

Whether the fishing is waning in your area or you just want to get your show on the streets, a little planning will ensure that your fishing trip meets or exceeds expectations.

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Tom Keer

Tom Keer is an award-winning writer living on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. He is a columnist for the Upland Almanac, a contributing writer for Covey Rise magazine, a contributing editor for Fly Rod and Reel and Fly Fish America, and a blogger for the Recreational Boating and Fishing Foundation’s Take Me Fishing program. Keer is a regular contributor to over a dozen outdoor magazines on topics including fishing, hunting, boating, and other outdoor activities. When not fishing, Keer and his family hunt highland birds over their three English setters. His first book, a Fly Fishers Guide to the New England Coast, was published in January 2011. Visit him at or

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