Anyone who’s been on a fishing getaway will tell you just how much fun they can be, but if family are involved, there’s a fine line between dreamland and divorce!
Equally, if you go on a hardcore fishing mission you can have the time of your life, catching great fish with good friends, or end up sulking in a bivvy for a week.
Here are 10 of our top tips to make your next fishing break a success – five for a trip with the family, and five for a proper angling quest.
Choose a lake suitable for all
While the idea of sitting it out for a week on a hard venue for the fish of a lifetime is appealing, when it comes to family trips, you want somewhere that everyone can enjoy – ideally, a lake full of fish that are relatively easy to catch, containing a mix of species. You can set challenges to make the fishing interesting, seeing how many species the kids can catch, or who can land the biggest fish, with prizes at the end. Somewhere family-friendly, where serious anglers won’t be irritated by a few excited kids, is also well worth seeking out.
Make things comfortable
There’s nothing much worse than being sat on the bank, freezing cold and uncomfortable. As for beginners, it’s a sure-fire way to put them off. So, bring comfy chairs, thermals, gloves, a flask, even a little camping stove so you can cook some hot food. Even better, go somewhere that has an on-site café that you can retreat to for heart-warming refreshments.
Keep things simple
Most of us take far too much tackle with us, but on a family holiday scaling back the kit is a great idea. Simple tackle is all beginners need, but, more importantly, you probably won’t fit much in the car once all the family are in! Even if you plan on fishing for a few hours on your own, one rod and the bare necessities will allow you to focus what you’re doing and concentrate on your fishing.
Fish at prime times
Although it’s great fun to take the family on to the bank, sometimes the urge to slip off for a few hours’ ‘proper fishing’ is too much to resist. If you do this, our advice is to get out at prime times – dusk or dawn. Not only are you making the most of when the fishing should be best, but you also leave the rest of the day free for family time – ideal for all involved.
Check out local attractions
Britain is beautiful, and although there are few better sights than our rivers and lakes, there’s much more to enjoy.
Try visiting the coast, if you’re near it, or take a walk in a National Park. Hire a boat or visit the town. There’s so much do, and these elements make the trip more varied. While you’d no doubt rather be fishing, you’ll probably enjoy getting out and about more than you might expect.
THE ANGLING MISSION
Look into local guides
If you’re fishing for a week, the last thing you want to do is spend the whole time trying to figure out a new venue, inevitably going home just as you’ve cracked it. If one is available, book a day with a local guide. They have a lifetime of knowledge that’ll make your trip far more successful. If there isn’t a guide available, fear not. There’ll often be a fishery bailiff who can offer a few tips, or you could even visit a local tackle shop and see what they can offer.
Do your research
Knowing roughly what fish are in the lake, what kind of fishing you’ll be doing, and what bait you to need are things you can find out before you set off. Knowing these allows you to prepare better, and leaves you with a better idea of what to expect. You can find out a lot from a fishery’s Facebook page or website. Going on Google Earth to look at an overhead view of a venue also helps to build a mental picture and give an idea of where you might want to start.
Bring an angling friend
While a solo mission can be a great experience, we’d advise going with a friend or two of a similar fishing level to yourself. Not only can you share knowledge and figure out how best to approach the venue, but you can also enjoy a social side to the trip. If you’re bivvied up, this could be a bankside barbecue, or, if you’re somewhere like Ireland, a tour of the pubs in town. Either way, a few good mates can make the trip that bit more enjoyable, especially if the fishing is tough!
Don’t pack light
This might sound like a strange one, as we’re always being told to pack light, but the last thing you want to do on a proper fishing trip is forget something. If you’ve got the car to yourself, why not cover every base? Bring the warm clothing, cooking kit, spare rods, a light lure set-up – the lot! This allows you to not only be relaxed and comfortable, but you can also make the most of any fishing opportunity that may arise.
If you’re visiting a fishery and have one lake in your sights, don’t feel you have to stay there the entire time. If you’re on a tricky carp lake, for example, and have had a few days’ blanking, there’s nothing wrong with jumping on to an easier pool for a day to get a few confidence-boosting bites. The same applies if you’re fishing a river. You might be after a barbel or some big bream, but if they’re not playing ball, try catching some smaller fish, or go for a predator.