Speaking of equipment and supplies, what do you need to be a successful host of any type of fishing activity? First and most obvious is a body of water, and the size of said water is what can and As a planner we are sometimes challenged to go outside our personal comfort zone to host or put together an event that might include elements we’re not familiar with like jigs, spinnerballs, ‘crappies,’ and trolling. Say what? All of these and more are part of the terminology you might hear while planning a fishing excursion for your group, so pay attention as we hold hands and explore this new territory together. Yes, I admit I’m a newbie at this myself, but under the category of ‘always willing to broaden my horizons,’ I accepted this assignment and am happy to share my findings as we, um, fish on this journey together.
Speaking of equipment and supplies, what do you need to be a successful host of any type of fishing activity? First and most obvious is a body of water, and the size of said water is what can and ultimately will determine the extent of your activity. According to Darrel Thomas (darrelthomasfishing.com/meet-darrel/), an avid competitor who counts numerous tournament wins to his name since he first began fishing with his family as a young boy, “You don’t want to have people fishing on top of each other, so be sure the lake can comfortably handle the number of boaters participating.” Then I asked Darrel about best times to host fishing excursions and he offered up the term ‘safe light,’ which refers to the activity start time - when it is light enough for boaters to run safely around the lake - until about 3:00 pm. He went on to explain, “This of course depends on the geography and seasonal weather conditions of your location, but generally ideal times to hold your fishing [tournament/activity] are from early summer to late fall, and [obviously] earlier in the day.”
Okay, so beyond the need for water, boats and captains may be the next most important element. But in reality there are plenty of resorts that offer fishing activities from their docks or shorelines, although with the exception of fly-fishing, most serious fishing is done while in a boat. (Hey, I told you I’m a beginner with all this, so I promised to share the basics!) Most planners who have included fishing events in the scheduled activities believe that the organizers are usually very flexible when it comes to head counts, understanding that they might be working with a lot of first timers to this sport and therefore patience is required. Plus another thing you can (hopefully) count on is having your boat captain arrange for necessary non-negotiable details like the fishing licenses, poles, and bait. (Okay, now our itemized supply list is growing, and PS - glad to hear I’m not in charge of buying bait. Eww.)
This leads to a really good tip I received from multiple people: make sure you are using licensed and experienced boat captains as well as professional group organizers, most of which can be obtained from whatever resort or fishing camp you are working through. Also be advised that group contracts may not be as detailed as most planners are used to, so read them thoroughly, asking questions and adding clauses or addendums as needed, just as you would any of your other hotel or professional event agreements.
Trolling on (sorry, I can’t help myself), here are a few other considerations you must think about if this is your first ‘fishing rodeo’ (you knew I’d go there, didn’t you?):
- Safety plans including, at minimum, life preservers and basic medical supplies per boat
- Weather conditions
- Food and beverage - NOTE: Most resorts and fish camps will offer box lunches as well as ice chests with beverages; just be sure to include plenty of water bottles.
- Transportation to/from launch locations
- Ice chests or water tanks/buckets on the boat for holding catch; scales for weighing same (this is really important for the serious ‘fisher people,’ and a requirement for tournaments, although oftentimes the weighing is done back on shore)
- Sunscreen, sunglasses/visors, and weather appropriate clothing such as jackets, hats, and [potentially] long sleeved shirts, mosquito spray, etc. (it’s the little things that make big differences when you’re spending hours out in the middle of a lake)
Our final tip could be the most important one: Assuming that those who fish are not participating on a catch and release situation, make sure you’ve advised the chef that your group is (potentially/hopefully?) supplying the main course for their dinner on the night of this event. Imagine the fish tales that will be told at that gathering!