Dating can be hard. Awkward silence, bad food and a stupid joke told at just the wrong moment. There are many ways to make it all go horribly wrong.
Instead of a cliche date to a movie and dinner, try going on a fishing date, where awkward silence can be disguised as untangling your line and the fresh air inspires a deeper connection with your partner. You never know, you may very well make the best catch of your life!
Why go on a fishing date
Everything that makes for a romantic date can be incorporated into a day of fishing if done right. For starters, a beautiful setting by a lake or stream is hard to beat. A bouquet of wild flowers can be picked on a romantic walk while taking a break from fishing. You can even plan for a picnic lunch or dinner that can rival the best 5 star restaurants. Especially since the view at your dinning location will be hard to match.
The main take away is that a fishing date is not just about fishing. You can make it as special and romantic as you want. It will probably even cost less than a typical date in the city.
Have the right expectations
Whether this will be a first date or the tenth, remember to just have fun. Don’t stress about catching a bunch of fish.
Expect to be a good teacher – or student. You may be the better angler, but avoid being a know-it-all. The person you are with will be more impressed by your patience and humble attitude. Your date will likely out fish you anyway.
The fun is in the experience and neither of you needs to be an expert. Plan for slow fishing by having activities to keep things interesting when the bite is off. Go for a walk, throw a frisbee or even toss a few rocks into the water. Just have fun!
When should you go
Arrange a fishing date during the time of day when fish are bitting. I highly recommend evening over morning dates. If first impressions are important, then waking up at the crack of dawn may not be ideal. Morning breath and bed head is hardly putting your best foot forward. Think about your partner too. Will he or she feel and look their best on a cold dark morning. Probably not.
An evening date is the best of both worlds. Everyone is well rested and afternoon temperatures are warmer. The fish will also be biting quite good as the evening goes on. Just bring a jacket and a flashlight incase all goes well and the date proceeds past dark.
The time of year is important too. If your date is in the middle of winter, you may want to rethink your strategy. Unless of course, ice fishing is doable where you live. The rest of the year, spring through fall, provides wonderful fishing date opportunities. Just make sure you know what the legal fishing seasons are for your destination.
Where should you go
Start with a location you know. Fishing where you know what to expect, both in terms of catching fish and for planning purposes, is wise. Avoid going to a place you have never been. Your plans for a romantic picnic or a pleasant walk may be spoiled if you arrive at a lake entirely surrounded by cattails and swamp.
Pick a spot with fewer anglers. There is nothing worse than a grumpy old fisherman plopping his chair next to your picnic dinner and opening his pungent, home-cured salmon eggs while you are trying to enjoy your meal together.
I would recommend a calm lake with little boat traffic that also has a nearby picnic area. A lake side park may not have the best fishing but there may be hiking trails and grassy areas to throw a frisbee if the fishing is slow.
For an even more romantic and tranquil location, try a quiet stretch of river. Rivers offer opportunities for exploring the bank to find new fishing holes and fewer people will interrupt your time together.
Wherever you go, be flexible and adapt without adding stress to the date.
What should you bring
A fishing date requires a few more items than a typical dinner and a movie. These essentials will ensure you have a fun and comfortable evening out.
Bring a couple folding camp chairs. These chairs are relatively inexpensive and will keep your partner engaged longer. Sitting on a muddy bank or standing on uneven ground all day will make both of you wish for the day to end.
Pack a picnic lunch or dinner. You can make this part as fancy as you want. A bottle of wine and some tasty hors d’oeuvres might just hit the spot. Or you could keep it casual and provide sandwiches, fruit and chips. Either way, make sure you pack a blanket to sit on and all the utensils, cups and napkins. The blanket also provides an opportunity to cuddle under the stars as the evening gets chilly! Hand sanitizing wipes are a good idea if you have been handling fish and bait.
Take along basic, easy to use, fishing gear. If you are fishing with tackle that requires too much focus and skill, you may not be able to spend quality time with each other. A simple bobber setup, with a worm suspended below, can be all you need for a fun fishing adventure.
Make sure you both have valid fishing licenses for the area you are fishing. In most states, all adults are required to purchase a fishing license. The cost varies from state to state. Check out my Fish and Game resource page to access your states website for fishing rules and regulations. The Fish and Game department for most states offer online license purchases. Most sporting goods stores will also sell fishing licenses over the counter.
If spending money on fishing licenses for two is out of the question, I have good news. Many states offer a free fishing day or weekend where anyone can fish for free. To see when your neck of the woods has free fishing, take a look at my post “Go Fishing for Free in 2019!”
When the fishing is slow, a nice walk or tossing a frisbee can keep the date going. Bring along anything that will keep you both from staring at your phones or getting bored and calling it a day.
Just have fun
Regardless of where or when you go on a fishing date, never forget to just have fun. With a little planning and reasonable expectations, your day with a special person will become a cherished memory instead of a tale about the one that got away.