If you are both a fisherman and an animal lover, you may have considered taking your dog fishing. It sounds like a great idea to combine two things you love most into one fun-filled day. But is it a good idea?
It can be.
However, if you plan to take your dog on a fishing trip, there are certain things you need to know beforehand to ensure a fun and safe trip.
The first thing you need to determine is whether or not your dog enjoys water. There are certain dogs who absolutely love water and will jump into it every time. Other dogs, though, hate water so much that even bath-time is a struggle.
It's important to determine into which of these categories your dog falls. In some cases, it's better to take a dog who loves water fishing, and in other cases, it's actually preferable to take a dog who hates water instead.
For instance, if you're going fishing in a small, contained area like a lake or a pond, it's fine if your dog loves water. In these places, your dog can swim all he wants with little risk of getting caught in a current, drowned by a wave or hit by a boat.
However, if you're fishing somewhere where the water is vast and dangerous, such as an ocean or a public park where there are lots of boats and jet skis, it's better to take a dog who dislikes water. In these cases, your dog isn't likely to jump in the water and therefore wouldn't be at risk for drowning or being hit.
Unless your dog has been specially trained to ride in a boat, it's not recommended to take him boat fishing. There are too many accidents that could potentially happen, including your dog falling overboard and being hurt by the boat's motor.
If your dog is trained and used to boats - or if you're in the process of training him to become used to boats - always keep him in a flotation device and find a way to keep him from moving whenever the boat's in motion.
Another thing to consider is whether or not your dog is a barker. If he is, it isn't going to hurt you or him. What it will do, though, is scare away most of the fish, causing your fishing trip to be unsuccessful.
If you're fishing with your dog, you'll also have to be much more careful about your fishing gear. Hooks can be extremely dangerous to dogs; you can't just leave them lying around anywhere.
The shininess and noisiness of lures can also be very attractive to your dog, so you'll have to be especially careful about keeping all lures and tackle out of his reach so that he doesn't end up trying to play with one and get a hook in the mouth. Other types of bait could potentially be poisonous to your dog.
If you have a medium- to large-sized dog, he can do a lot of damage if he gets overly excited. A happy, excited dog jumping around can lead to broken rods, unspooled fishing line and many more types of damage, so if you're planning a fishing trip with your doggy, you're going to have to keep an especially close eye on every piece of your equipment.
In addition to your fishing equipment, there are also things you'll need to bring for your dog. He'll need access to fresh water. If you're fishing in clean fresh water, this won't be an issue, but if you're unsure about the water's cleanliness or are fishing in salt water, you'll have to bring water along.
If your trip is going to last a long time, you'll also want to bring food, some toys to entertain him and maybe some treats in case you need to reward him. A flotation device is recommended, even if your dog is well-trained. You'll also want a leash in case something scares or excites him. In certain areas, you'll also be required to clean up after your dog, so bring poop baggies.
Have fun, but above everything else, be safe!