It is a gorgeous summer Saturday. You have the day off, the kids are at camp and your spouse is out with friends. You have been planning this day for a while. Yes, time to yourself to do what you love…fishing! You have all of your gear ready but wait…what are you going to eat all day out there? Here is a simple list of some easy snacks and meals you should bring with you out on the water, and trust me, you will be glad you thought ahead!
Prepping Ahead of Time
Like anything, its good to be prepared. I usually like to make a run to a warehouse store like Costco or Sam’s club and stock up just like I would if I were making kids lunches. If you want to make your fishing snacks fresh at home (which I recommend), grab some bulk sandwich bags and tupperware. If you know you won’t have time or prefer store bought items, grab some snack packs of chips, nuts, trail mix, cookies or any other easy to eat treat. Don’t forget to get a good cooler and ice packs, and either bottled water or a jug that you can use to replenish a more earth friendly beverage holder.
Keep It Cold and Fresh
If you have to bring food that requires refrigeration (although it is much easier to bring things that don’t need to be kept cold) , it is essential that you pack them properly into a cooler that is guaranteed to keep your food cold for an extended period of time. As mentioned earlier, cold packs can be purchased to put in your cooler but you can also save on that and freeze some water bottles which is a win win situation and saves space. You are also avoiding the risk of chemicals leaking into food, as some ice packs can contain them. Do your best to keep cooler in shade and eat before your food gets too warm.
Most Food Isn’t Water Resistant
Bacteria is no one’s friend. Make sure to pack all food in containers that prevent water from entering like a Ziploc or storage container. Certain water can contain bacteria that could get into your food so keep sealed and as dry as possible. Ideally, it should be located in a high spot that is far away from where you will be pulling fish into the boat and make sure to wash your hands before grabbing food from the supply in order to prevent cross contamination from occurring.
Let’s be honest with ourselves, this isn’t like most situations where you can be lazy, forget your lunch, and then find something on the fly. Unless you are ready to grill that fish with all the fix ins on the spot, here are some ideas.
Breakfast– Even thought you may be starting the day early, its very important not to skip breakfast. Long days out in the sun can take a toll so forgoing your first meal can set you up for a stomach rumble or ten. I love making a fruit and veggie smoothie for these on the go, not super hungry moments. You can pre make these, buy them, or bring some protein powder, a shaker cup, and just add water!
Trail Mix– Very simple and healthy too. Granola with fruit and nuts is a winning combination to keep your energy up and your hunger at bay. You can use add-ins such as dried fruit, coconut flakes, chocolate chips, licorice bites, shelled sunflower seeds, dried bananas or popcorn. Store bought works too, but I am really a fan of prepping my own.
Salty Snacks– Easy to grab snacks like popcorn, chips or beef jerky are great Ziploc bag stuffers. The small on the go snack packs are great too to stuff in your gear and graze on throughout the day.
Sandwiches/Subs-These are super easy to make in advance. Grab some bread, deli meat, cheese and whatever condiments and extras you want. If you are out with a group, you can even put each of the ingredients in a separate container and people can make there own. No time? Pick up a few subs. Just make sure you get the Ketchup and Mayo on the side so they don’t get soggy. Peanut butter sandwiches make a great snack because they high in protein and whole grains, both of which are guaranteed to help keep you feeling full for a longer period of time and they don’t need to be kept cool, and can be left in the sunlight with no risk of contamination.
Cookies– Cookies are always great, especially home made ones. Easy to put in Tupperware and snack on throughout the day!
Vegetables/Dip-A great healthy alternative to the cookies right? Crunchy and refreshing carrots, celery, cucumbers…so many choices. Some plastic tupperware will do the trick on these, and you can even add dips like ranch or hummus to give them a zip!
Cheese and Crackers-These are my favorite. I have packed a variety of these for years out on the water. I like to bring sliced cheeses, peanut butter and all sorts of spreads for the crackers. The little snack packs that come with several individually wrapped packages work great too.
Coffee, Soup and Hot Liquids– Very much necessary for chilly mornings and cold weather. A good quality thermos that will keep your coffee, soup, and tea hot and will keep you snug when you need it most!
Drinks– I know you are probably used to people saying to keep hydrated. Well, there is a reason! Water is essential, but even sports drinks, sodas or juice will serve as well, especially on a hot day. A cooler works great for one person, or a group. Grabbing an extra bag of ice and some cups is also not a bad idea.
A Few Things to Consider
Clean Your Hands
One of the main reasons that fish are attracted to bait, is due to its smell. Just like you are attracted to the smell of your salami sandwich. The thing is, if you put too many messy condiments on your food and get it all over your hands before handling bait, you could very well deter the fish entirely. Try to preemptively avoid doing so, but if you do make a mess on your hands, make sure to clean thoroughly before getting back to fishing.
It is so important that fishermen do their part to help keep the environment clean and safe from harmful waste. Make sure to do your part to clean up your trash and if you are able, make an extra effort to clean up after others as well. Grab a couple trash bags and disposable gloves and when you see trash floating in the water, or on the beach/river bank…pick it up. You can dispose of the bags later, just make sure you are being safe when you go out of your way on a trash hunt!