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Fishing Merit Badge Activity Planner

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Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish. Fishing can be done in the sea, or in a lake or river, and by boat or from the shore.

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Patrol Leader Merit Badge Planning Guide for the Fishing Merit Badge

*** Activities for the Youth Lead Patrol ***

Exploring Fishing can be a fascinating youth adventure when done right. Here are a few tips to help the patrol leader get started.

  • Scouts may never add or subtract from the actual merit badge requirements
  • This Planner is only a suggestion of different ideas to make working this Merit Badge both fun and easy.
  • While doing the Worksheet is not a requirement for earning this badge, in many cases it can help you learn key concepts and track your progress.
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A. Make Your Plan

Sample Patrol Activity Flyer
  1. Merit Badge Activity Planning Tips - 14 tips for a successful patrol activity. Read carefully before you start your plan!
  2. Share Your Plan - Meet ahead of time with your patrol, scout leaders, parents and especially with the Merit Badge Counselor. Make changes to the plan as needed.
  3. Prepare Activity Flyer - Keep your fellow scouts informed - events, activities, pre-requisites and more.
Patrol Activity GREAT Great Patrol outdoor adventure
Virtual Field Trip POOR Requires physical presence in the great waters
Family Activity GREAT Popular Family Vacation Activity
Service Activity FAIR Fish Conservation Project - See complete angler below
S.T.E.M. Activity POOR n/a
Field Trip GREAT Popular outdoor activity
Duty-to-God POOR N/A
MB Day POOR Requires physical presence in the great waters
Overnighter GREAT Popular outdoor activity
Summer Camp GREAT Popular Summer Camp Merit Badge


Online Resources

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B. Introduction Meeting

Most merit badge activities do best to have a "introduction" meeting where the patrol can discuss how to get started and to plan out their field trips. Send out the activity flyer in advance to use as an meeting agenda. Your scouts will then know what to expect.

News Flash

C. Homework / Prerequisites

Assign one or more requirements that the scout can do at home, perhaps as a family activity.

Fishing is the activity of trying to catch fish. Fishing can be done in the sea, or in a lake or river, and by boat or from the shore. Fish are normally caught in the wild. Techniques for catching fish include hand gathering, spearing, netting, angling and trapping. The term fishing may be used for catching other aquatic animals such as molluscs, cephalopods, crustaceans, and echinoderms. The term is not normally used for catching farmed fish. With aquatic mammals, such as whales, the term whaling is better.

According to FAO statistics, the total number of commercial fishermen and fish farmers is estimated to be 38 million. Fisheries and aquaculture provide direct and indirect employment to over 500 million people in developing countries. In 2005, the worldwide per capita consumption of fish captured from wild fisheries was 14.4 kilograms, with 7.4 kilograms more got from fish farms. In addition to providing food, modern fishing is also a recreational sport.

D. Study Hall Patrol Night

While some scouts may be adept at self-study, others may do better in a small group setting and taking notes on worksheets. Make an agenda. You can facilitate discussion by asking them why each of the principles introduced here would be relevant. Schedule one or more patrol meetings to work this merit badge.


Pre-Open Gathering Activity

A gathering activity before the official meeting start is a great way to set a fun theme for the meeting.

  • Fishing.BoysLife.org - BoysLife has a giant section online section on fishing to explore. Lots of cool videos
  • Exhibit of different types of fishing gear
  • Exhibit of Freshwater Fish
  • Exhibit of Saltwater Fish
  • Game - identify different types of fish

MBC Discussion Group

  • Req #1: Discussion - Fishing Safety Practices
  • Req #2: Discussion - Fishing Equipment Care
  • Req #6a: Discussion - Leave No Trace
  • Req #6b: Discussion - Catch and Release
  • Req #7: Discussion - Local Fishing Regulations
  • Req #8: Discussion - Outdoor Code & Fishing

Discussion Resources:

Fishing Gear Demonstration

  • Req #3: Demonstrate the proper use of two different types of fishing equipment.
  • Req #4: Demonstrate how to tie the following knots: [Explain how and when each knot is used.]
    • improved clinch knot,
    • palomar knot,
    • uni knot,
    • uni to uni knot,
    • arbor knot.
  • Req #5: Name and identify five basic artificial lures and five natural baits and explain how to fish with them. Explain why bait fish are not to be released.

E. Field Trip

A related field trip with the MBC will be a great time to do the second half of this merit badge activity:

Fishing Field Trip

  • Req #9: Catch and Identify one fish
  • Req #10: Clean and Cook the fish. (Eating it is optional)

Where to Fish

  • Consult with your MBC on best fishing locations in your area.
  • Some Scout Camps are located adjacent to excellent fishing destinations that are well stocked with hungry fish.

F. Extra Credit

While none of these are actual requirements for this merit badge - they are terrific opportunities to show Scout Spirit, Do a Good Turn Daily and to have FUN!

  1. Activity Reflection: Use this meeting for scouts to ask questions and to reflect on what they gained personally from this adventure. You can also have a discussion on what future opportunities are here.
  2. Court of Honor Exhibit: Pictures, handiwork and other memorabilia from this adventure will make for a great presentation at the next Scout Troop Court of Honor.
  3. US Fish & Wildlife Jamboree Exhibits -
  4. Ultimate Fish Camp for Scouts - (BoysLife)
  5. Pontoon Boat Fishing and Scouts - Pontoon Deck Fishing
  6. BSA Outdoor Fishing Programs -
  7. TakeMeFishing.org - all of your fishing and boating resources in one place.

Complete Angler Award

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Complete the following 3 merit badges and you might qualify for BSA's Complete Angler:

Your last step is to successfully complete one or more of the following projects:

  1. Teach a Fishing or Fly Fishing merit badge skill to your troop, crew or team as part of a unit program activity.
  2. Help instruct Cub Scouts on fishing skills or fishery management as part of a Cub Scout meeting or outing.
  3. Participate in a local fishing derby or tournament, either a Scouting or Community event.
  4. Complete a conservation project that will benefit a local fishery.

BSA Fishing Guide

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  • The Scouting Guide to Basic Fishing (2019-Paperback): An Officially-Licensed Book of the Boy Scouts of America: 200 Essential Skills for Selecting Tackle, Tying Knots, Casting, and Catching Fish. Current Scouts, Scout alumni, and anyone interested in the outdoors are provided with a step-by-step guide that masterfully breaks down the art of fishing with diagrams, vivid photographs, and lessons on everything the beginner needs to know.

Fishing @ BoysLife

  • Fishing.BoysLife.org - has a great online section on Scouts BSA Fishing:
    • Videos by Experts
    • How to tie common fishing knots
    • Expert advice on the best baits, locations and fishing techniques for catching bass, trout, panfish, catfish and other species of fish.
    • Review of Essential Fishing Gear to Get Started
    • Make homemade scout fishing lures.
    • What is "BuzzBaits"?
  • Ice Fishing @ BSA Campe Oh-Da-Ko-Ta - NPAA and FAF Support Scout Ice Fishing at Camp Oh-Da-Ko-Ta, Burlington, WI - includes a safety briefing on hypothermia, ice thickness, and behavior while on the lake ice.

Related Merit Badges

Sometimes it is easier by doing two or more merit badges together as a joint activity:

See Also

  • 9 Things to Know about Merit Badges - BoysLife.org - There are more than 135 merit badges. By earning them, you can learn about sports, crafts, science, trades, business, and future careers. Here’s how to get the most out of your merit badge experience.