Fishing offshore for giant tuna, marlin, sailfish, sharks and other species, can be one of the most rewarding experiences of a lifetime. For many, it just makes sense to pay for a charter fishing trip offshore where the captain knows where the fish are biting, has a big enough boat to get you there, and extra help from his crew to ensure you have a day for the memory books.
But, without the right preparations, gear, and basic knowledge, your day out on the ocean can be a challenge. With this in mind, we have asked some of our Sea Tow captains across the country to recommend items for an “offshore charter fishing checklist.” Included below are the results, a list of items that everyone should remember when preparing to charter an offshore fishing trip.
- Camera – be sure to bring something to capture quality photos of the fish of a lifetime, or something funny that happens.
- Cash – it’s customary to tip the captain and crew/mate at the end of the day and a good general rule of thumb 15 to 20% of the price you paid for your charter. This is only if they did a good job, helped you when needed, and put you on the fish.
- Sunscreen – typically something in the SPF 30 range and enough to apply several times throughout the day.
- Snacks / Lunch – many like to take fried chicken, sandwiches, or other items that are easy to keep fresh in a cooler and to prepare. Bring enough to offer some to the captain and crew. Cut sandwiches into smaller than normal sizes (i.e. a sandwich into quarters instead of halves) so you can eat it faster – you never know when you are going to get a fish on the line and need to focus on reeling it in! Remember, no bananas allowed on boats. If you know why, mention it in the comments below.
- Sea sickness medication – in case it gets rough or you have a tendency to experience motion sickness, it’s a good idea to bring medication that will help you make it through the day. Typically, a captain will not go back to the dock just because one person is sick. You should plan to be offshore for the entire trip.
- Sunglasses – a must have whenever on the water because the sun’s reflection and glare off the water can strain your eyes and in some instances damage them after extended exposer. Polarized glasses are not an absolute necessity, but they do help seeing deeper in the water and redirecting the sun’s reflection off the water.
- Hat – it’s always a good idea to bring a hat when you are in the sun for a long period of time. It will prevent sunburn on your head and also provide some protection for your eyes.
- Hand towel – this item can have multiple uses, like wiping your hands off, wiping sweat off your face, or you can dip it in the water and put on your neck to keep you cool.
- Water or other beverages – it’s good to bring some cold drinks and especially several bottles of water when going offshore. Bring enough to offer the captain and crew a few.
- Cooler – when dinner hits the deck of the boat it’s a good idea to have a cooler with you to transport any fish home and keep it cold and fresh.
With these items in mind, you’ll be ready to make your next offshore charter fishing trip a success, as long as the fish are biting. What is one item you like to take that we haven’t mentioned?