October 4, 2019
Packing for your next fishing charter can either be exciting or stressful. If it’s your first charter you might be stressed out, not knowing what kind of food or drinks to pack, or whether you should bring that large beach bag or not. If you’ve been on a fishing charter before, you’re probably super excited and think you already know the basics. But we have a few inside tips just for you! Whether it’s your first charter or fiftieth, here’s everything you need to know about packing for your next paid fishing charter.
You’re going fishing… so of course the first thing you may think of packing is your fishing gear. But hold those seahorses! Most Professional Fishing Charters provide all the gear you’ll need for a successful day of fishing. If you feel that you just can’t leave your lucky rod and reel at home, then by all means bring along your gear! Just let your Captain or Guide know before arrival.
You’ll also need to double check with your Captain or Guide about fishing licenses or stamps for the anglers in your group. Each state has different regulations and you’ll want to make sure you’re compliant before heading out. The age of each angler is important, as is what type of fishing you will be doing. Whether you’re fishing from the shore, staying within state waters, or heading out to federal waters, the regulations are strictly enforced for the betterment of the fishery. Your Captain will know the requirements, and can let you know whether or not to pick up a license or permit before your trip. These are typically available online or at a local retail store that sells fishing equipment.
After the fishing gear is taken care of, let’s look at the basic necessities for any fishing adventure. Some of these are no-brainers, while others may surprise you.
Oddly enough, the most important item to pack for your fishing charter is your sunglasses. You may not think about it while inside your house, packing your bag… but trust us: Once you are out on the boat looking out at the bright, shiny water with sunshine reflecting off it, you will wish you had some sunglasses! And not just ANY sunglasses – get yourself a nice pair of polarized sunglasses. These specialized lenses help with that bouncing, bright sunshine, and can even help you spot fish beneath the surface. A good pair of sunglasses is worth the investment for all your fishing charter adventures.
Next on the basic list for fishing charters is a hat. Now, unlike sunglasses, you DO have some flexibility with what kind of hat you wear on your charter. Some passengers enjoy a cap or visor, while others go for the wide-brim sun-hat. Hats are great for protecting your face from the elements. So whether you experience sunshine or rain, your hat is a great addition for your fishing charter packing list.
Of course we can’t forget about the food and drinks, the final elements of your must-have items on your fishing charter. A nice light snack is great to have onboard in case anyone in the group needs a quick refreshment. Grapes, apples, chips, and pretzels are just a few of our personal favorites to pack. Your Captain or Guide may provide water or energy drinks, but feel free to bring these items along as well in a small cooler. And we recommend checking your Charter’s policy on having beer onboard, as each will have varying opinions. An insider tip, bring an empty grocery bag to store any trash you may have leftover.
We’ve already given one inside secret away: the empty grocery bag for trash. Another inside secret is a plastic bag to keep your personal items dry. Think along the lines of a Ziplock bag, something that you can seal shut so that water can’t infiltrate it. You’ll be able to store any cell phones, wallets, or keys in the bags and not worry about these items during your trip.
Another thing, if you’re harvesting fish on your charter trip, your Captain or Guide will typically clean and package your catch. Pro Tip: leave an extra cooler in your car to take your fillets home. You won’t have to worry about this tip for certain species that are only catch-and-release (Largemouth Bass comes to mind), but if you’re planning on bringing home your catch for a delicious dinner, then definitely store that extra cooler in your trunk!
Other good items to pack are related to the weather/environment that you will encounter on your charter. Consider packing bug spray, light hoodie, or a rain jacket. If you’re inshore fishing in Florida, definitely bring the bug spray. If you’re trolling Lake Michigan, a light jacket is recommended. And of course, you never know when you may need a rain jacket. When packing for your fishing charter, these items are good-to-have tricks-of-the-trade.
Now that you know what to pack, let’s take a quick look at what NOT to bring.
First item to leave at home: spray sunscreen. Don’t get us wrong, you will definitely want to wear sunscreen on your fishing trip, but Captains and Guides ask that you leave the spray sunscreen at home. The spray sunscreen tends to leave a filmy coat on the boat or makes the deck slippery and unsafe. Bring lotion sunscreen, leave spray sunscreen at home.
Second item that Captains don’t want on the boat: Glass. They will encourage you to bring your own drinks, whether it’s alcoholic or non-alcoholic, but please make sure that all containers are canned or plastic. If glass breaks on the boat it’s bad news for everyone. Broken glass on a boat deck can be camouflaged and very difficult to find, and Captains don’t want anyone getting hurt. So do everyone a favor and leave those glass bottles at home.
And finally, whether it’s a myth or legend – there’s just something about bananas. Captains simply don’t want bananas on their boat. Superstitions and stories abound of bad luck coming upon those who do carry bananas on charter boats. Now some Captains and Guides don’t believe in such stories, but it’s just best practice to leave the bananas at home. Pack those apples or grapes instead.
Now that you’ve reserved your Professional Charter, get those bags packed for a great day of fishing. Remember to grab a good pair of polarized sunglasses and your favorite hat, pack some snacks and refreshments, and be sure to have lotion sunscreen, NOT spray sunscreen. These are the ingredients for a nice, comfortable, and safe fishing trip. As always, discuss with your Captain and Guide before bringing anything onboard. You will want to follow the boat’s rules so that everyone walks away with smiles and fond memories of the amazing trip!
Planning a fishing trip?
Find a Fishing CharterSearch Trips