We know the story. You’ve saved your vacation dates, booked your flight, and are about to go on the trip of a lifetime. You’ve chosen a superb, fully equipped fishing charter and are all set to land the fish of your dreams. Your plane leaves tomorrow and it couldn’t reach its destination soon enough. There’s just one tiny hitch. You still haven’t packed. And you have no idea what you need to bring.
Don’t panic! Chances are you have most or all of the essentials lying around your home. To make sure your trip starts right, here’s our guide to what every angler should take with them when fishing on a charter, especially if you’re going overseas.
Wherever you’re traveling to, it’s important to bring plenty of layers if you’re planning to go out on the open water. Even the warmest destinations can experience large drops in temperature offshore. If you’re leaving the dock at 5:30 am you can’t rely on the sun to keep you warm from the start. At the same time, you’re not going to have a lot of shade out there so you need to make sure can take off outer layers if you need to.
- Windbreaker. This will protect you from spray and keep you warm on early morning starts.
- Shorts if you’re going somewhere tropical; long pants if not.
- Light weight shirt. Wearing a shirt will protect your arms and shoulders from sunburn. Linen is perfect for keeping the heat away from your skin.
- Light colored clothing. This reflects the sun to keep you cool in hot weather.
- Gloves. These will keep your hands protected from sun burn, bad weather and line cuts.
- Non-skid rubber soled shoes. Sneakers are perfect – flip flops aren’t recommended!
If you’re planning to go somewhere tropical you have probably already thought about packing sunblock. But heck, the sun even shines in Scotland sometimes! You don’t want to have to choose between having to hide in the cabin away from all the fishing action and getting a bronzing like a satsuma and skin that feels like it’s been rubbed with glass.
A lack of shade plus the ocean’s reflective glare can provide a very uncomfortable and unsafe experience if you’re not protected. At the same time, conditions can change very quickly out at sea and unexpected downpours can turn a fishing charter into a nightmare for unprepared anglers.
- Sunscreen. Make sure to get one that protects from both UVA and UVB rays.
- Lip balm. Lip balm with sun protection will stop your lips getting chapped out on the water.
- Hat. Hats with brims provide shade and decrease the risk of sun stroke.
- Polarized sunglasses. These will cut through the glare on the water to give you a better view of your target fish.
- Waterproof jacket and rain pants. These are essential if you come across bad weather when you’re out at sea.
Foreign pharmacies can be unnerving, especially when there’s a language barrier. At the same time, when you’re in another country you can never rely on being able to find the same medicines that are usually available over the counter at home. It’s easier and safer to bring any medical equipment you think you might need on your trip with you, starting with:
- Seasickness medication. If you’re prone to seasickness, stock up on over the counter remedies before you leave. Bonine and Dramamine can both be effective but should be taken a couple of hours in advance of the trip. It’s always best to avoid combining anti nausea remedies with coffee. Avoid having too much to drink the night before if you want to have a puke-free trip!
But that’s not all you’ll need from the pharmacy. We also suggest:
- Bug spray. This is an essential wherever you’re traveling to. Where there’s water, there are bugs, so come prepared!
- Small first aid kit. Come equipped with band aids and antiseptic cream. This should be included on the boat but it’s easier for everyone if you bring your own means of dealing with minor cuts and grazes.
- Hand sanitizer and wet wipes. No one wants to eat a sandwich when their hands are covered in fish slime.
- Prescription medicines (in their original prescription bottle). If you suffer from diabetes, seizures, or high blood pressure, make sure to inform your captain and bring your meds with you. Your captain needs to be aware of any potential situations on the water and could get into trouble if medication you bring on board is not in its original packaging.
Just the same as if you were going on a fishing trip in your home town, you need to bring a variety of bags and containers on a foreign fishing charter. This lets you bring your stuff on board without worrying that it will be damaged by sea salt and spray.
- Backpack. Serious anglers might benefit from a specialist fishing backpack that you can take on the plane as hand luggage. Alternatively, any sturdy bag will usually do the job. Just don’t pack your supplies for the day in your brand new Gucci handbag.
- Collapsible cooler. This can easily fit into your hold luggage and will keep any food and drink you want to take on board with you fresh and cool. A double zip lock bag filled with ice from your hotel is a smart alternative to bringing gel ice on the plane.
- Drinking bottle. Keeping water or an energy drink in a sports bottle will keep you hydrated and you won’t have to worry about leaks or spills.
- Waterproof bag. It’s a good idea to bring a small waterproof zip lock bag for your electronic items and important documents such as your passport and fishing license.
- Camera. A camera or smartphone is essential for you to record your trophy catch. Consider investing in a chest harness to record the thrill of a fight without having to let go of the rod to use the controls.
- Hand towel. Fishing can get messy!
- Swimsuit. You never know, the fishing might get slow and then you could want to take a dip or go snorkeling.
- For serious anglers: If you don’t want to leave home without your favorite equipment, pack your gear, too.
This is, no doubt, a long list. To make things easier to memorize, we’ve created this downloadable infographic containing some most important items you’ll want to pack.
If you need more information on how to go about fishing for the first time, visit our Fishing Tips for Beginners blog. And if you haven’t booked your fishing charter holiday yet, now’s the time to find a charter near you and book the trip of a lifetime!
What can’t you live without when you go fishing abroad? Have we missed something? Let us know in the comments section below.
Cat Tyack spends almost every spare moment she has outside. Whether it’s hiking, horseback riding or fishing, she’s always looking for her next adventure in the great outdoors. Having been fishing on several continents, her most memorable fishing moment was casting poppers to Mahi Mahi in the shadow of enormous oil barges in the Arabian Sea.