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Things to know when going sea boat fishing

The allure of the open ocean is one that is unparalleled for many with an adventurous spirit. The untamed deep covers so much of the planet on which we live, and yet, we know so little about it.

Deep-sea fishing allows us to carve our own stories into the vast open tablet of history the sea provides us.

The sea holds such an allure for some, that there is even an entire genre of novels about the sea!

For this reason, we’ve provided you with all of the information that you will need when fishing in the open sea, including a few things you’ll want to have on hand, what you can expect, and some of the things that you might not have expected at all!

The three P’s of fishing

Yes, I know you want to get started already, but the three P’s are a big part of any fishing trip.

They are, “preparation, preparation, preparation.”

As with most fishing that you do, the prep work that goes into your trip will have huge effects on how you experience it!

First off, you’ll want to check the weather forecast for the area that you’ll be fishing.

Don’t be stingy with your data plan either – check the forecast frequently to ensure that you prepare accordingly (the weather can change quickly).

Reach out to your guide or captain

Next, you’ll want to get in touch with your captain or guide.

Remember, sea boat fishing is conducted on someone else’s boat – there are rules and traditions that you should observe.

You’ll also want to ensure that whoever is going to be taking you out to sea is aware of concerns, queries, or requests that you’ll have. Let’s cover a few of these.

       Ask about the spot you’ll be fishing.

       This will give you an idea of what kind of species you might expect as well as an area to set into your weather forecast app!

       Check what type of equipment the crew has on board.

       It’s great to have a handle on the type of gear you’ll be using on the water, so when you ask about this, take notes. There is a huge amount of saltwater fishing gear out there, including specialist saltwater rods, saltwater reels and tackle.

       A quick Google search will give you a great deal of insight into the gear available and will help you establish what you should bring if you’ve picked up that it won’t be available onboard.

       Don’t be afraid to ask about the species available in the area

       Doing some light research on the species you’ll be fishing will go a long way when you’re pulling them from the water.

       You may also be on the hunt for a specific species, so when you’re talking to your guide about species, be sure to mention the one’s that you’d like to bag (the captain also puts a great deal of planning into your trip, so try to provide as much information about your expectations as possible.

       As I mentioned, there may be a set of rules or guidelines to follow when you’re on board. Most reputable vessel hires will expect that you have the proper licensing to fish in that area.

       Ask about daily catch limits – if you’re having a cracker out there and fill your quota early, you may have to head back to the marina before you’ve had a chance to run down the clock, so establishing this is a big part of your prep.

       Establish pricing!

       You may be under the impression that the rate you were quoted for the day is “all-inclusive”, which can sometimes prove to not be the case.

       Establish with your guide beforehand whether fuel is covered as part of your package, or if you’ll need to budget for this separately.

       Establish the cost of cleaning and filleting of your haul for the day too, as this will likely be a separate cost.

       You’ll also want to budget for tips, but we’ll elaborate on this separately.

       Ask your guide or captain if live bait is available for purchase at the marina or onboard

       You’re probably going to need this and if you don’t have any on hand when you cast out, you’ll lose time fishing for this before you can get your hands on the big catches!

       The last thing you’ll want to do is to confirm your booking with your guide intermittently.

       Bad weather, mechanical issues, or even repairs at the marina can leave you without a vessel – so it’s best to nail down the details of your booking and ensure all is on track more than once!

       Most charters will send you a breakdown of guidelines as well as your itinerary for the day when they confirm your booking.

       You can also check their website for helpful tips – here’s an example of a charter that provides information about your pre-game plan

Don’t show up naked (what you’ll want to wear)

I don’t mean literally naked, although; you probably shouldn’t do that either as there aren’t a lot of ‘clothing optional’ sea boats to choose from.

Nonetheless, wearing clothing or gear that won’t aid you in your trip isn’t a great idea, so here are some fashion items and ideas that you may want to keep in mind:

       Wear layers

       This is something that you’ll hear just about every seasoned angler offer as advice because it really is important.

       The weather can turn in minutes on open water, so it’s good to wear layers that you can remove or add as needed.

       Rubber, non-skid shoes

       This could genuinely save you from a grizzly fall, so make sure you wear the appropriate (closed-toe) boots for the job!


       I personally like to wear a hardwearing pair of gloves when I go out to sea, as they provide grip on both the boat and my catch. You might not be obligated to on your chartered vessel, but it doesn’t hurt to have these on hand.


       No one wants to look like a British cricket fan, so make sure to wear sunscreen – a lot of it! Take with you as well, you may want to reapply.


       Take with you also a hat, sunglasses (preferably polarized), and a smile and you’ll be set for a great time on the water.

       This post provides even more information for what you may need, so be sure to check it out if you’re still unsure

The extras you’ll need:

Aside from what you wear, what you take on board with you is important too, so here’s a short list of items you may want to have on you:

       A backpack

       There’s really not much to say about this, you’ll need something to hold all your stuff – backpacks are good for that.

       A collapsible cooler bag.

       Some vessels will offer you food and drink onboard, but it’s always good to carry some of your own (just in case). Here are some ideas for what to take with you ( Make sure you have at least two bottles of water per person. Again, this may be available, but having your own is a good backup.

       Ziploc bags.

       These will come in handy for the storage of food, documents like passports, and electronics.

       A small first aid kit.

       Be sure to include sea sickness medication in this! Even if you are not prone to seasickness, you’d rather have and not need than not have and need.

       Don’t forget your camera.

       You never know what you or your companions might catch and you’ll want to document what you do catch.


       Finally, you’ll want to take a cooler box to transport what you catch.

       Find out from your captain if you should leave this behind to fill later or keep on board.

The trip itself

Great, we know what we need to do to adequately observe the three P’s and we’re heading out into the deep blue.

When you’re on the water, there are a couple of things that you should be aware of.

Listen for tips

First, the captain and the crew have the privilege of fishing and helping others fish most days of the week, which provides them with a great deal of insight into sea boat fishing.

Listen to what they have to say, they’re there to help you learn and anything they have to say will most likely become invaluable information that could improve your fishing experience, long after your trip has ended.

Interact with the crew

You can establish a great connection with the crew on board by introducing yourself upon arrival.

Here’s a great guide for making sure that your captain is a good fit for you or your group.

You should also feel free to ask the crew questions. Most sea boats available for charter understand that helping novice anglers get a feel for the sport is part of their service and will gladly assist you in any way that they can.

Research ahead of time

Depending on where and with whom you’re fishing, factors such as weather, the type of fight you can expect from the fish available, and other variables may change.

Once again, you can learn what to experience onboard by contacting your charter before the trip day.

Wrapping Up

I hope that I’ve offered you enough information to convince you to book your next sea boat fishing trip – honestly, it’s likely an experience that you will never forget.

If I’ve managed to pique your interest, but you’re concerned about the potential of danger, you shouldn’t let this deter you from an experience of a lifetime.

Feel free to share!

If you’re planning for your sea boat trip and found this information useful, share it with your friends who could use it!


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