Top 5 Things to Bring on a Fishing Trip!
A Positive Attitude.
Fishing is an amazing experience no matter where you are fishing or what you are fishing for. Fishing allows us to connect to nature. To get away from the noise of everyday life, and just spending time doing what you love. Nothing is better than sharing that experience with the people you love, whether it’s your parents, significant other, children or friends. Fishing can bring us all together and create memories that can last a life time. Having a bad attitude as well as having unrealistic expectations can ruin a fishing trip for you and the others around you. Fishing is fishing, and you can’t always make the fish bite. I hope that most guides would accommodate you with the price of the charter after a tough day of fishing, and possibly offer a discounted trip for next time. I can tell you that having a bad attitude will not get you any breaks from any guides, and none of those guides will want you back on their boat or even any of their guide buddy’s boats for that matter. If you don’t think that guides don’t share about bad experiences with clients to other guides you are sorely mistaken. A positive attitude should also be shown from your guide. I have had numerous clients tell me of other guided trips they have taken where the guide was not very friendly, had a poor attitude, the guide appeared to be hung over and not wanting to be there. You all spend a lot of money to go on fishing charters, and should be rewarded, if not with great fishing, but at least with respect and common decency from your guide and mate for that matter.
Any decent guide should prepare you for what to expect from the weather and other elements you should be dealing with on your trip. This not only goes for cold, rainy weather, but to hot and buggy situations. The summer here in Florida is hot to say the least. Having the right clothing can make for a great day on the water. I typically suggest wearing light weight clothing that is breathable and has some sort of sun protection (UPF or SPF of 50+ or more). The shirt should be long sleeved and the pants should be long as well. While it is not a must to have long sleeves or pants, it can protect you from not only the sun but from the bugs, mosquitoes and especially the No See Ums! Bring a hat. A hat will not only keep the sun off you head and face, possibly even your neck depending on the type of hat, but will also cut the glare down to allow for a greater ability to sight fish. Buffs or face shields can also be a life saver. They can keep the sun off your face, and neck. For women and long haired men a buff can also help keep your hair from blowing in your face on a windy day. The winter here is mild and sometimes it seems we don’t participate in it at all, but even with that being said. It can get cold down here especially on a windy day. Now I understand that for northerners the 40s and 50s is not cold, but on the water it can make for a nasty day especially if it’s wet and windy. The number one advice I give clients is to dress warm. I always say “You can always take layers off, but you can’t add them if you don’t have them.” Let me give you an example. I took two gentlemen from Wisconsin one winter. I told them to dress warm. One showed up with jeans and a long sleeve shirt and a light jacket. The other was in shorts, sandals, t-shirt and a sweater. I had socks shoes, jeans, long sleeve shirt, a short sleeve shirt, a jacket. On top of that I had my rain gear as a wind breaker a hat and buff. Needless to say I was toasty warms. After our morning run which was less than 10 minutes both guys were shaking so hard that they could barely fish. I had to give one guy my rain gear pants and the other my rain gear jacket. It took them about 3 hours before they stopped shivering.
A good pair of Polarized sunglasses may be one of the most important pieces of gear a fisherman can have. Depending on what type of fishing you are doing, from inshore to offshore, the color of the lenses will vary. Offshore glasses are typically blue mirror with grey lenses. For inshore, the green mirror lenses in either a copper, brown, or amber colored lenses are the best for shallow water flats fishing. In low light conditions the yellow lenses are ideal, as they can really make things stand out in cloudy overcast situation. I am not suggesting going out and buying three different types of glasses, but if you do buy a pair make sure they are POLARIZED! The green mirror glasses with polarized brown lenses are a great overall pair of glasses for any situation from fishing to driving. I am also not telling you to buy a $250 dollar pair, especially if you are a person prone to loosing things. As far as fishing goes, any pair of polarized sunglasses is better than no pair. For one thing you will have the chance to see fish, but they can also protect your eyes from accidents and bugs when running from spot to spot. Again emphasis on POLARIZED!!
Sunscreen and Bug Spray
I cannot emphasize enough the need for sunscreen and bug spray. I always have both on board, but I recommend bringing your own. There is not telling what people are sensitive to and the bug spray and sunscreen I have, you may not be able to use. Sunscreen is a must and the time of season doesn’t matter. The Florida sun can be relentless no matter what the temperature is outside. As mentioned before a hat and sun shield (buff), go hand in hand with sunscreen. Bug spray is also a must. Summertime is typically the worse time for bugs. The mosquitoes and no see ums can be relentless. That is also why I suggest clothing that covers everything. Bug activity is usually really bad early in the hours of the day. Bug activity tends to decrease as the day goes on, and increases again when the sun starts to set. I have had grown men cry like babies from the relentless no see ums chewing them alive. I have seen children break down in tears because the bugs were wearing them down. Bugs can be unbearable, but sometimes it’s part of the game so it is best to be prepared. On cloudy warm days I have had bug activity for 6 straight hours. Bugs activity tends to be worse the closer to shore you are.
Food and Drinks (NO BANANAS!)
Any good guide should provide enough water and ice for the day. I always suggest bringing something to snack on and any soda or adult beverages that you might want. With that being said don’t bring a big cooler that is going to take up a lot of space. My flat boat has minimal storage, but the cooler I do have is big enough for cold food and extra drinks. I suggest transferring your cooler contents to the one on the boat and leaving your cooler in your vehicle. Stuff that doesn’t have to be kept cold should be stored in a personal bag or can be stored in my cooler or hatches if there is enough left over. When it comes to alcohol NO GLASS BOTTLES are permitted. I have no problem with clients having a few beers while out on the water, but by no means is anyone going to get drunk. It is for your own safety, and if someone does get intoxicated I have no problems ending the trip and heading back to the dock. There is no telling how people act while under the influence, and that is why I do not allow for people to drink heavily. I am responsible for your safety, and if I feel you are becoming unsafe then I will cut you off or end the trip.
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