(photo: @polaris_supreme via Twitter)
Charter boats are a staple to Southern California fishing culture. They range in trip lengths from half-days to multiple weeks. For charters with longer durations, it is not uncommon for prices to reach into the thousands of dollars. With such a financial commitment accompanying this hobby, being prepared is the least you can do. Here are a few tips on how to plan for a multi-day trip.
What Should I Pack?
This includes rods, reels, terminal tackle, lures, etc. Make sure the gear you are bringing matches the species you might encounter and are targeting. Give the landing or boat a call the week of your trip and see what they plan on going after. You do not want to overload the deck with rods and reels, but coming with a decent quiver is expected by the crew. A typical recommendation is to have around 4-5 setups max. Having a spare reel or two can also save you a trip. Accidents, birds nests, and failures happen. You do not want to be caught short with no alternatives.
This is largely determined by the season and location you will be fishing. It is best to give the landing a call to see what they recommend based on current conditions. Regardless, clothing resistant to the elements is a necessity. Long sleeve cover ups to block the sun, windbreakers, and waterproof garments are great to bring along. You will be spending a lot of time exposed. Not preparing is a great way to ruin a trip. If you do not yet own a pair, consider deck boots a requirement.
You will need to bring all your toiletries with you. At the end of the day, you will be sleeping in a bunk in close quarters with multiple other people. No one likes to be around someone that smells like the bait tank and onions (but you should probably anticipate that anyway). Do not forget some sunblock!
If you are prone to or think you might get nauseous on the water, PLEASE do yourself the favor and bring some seasickness medication. Dramamine and Bonine are the two most commonly used. Also be sure to get some in your system prior to setting sail. It takes a while to start working. Waiting until you are already sick is the worst thing you can do. Anywhere from 12-2 hours before should be fine. If you are really worried, bring some Ginger Ale along as well. It is great at settling a queasy stomach. Perhaps the best medication to have is a mental block on the idea of getting sick in the first place. As long as you prepare, you will be fine!
How else can I prepare for a multi-day fishing trip?
As mentioned above, deck boots should be considered a requirement. They keep your feet protected and dry throughout your trip. As a precaution, many landings recommend bringing an extra pair of boots. If your primary pair gets damaged or wet inside, you will be happy you spent the extra cash.
Many go out on a trip with no plans for fish processing upon arrival. During busy seasons, it is fairly common for facilities not to have availability to take care of your catch. Take the time to call and make a reservation prior to leaving the dock. If you are unable to bring home any fish, you can always cancel. Even if you don’t think you will catch the big one, you will be happy and prepared if you do.
Getting your fish from the boat to your car and home can be a smelly endeavor if unprepared. Make sure to leave a cooler, cooler bag, or other form of transportation in your vehicle for your return. Our Fathom line of cooler bags is perfect for transporting your catch and not leaking in your car. You can check them out here.
Cash is preferred on charter boats for galley tabs, and especially crew tips. Regardless of how they can come off, deckhands work tremendously hard to give you the trip of a lifetime and want to see you have a great experience. It is a tough job and there is no better way to say thank you than a tip for their services.