Fishing Charter Checklist: 15 Essential Things to Bring

Imagine sitting in the middle of a beautiful lake or ocean, fishing line in the water, waiting for that big fish to bite. It sounds like a wonderful trip! You probably spent a lot of money chartering this fishing trip, and you don’t want anything to go wrong.

Making sure you pack all the essential supplies can ensure you have the trip of a lifetime. Getting sunburned, not having enough water, or not bringing the right fishing gear can make being on a boat miserable. So how do you know what to bring on a charter fishing trip?

Don’t worry! We’ve made a fool-proof fishing charter checklist with everything you’ll need to bring to cover all the bases on your next fishing charter. Let’s take a look!


1. Fishing License

Before your excursion, you’ll want to look into getting a fishing license. Some charters will cover this, but it’s important to check if you need one. Obtaining a fishing license is fairly simple, and in most states, you can take care of this online.

You definitely do not want to go on your trip without one, as you can end up with a hefty fine. Also, the money from your fishing license goes to wildlife protection and conservation!

If you haven’t been deep sea fishing, are wondering what to expect and if its worth the cost check out this article for some helpful insight.

2. Standard Fishing Gear

The full list of gear you need depends on what kind of trip you’ve chartered. Every trip will need the standard supplies, though, and that includes:

  • Rod and Reel
  • Tacklebox with extra lines, hooks, and sinkers
  • Bait (or you can catch your own at the start of the trip)

If you’re wondering what to bring deep sea fishing, make sure you research the fish in the area you’ll be going to and get a rod and reel that can handle that type of fishing. 

3. Snacks and Drinks

You’re probably going to be out on the water for a long period of time. This means sitting in the hot sun for hours. You want to be sure you bring plenty of water to keep you hydrated. 

Snacks are always a good idea as well. Bring some high-protein snacks to keep you full and nourished throughout the day. Being hungry can really put a damper on your experience.

4. Coolers and Ice Packs

You’ve packed all the water you need! But now it’s sitting in the hot sun getting warmer and warmer. It’s always a good idea to bring a cooler to keep your food and drink nice and cold, especially on a hot day.

Be sure to fill your cooler with lots of ice or ice packs and keep it in the shade to keep it cooler for longer.

5. Protection from the Sun

A sunburn can ruin anyone’s trip. Not only does the sun burn your skin, but more serious conditions such as heat stroke and sun poisoning can happen as well.

To protect yourself from the sun, you’ll want to bring high SPF sunblock and a hat. The sun reflects off the water, which is where you’ll be staring once your line is cast out. Your eyes can actually burn just like your skin can. Invest in some nice polarized sunglasses to protect yourself.

6. Protection from Weather

We all want gorgeous weather during a vacation, but that doesn’t always happen. Storms or rain showers can quickly happen when you’re out at sea or on a lake. Even in hot weather, being wet and rainy on a boat can get chilly pretty fast.

Bring a rain jacket or poncho to protect yourself from getting drenched. An extra pair of long sleeves to throw on under your jacket is always a good idea.

7. Proper Fishing Apparel

If you get lucky and you do have beautiful weather, you’ll also want to be sure you’re wearing the proper attire for a fishing trip. A light, long-sleeved shirt or T-shirt can protect you from overheating in the sun. Shorts and a nice hat can also keep you comfortable.

A bathing suit seems obvious, but you’ll be surprised how many people don’t think of it! Taking a dip after a long day fishing in the sun is a must.

8. Insect Repellent

You might think there are no bugs out on the ocean, but they will definitely follow you there. Packing an efficient insect repellent can save you from future itching and scratching.

9. Waterproof Storage

Spending the day on a boat means you’re bound to get wet, and so will your supplies. If you have items with you that need to stay dry, you’ll want to bring some waterproof storage. There are tons of waterproof bags out there that can easily solve this dilemma. 

10. Personal Care Items

Make sure you bring any personal care items you’ll need throughout the day. Be sure you bring any medication you need so you won’t have to take an emergency trip back to shore. If you get sea-sick easily, bring something that works for you to ease the discomfort. 

11. First Aid Kit

Accidents happen all the time. Having a first aid kit allows you to quickly take care of any mishaps like cuts, scrapes, and bug bites.

12. Towels and Wipes

As I mentioned earlier, you’re going to get wet! Whether that’s because you’re jumping in the water or simply getting splashed on the way to your spot, you’ll want to be able to dry off with a towel. Sanitary wipes are also a great idea. Touching bait and fish all day can start to feel pretty yucky. 

13. Tool Kit

A tool kit can come in handy when making quick fixes to your gear. A small knife, scissors, and pliers or tweezers are great tools to have on hand when fishing.

14. Flashlights and Headlamps

If you are doing a night charter or a full day charter that continues after dark, you’ll definitely want to bring flashlights and headlamps. Yes, your boat will most likely have lights, but for small tasks like fixing gear or baiting hooks, the extra flashlight can make a big difference.

15. Camera

Last but not least, you want to bring a high-quality camera to document your trip. You can even invest in a waterproof camera to make sure you catch every moment, wet or dry.

Wrap Up

You want to get the most out of your fishing excursion. Don’t be that person who has to borrow extra supplies from other people on your trip and doesn’t know what to bring on a charter fishing trip. The more prepared you are, the more space you have for fun and adventure! Double-check your list before you go and enjoy your experience! 

Aaron Warner

Aaron Warner is an avid angler with over 15 years of experience. He has participated and won fishing tournaments all over the country and enjoys fishing for bass, trout, walleye and other species.

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