If you’re used to fishing from the banks or shoreline of your favorite lake or coastal area, you might be wondering just what type of clothing and gear you’ll need to wear when it comes to going on a fishing charter. Not everyone is fortunate enough to have the opportunity to venture out miles offshore with a professional fishing captain and charter service, so it’s important that you make the most of every opportunity and have the right gear and outfit for the occasion.
When it comes to deciding what to wear on a fishing charter, it’s first important to have a basic understanding or expectation of what you’ll be catching and what the weather will be like as well. You’ve likely watched television shows or Youtube channels that show anglers reeling in massive fish from the stern of a private sportfishing boat, but how many times have you actually paid attention to what these folks are wearing?
In this article, I will discuss some of the most important items you can wear or take with you when you take your next trip with a charter boat. I have been on dozens of fishing charters over the years and have created this checklist to help myself from forgetting important items.
Even if you’re a seasoned angler who has been on numerous fishing charters before, you might still find one or two items on our list that you haven’t thought of before.
Table of Contents
1. A Fishing Hat
If we’re starting from the top, the most important thing you can wear on a fishing charter is arguably a good hat. Fishing charters often travel many miles offshore in order to find the best fishing grounds that are usually located around underwater reefs, shipwrecks, and other locations.
As you might have guessed, there is virtually no shade on a fishing boat unless you’re fortunate enough to book a trip with a charter that offers a boat with a covering or interior section where you’ll be able to go and cool off. In most cases, you’ll have little to no shade at all for the entire duration of your charter boat fishing trip.
This means that it’s extremely important that you wear a good hat to protect your head, face, and neck from the sun’s dangerous UV rays, as well as to keep you cool while you’re on the water.
2. A Fishing Shirt
Fishing shirts have become quite popular in recent years as people from all walks of life have started wearing them for the simple fact that they’re extremely comfortable and help keep you cool when the weather gets hot. In today’s market, there are a number of fishing shirts that can range from the slitted back versions to the solid breathable material that is extremely effective at wicking away sweat on hot days.
Regardless of the exact style of fishing shirt you choose to wear, it’s crucial that you choose a shirt that will keep you cool and allow any breeze to flow through the fabric or any openings in the shirt.
Most fishing shirts are made in lighter colors, but it’s important to wear a color that won’t absorb too much sunlight and leave you overheating in the hot sun all day.
3. Polarized Sunglasses
This item is one that few people forget to wear on a fishing charter because most anglers are already aware of the benefits that come from wearing sunglasses on the water. Having a solid pair of polarized sunglasses will allow you to not only block out much more of the sun’s UV rays and protect your eyes, but will also help cut through the annoying glare that sits on the water’s surface.
A quality pair of polarized sunglasses will allow anglers to see into the water to a much greater degree and have a much clearer visual on anything that’s beneath the boat. This is important when you’re fighting a large fish and trying to keep track of where it’s running in order to position yourself and the rod in the best location to land it.
4. Chum Rag
Unless you’re using artificial lures, you’re likely to be handling quite a bit of smelly, bloody and slimy bait while you’re out on a fishing charter. Anyone who is an experienced angler and has been on a number of fishing charters is likely aware of the value in having a chum rag, or virtually any kind of rag that will allow you to wipe your hands clean before grabbing your reel.
5. Boat Shoes
This is another item that goes along with preparing to deal with a messy situation as you’ll be dealing with quite a bit of blood, bait, and seawater hitting your shoes and feet while fishing on a charter boat. Rookie anglers will usually assume that it’s more comfortable to wear flip flops or sandals on a fishing charter, but anyone with experience knows that you’ll want to protect your feet and avoid getting bloody chum and anything else on your toes all day while fishing.
If you’re just getting started and you don’t have the means to purchase a quality pair of boat shoes, try to instead opt for a good pair of non-slip soles as they will help you maintain your footing as you stand and walk around a boat that’s being tossed around with the waves. It’s not uncommon to slip and fall while wearing casual shoes on a fishing charter and doing so could result in injury.
Believe it or not, you can benefit greatly by wearing a decent pair of gloves on your fishing trip with a charter boat. Having a pair of good fishing gloves will help to protect your hands from being sunburned or constantly soaked with saltwater, which can be quite annoying over the course of an entire day’s fishing trip.
A good pair of gloves will also mean that you can get a better grip on the rod for those intense fights with giant fish that lurk deep below the ocean’s surface.
7. Light Jacket
If you’re fishing in moderately warm or virtually any time of year between spring and late autumn, it’s a good idea to pack a light jacket in case you find yourself in temperatures that are a bit cooler than expected. Remember that the winds on the ocean are often steady, so if you’re dealing with below-average temperatures, you might want to stay comfortable and warm with a decent jacket.
8. Neck Gaiter
While you’re on a fishing charter, one of the most exposed areas on your body will usually be your neck. Many anglers make the serious mistake of not wearing sunscreen or having any sort of covering for their neck, which can lead to serious sunburn during your trip.
There are a large number of companies that now produce neck gaiters that are quite fashionable and allow you to adequately cover your face and neck when you want, which can greatly reduce the chance that you’ll end up with significant issues from sun exposure.
9. Sunscreen and Lip Balm
Last, but certainly not least, on our list of what to wear on a fishing charter is a good type of sunscreen and lip balm. You might not necessarily need much sunscreen if you’re wearing plenty of fabric that will cover most of the exposed skin on your body, but it’s always a good idea to bring some along just in case.
Lip balm is also a very important item that often gets overlooked by novice anglers who are not accustomed to fishing on a charter boat. Having some quality lip balm will guard against any damage from the sun’s UV rays and will also help diminish any effects that the wind is likely to have on your lips.
Remember, once you’ve left the port or dock on your trip, most fishing charters will not turn around and go back for any reason outside of a major emergency. This means that you’ll have to get by with what you bring and if you forget an item, you might be forced to rely on going without, or asking a fishing buddy if they have an extra pair of shades, shirt, or especially sunscreen. If you do happen to forget something important, you can usually ask the charter boat deckhands or captain if they have extra clothing or gear items stored on their boat.