Fishing in Florida is full of surprises. Every experience is unique -- from the number of fish waiting to bite to the rapidly shifting weather conditions and more.
It’s no surprise the fishing boat charter industry has grown 2.9% in the last few years as a result.
The best thing people can do when adding a Florida fishing trip to their list is to start preparing. This means both mentally and physically -- because fishing in the deep waters off the coast of Florida isn’t easy. There are essentials every fisherman old and new must bring -- from the protective gear on their bodies to the equipment in their hands and even the clothes layered underneath it all.
It’s important that visitors and experienced locals alike dress and pack for the occasion -- but that doesn’t mean it has to lack style.
Florida Fishing Essentials: The Ultimate Checklist
Whether this is the first trip of your life or just the first trip of the season, here is an essential list of everything needed for a successful Florida fishing adventure.
It gets wet out on the open seas -- from quick bouts of rain to splashing waves. More likely than not, it’s going to get wet. The last thing a fisherman needs is to succumb to the cold elements thanks to a lack of protective, rain-ready outerwear.
It does get hot in Florida -- it’s just as hot out on the open ocean. However, make sure to plan ahead and bring some water-resistant outer layers to keep you dry on the inside.
Like we have said, it gets wet out there. With water comes the worry of people and things falling, slipping and sliding around.
The best way to reduce these risks is to bring extra towels along. Some charters will have these towels available. For those heading out on their own, it’s important not to forget this essential piece of equipment.
Layers are a great way to prepare for the sometimes-unpredictable weather of the Florida coast.
The sun is certainly strong, but sometimes the wind coming in from the open ocean can send a sharp chill down the spine.
Plan ahead and pack a number of layers so that you can layer up or down depending on how you’re feeling.
We didn’t know what a gunny sack was either, so don’t feel bad. But without one, a trip out to sea just isn’t the same.
A gunny sack is essentially a big burlap sack -- and it keeps the fish caught safe and fresh when laying out in the Florida heat. Don’t make the mistake of forgetting this necessity.
With the sun beating down hard, a hat is the best way to keep the scalp free of those detrimental rays.
Plus, it helps keep the hair out of your face and the salty spew of the ocean from getting into the eyes.
Closed-Toed Rubber Boots
A fall is never a good thing on a boat -- but the biggest reason these accidents happen is because of improper footwear.
Don’t become another statistic. Instead, plan to wear thick, rubber shoes that have heavy traction. This will keep you on your feet at all times.
It’s hard to hold onto a fishing rod and reel in a fish if your hands are wet and washed out! That’s why it’s important to bring gloves on your next Florida fishing adventure.
Thick, waterproof gloves will keep those digits safe from the harsh salt water.
In addition to that, they’ll keep you from burning your hands-on fast-moving fishing line and worse -- getting your fingers snagged and ripped off altogether.
There’s a lot flying around a deep-sea fishing trip. This includes fishing lines, water, chum and more. And none of that belongs anywhere need an eyeball.
Protect yourself and your eyesight with the proper gear.
Fish won’t bite without bait, that’s a given.
Learn about the types of fish your vessel aims to catch. If you’re lucky, the charter you partner with will provide the bait for you. However, it doesn’t hurt to be prepared with some extra.
This one is easy to forget, but it’s a downright must-have! Out in the open ocean, the skin is open to the harsh rays of the sun.
People burn quicker out there, so it’s important that sunscreen is applied heavily and frequently.
Doing this prevents the sun from doing damage that can hurt later on.
Circle hooks are the deep-sea fisherman’s essential. These hooks are made for saltwater fishing.
Depending on what kind of prey a fisherman is hoping to reel in, the size of the hook will change. However, it’s important to have a number of these hooks on hand.
Fish are unpredictable, and you never know when the line will break and a fish will get away.
Florida Fishing Essentials: How to Look Good and Feel Good Too
Fishing in the open waters is no easy feat. It’s exhausting, messy and frustrating at times. Nothing makes it worse than being ill-prepared.
That’s why it’s important to not only dress the part but bring the right materials to ace the trip like a real pro.
With these items in hand, the fish stand no chance!
Need more deep-sea fishing tips? Here’s everything you need to know about fishing off the Florida coast.