Going fishing is about a lot more than catching fish. It’s time spent doing something you love—something many of us enjoy sharing with our favorite people. It’s nature at its finest, time suspended and worries left behind.
Even so, quirky things can and do happen. It’s part of being in a natural environment. So, the best way to have a great offshore fishing trip is to be prepared for anything. Here are some tips from our fishing pros on how to be prepared for anything.
Take motion sickness medication well in advance, and bring enough with you to re-dose appropriately.
Motion sickness or “getting seasick” can affect anyone—even seasoned commercial fishing pros. It happens when your brain can’t coordinate what your senses are reporting. That’s why even a strong smell, for example, can set it off or make it worse. People often feel just fine until they suddenly don’t.
Pros recommend taking medication the night before so that it’s already working in your system. Then, for the day of the trip, they recommend smaller doses taken as directed or needed with a little bit of food to keep drowsiness at bay. Prescription patches for adults are also available through your healthcare provider.
Make sure that you’re well-hydrated before the trip and that you stay hydrated throughout the trip.
Our bodies are mostly water—60-75 percent on average. When we become dehydrated, everything suffers. Our brain becomes less efficient, our attention span deteriorates, and even memory and logic can become problematic. Out on the water, we become more prone to motion sickness and can have trouble regulating body temperature.
Pros recommend drinking plenty of water the day before. For the trip, be sure to check with your captain about what supplies you may need to bring. In some cases, water may be provided. If not, be sure to bring your own cooler of water, ice and whatever other beverages you’ll want for the day. That way, you’ll have the drinks you prefer and be more likely to stay hydrated.
Skip the alcohol if you can.
Alcohol is a diuretic. Simply put, it will make you lose more water than you should. When you drink alcohol, it tells your body to release water even though it might need it. This can exacerbate dehydration, which can cause severe sickness out on the water. If you do plan to drink, be sure to pair your alcohol with plenty of water to compensate.
Stick to simple foods before and during your fishing trip.
An empty stomach can result in motion sickness—and irritability, poor judgement and fatigue. However, you don’t want to eat anything that might irritate or upset your digestive system, so that means staying away from foods that are rich, spicy, heavy, fatty or greasy, for example. Stress and excitement can already throw off a sensitive system, and eating foods that are harder for your body to digest can increase the likelihood of motion sickness or upset stomach.
Pros recommend avoiding overindulgence the night before to prevent food hangovers as well as forego the big hearty breakfast. Stick to a light but nourishing breakfast, and pack food and snacks for the trip that are low-fat, easily portioned and unlikely to spoil.
Use sunscreen, and reapply as recommended.
The tips of your ears will burn, and so will just about every other part of your body—including hands. The sun is strong out on the water simply because there is no shade. What little shade there is on a boat is usually below deck or in a cabin that’s likely to invite motion sickness. The best place to be is busy fishing in the open air above deck. That means sun exposure for any body area that’s not covered—and maybe even what is covered if fabric is thin or loose.
Pros recommend using a lotion sunscreen that is broad spectrum—includes protection against both UVA and UVB rays—SPF 30 or more, and water resistant or very water resistant. Sunscreen should be applied 30 minutes before exposure and every two hours thereafter. A common guideline is one shot glass of sunscreen per adult body per application. Leave aerosols at home, but don’t forget a sunscreen balm for lips and zinc oxide for extra-sensitive noses.
Bring your binoculars!
There’s so much to see out on the water. Binoculars are also a great way to find both birds and fish—particularly fish that spook easily. They’re also nice for taking a more detailed look at what’s around. If you have children with you or individuals who need a fishing break, binoculars offer another activity and vantage view.
Pros recommend a standard 7/50 pair of binoculars that offer nice resolution and are easy to hold steady.
Wear polarized sunglasses and a hat.
Glare can really strain the eyes, and you’re going to be looking out at water and sky for hours. Sunglasses are a must. Polarized lenses are best. Polarized lenses have a chemical applied to filter light. The molecules are aligned to create vertical openings to let in only vertical rays of light. Meanwhile, the vertical configuration blocks horizontal glare like the light reflected off of a body of water, for example. While images are a bit darker, they’re also crisper and clearer.
Pros recommend polarized lenses—blue are reportedly the best for spotting fish and seeing down into the water. For protection from above, make sure you have a good hat that fits.
Make a list of things you’ll need for your offshore fishing trip.
While a fishing charter captain will usually provide all the gear and tackle you need to catch fish, you may want additional items for your own comfort. In addition to packing food and beverages, some other things to consider bringing include your own hand towels, tissues, sanitizer wipes, gloves, and maybe even a few basic first aid items like Band-Aids and a sting kit, for example. Other items include a fish bag or cooler for your catch, waterproof bags and fanny packs.
Pros recommend checking with your fishing charter company or captain to confirm what they provide versus what you should bring yourself. Be aware that space on even the largest boats is limited, so captains may have set guidelines for cooler sizes and what you should bring.
Be prepared for strong odors.
Fishing trips often have a number of distinct smells associated with them. Exhaust fumes from diesel fuel or gasoline can trigger motion sickness in some people. The bait bucket can also be a source of odors that some find difficult to handle. Even food that you or others bring can yield more of an aroma punch than you might expect.
Pros recommend being aware of odors and positioning yourself so that you can enjoy clear air or wind. By the way, fish typically don’t like our scents either, and that includes the scents we leave on the bait we touch.
Your Next Great Fishing Trip Is Calling
Perhaps our most valuable tip is to hire a trustworthy charter captain who knows the area. Especially if you want to try fishing for a species you haven’t caught before or try exploring an area that’s unfamiliar to you, hiring an experienced captain who knows the area well can relieve a lot of stress and prevent costly mistakes that waste time.
Local captains know the water in detail. They know which fish are in season as well as when and where they can be found and how to catch them. They also know some of Louisiana's most scenic places to fish.
Louisiana’s shores and the gulf offer a wide range of fish habitat, types of fishing and fish species. If you'd like more fishing news and detailed insights that can help you plan the right trip for you, explore more of our Louisiana Charter Boat Association blogs. Or—if you’re ready to go—use our site to find the perfect captain for your next Louisiana fishing trip.
Motion Sickness https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UaGrQ4gnMhc
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