When it is the middle of summer in the great state of sunshine, the possibilities are endless. These are the days of jumping off of a dock somewhere or perhaps you prefer a cool, clear pool. If you travel anywhere near the beach, you are bound to see some visitors from my neck of the woods as we North Georgians flock to the Florida beaches every chance we get. For me, growing up in Frostproof, summer meant more time to fish. I have very fond memories of grabbing a coke and a bag of donuts from Harvey’s convenience store and falling back asleep in a boat as we traveled across a lake to the ‘sweet spot’ where all the bass were expected to be. We would fish until the sun ran us back ashore and I’d watch my dad clean our catch and prepare it for lunch.
Last week, I found a new love for Florida fishing adventures. I took my dad deep-sea fishing off the coast of Clearwater. I had the best time and am counting down the days until I can go again. I was able to learn a thing or two and have some tips I’d like to share on what to bring with you when you go and what can be left behind.
What to bring:
Sunscreen- Most boats have a shaded or inside area where you can hide from the bright rays if necessary. That being said, you don’t want to be stuck inside avoiding Mr. Sunshine while others are reeling in your catch.
Hat- I suggest a ball cap or other tight fitting hat. Even after the boat stops there is usually a breeze that kicks up off of the waves. The last thing you want to do is buy a new summer hat and watch as it sinks to the bottom of the ocean.
Snacks- Many boats have food available for purchase, especially all-day charters. This is helpful when you want to sit down for a meal but while fishing, you will probably need a light snack and lots of water. You will want to get the all-clear to bring aboard your own small cooler so that you can have what you need to get you through the trip. I suggest several bottles of water and another beverage of choice. You can pack something light, like fruit and nuts or you can go ahead and fix up some sub sandwiches, depending on your usual appetite. Remember that you will have your hands in bait and hopefully fish as you’re snacking so you may want to consider bringing along a fork or at least some hand sanitizer.
What not to bring:
Your own equipment- These things are provided for you and while you may prefer your own, the crew that will be working the boat are familiar with theirs. If you end up needing help, you will want them to be able to get you fixed up quickly without cutting into your fishing time. *Note- most boats have banned braided line so even if you decide to bring your own rod, check before trying to bring this on board. The concern is tangling issues with your fishing neighbors as you can sometimes find yourself working closely with the fishermen beside you.
A banana- While I am not a superstitious person, many fishermen are. Bananas are considered to be bad luck when brought on-board a fishing trip and will get you a few looks. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, in the 1700s when boats would carry loads of bananas from one shore to another, they would have to move quickly to keep the bananas from spoiling in the sun. This meant very little time for the crews to fish and it was eventually assumed that the bananas were the reason no fish were pulled in. The other concern is that bananas cause your boat to sink. This also dates back to the same time period when many of the frail boats used to carry loads of bananas would sink under the weight, leaving hundreds of bananas floating in the water above the wreckage.
A firearm- Most boats simply do not allow them.
A fishing license- You won’t need to obtain your own license. Charter boats are equipped with all the proper licensing.
For more information about my trip, visit https://www.zerve.com/c/1414610/fanpage/2381880 or search for Queen Fleet Deep Sea Fishing. If you have even the slightest interest in fighting a big fish into a boat with you, I highly recommend deep-sea fishing. Give it a try and let me know what you catch!