There are plenty of reasons to recommend the Florida Keys as a vacation destination, but with all those sandbars, flats, and channels, if you are an angler, you are truly spoiled for choice. Florida Keys are one of the best spots for fishing in the US. The perfect saltwater fishing gear that you need for your perfect fishing vacation in Florida. This is a guide on all the gear you need for saltwater and deep-sea fishing.
Angling aficionados will happily tell you that the Keys is a saltwater anglers’ paradise. Whether you arrive in January in search of Redfish in the shallow flats or come in June, which is a peak time for landing a Tarpon on your line, you can plan your fishing vacation with confidence that you will enjoy some good sport, provided you have all the right gear.
If you want to be a better fisherman, you need to have certain tools and gear at your disposal. For most fishermen, this means making a trip to the local sporting goods store or shopping online. But, before you spend any money, make this shopping list.
Tip: If you’re planning to travel or take a flight, you should learn how to travel with your fishing gear.
Must-Have Saltwater Fishing Gear
Are you about to go on a deep-sea charter fishing trip? Are you wondering what you should pack? If you are planning to go on a fishing trip, there are some things you need. Deep-sea fishing or saltwater fishing can be a lot of fun and also have many health benefits. But, if you don’t pack the right gear, you may not have the best time. What do you need to take with you?
Check out this deep-sea fishing trip packing list to learn everything that you need to bring.
A Fishing License
Not fishing gear, but you definitely need one. Without a fishing license, you won’t be able to partake in any fishing. If you’re aged 16 or older, you’re going to need a fishing license. Additionally, if you are deep-sea fishing off of a different state coastline than your current fishing license is for, you will likely need to purchase another license for the state you plan to fish from.
Luckily, you can easily purchase a fishing license online. You can also typically purchase a license at the landing the day you’re heading out. However, it’s best to check beforehand to make sure that this is possible. If you do decide to purchase your license at the landing, keep in mind that you’ll likely need to pay in cash.
Getting A Good Rod
The fishing rod is probably the most important piece of offshore fishing gear you’ll buy. Without it, you obviously can’t fish. Modern saltwater fishing rods are made from graphite or fiberglass to resist corrosion and chipping. Graphite rods are generally more expensive than fiberglass and are a lot stronger. Most beginners find using graphite easier and lighter. However, many opt for fiberglass because of the cost.
Make sure you get cleaning material for your rod, too. All fishing rods should be wiped down and cleaned after you’re done fishing. The length of the rod you need depends on where you’ll be fishing from and whether it’s on the beach, a boat, or off the pier.
A surf rod is one that you use when fishing on the beach. It involves casting into the ocean beyond the surf. Fish that can be caught at this depth can weigh up to 2 pounds, so you can get a decent catch this way. Your ideal rod will be 10 feet long.
Pier fishing rods are ones you use when fishing from a pier or jetty. They don’t need to be very long because you’re fishing right off the end of the pier.
Finally, deep-sea rods are used on a boat. They are usually made of strong material, like graphite, and are reinforced because these rods are designed to catch strong and powerful fish. Rods should be between 6 and 8 feet long.
Saltwater fishing reels must be strong and able to withstand the corrosive effects of the water. Usually, beginners choose the line that makes casting easy. Spinning reels are usually recommended for this. They’re also not affected by the wind. However, they’re heavy, and they take some getting used to.
A reel of this type needs to hold 100 yards of line.
What’s a fishing pole without a fishing line. You should use a monofilament line if you’ve never fished before. These lines are strong and thin. They can stretch and have low memory. This means if it’s been on your reel for a while it’s not going to mold to the shape of the reel when used. Monofilament lines do break down if they’re exposed to sunlight for long periods of time, however, so change it out every six months.
Lines usually come in colors or clear lines. Clear lines are less visible to fish but they can also make it hard for you to see the line in the water too.
Working with top spin-cast reels will make a huge difference in your fishing as well.
You need bait to attract fish. Bait can be real or artificial. While many old-school fishers will swear by real bait, some impressive synthetics have come onto the market recently. Shrimp is the most common saltwater bait. And, live shrimps are said to be some of the best bait to use.
They can be kept alive in a bucket of water.
You can also use cut bait if you’re going deep-sea fishing.
The Right Clothing
If you don’t pack the right clothing, you’ll likely be miserable most of your trip. Keep in mind that it gets a lot colder out on the open water than it does onshore. Even if you’re traveling to a very warm destination, you’ll still want to pack some layers.
Here’s what you should bring in terms of clothing:
- A windbreaker: This will protect you from spray and keep you warm in early mornings
- Lightweight shirts made from moisture-wicking material, such as polyester or polypropylene
- Gloves to protect your hands from line cuts, sunburn, and bad weather
Non-skid rubber-soled shoes (most sneakers will do just fine)
- In addition to rubber-soled shoes, you may also want to pack a pair of men’s or ladies’ muck boots. Also, make sure that the clothing you pack is light-colored so it can easily reflect the sun.
Finally, don’t forget a life jacket. While not technically a piece of fishing equipment, it could save your life out there if you’re thrown or fall overboard.
Weather Protection Gear
The last thing you want is for a bad sunburn to ruin your entire fishing trip. Here’s what you need in terms of weather protection gear:
- Lip balm
- Sunscreen (at least SPF 30)
- Polarized sunglasses (this help to cut through the glare on the water)
- Waterproof boots
- Waterproof jacket
- Rain pants
Remember that the weather can change very suddenly while at sea, so bringing the right gear is essential.
When you’re at sea, you’re going to go days without access to a pharmacy or convenience store. That’s why it’s essential that you bring the right items to stay healthy. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Bug spray
- Seasickness medication
- Small first aid kit (equipped with bandages, gauze, and antiseptic cream)
- Wet wipes and hand sanitizer
Also, remember to bring your prescription medications in their original bottle. If you suffer from any serious conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, or seizures, make sure to inform your captain.
Make sure you plan your trip and have everything you need for a successful and safe fishing trip. Once you have all that sorted, head to the Florida Keys any time you like, and you should be able to enjoy some great catches, whatever time of year you visit.
Now that you have this packing list handy, it’s time to get ready for your deep-sea fishing trip. Pretty soon, you’ll be enjoying the open waters.