When you’re heading out onto the open ocean for an 11-hour day on a fishing boat, it’s vital that you pack your gear accordingly.
With the limited space that fishing boats tend to offer, you need to be sure that you take the bulk of your gear into account.
On a recent trip out of Southern California’s Mission Bay, we headed all over the San Diego area two days in a row looking for rock fish and calico bass, and even traveled south into Mexican waters to chase down dorado and yellowtail.
Here’s the gear that we brought along to keep us comfortable and safe from the elements.
First and foremost, you need a solid hat. While many people lean toward a classic baseball-style cap for a day on the water, we wanted to make sure our entire shoulders-up area was covered. For this, we chose to bring along a hat from the Hemlock Hat Co.
Not only did this hat keep us protected from the sun all day long, but it felt snug and comfortable the entire time. It breathed so well and stayed put, even when we were jamming in the boat from kelp paddy to kelp paddy looking for some action.
With so many prints to choose from, Hemlock Hat Co. has a flavor for just about anybody — and they even ship with multiple colors for the chin string for added style.
While you certainly need to be picky about the gear you bring, it’s almost more important to be picky about the bag you pack it all in.
We wanted something that would be 100 percent waterproof, no matter what type of water contact we came across.
The Patagonia Stormfront Roll Top Pack was the ticket. It fit our cameras, dry clothes, towel, phone, keys and wallet into a tight package that could withstand whatever the sea threw at it. It even has a strap on the side for your fishing pole(s) and a handy pocket on the inside for all of your smaller items.
We definitely won’t ever board another boat without one.
Another absolute must-have is good pair of polarized shades. We wanted something lightweight, something built right and (obviously) something that looked really nice.
Raen’s Wiley frames with black polarized lenses couldn’t have fit the bill better. We barely noticed them on our face, and they cut the glare so well on the water that we could even spot the gorgeous dorado swimming near the boat.
After taking them off at the end of the day, our eyes felt great, which is huge when it’s time to fillet up your catch, slap it on the grill and talk about all the great times you had that day.
When spending an entire day swaying back and forth from stern to bow, you need to be able to move well and handle a little bit of saltwater. The Brixton All-Terrain Prospect Service Short’s 19-inch length and nylon ripstop material with two-way stretch and water-repellent coating gave the perfect amount of mobility and an amazing amount of comfort.
All of those times that the boat hit the chop just right and the spray from the sea doused our whole body, these shorts were dry in no time.
Added bonus: These shorts come with a handy dry bag that fits into the back pocket and clips to the belt loop — perfect for stashing your phone.
Patagonia RØ Sun Tee ($45)
Another important factor to consider when on a boat all day long is staying comfortable and protected from the sun. The Patagonia RØ Sun Tee kept us feeling cool all day long, and with a UPF of 50+, it kept our body safe from the sun’s harmful UV rays.
Made with fast-drying and super-lightweight 94 percent polyester (35 percent recycled) and 6 percent Spandex, every time we got soaked by the splashing sea, we were dry within minutes.
Added bonus: The RØ Sun Tee also features Polygiene permanent odor control, so after 11 hours at sea, we were still smelling like a rose.
Honorable mention: Traeger grill
After a successful day on the fishing boat, the most important thing you need to consider (aside from sharing all the epic photos of the fish you caught) is how to prepare the feast. We opted for a Traeger grill.
We fired up Traeger’s Pro Series 34 Grill to handle the task. With an 884-square-inch grilling area, we were easily able to fit enough fish to feed a small army. After getting turned on to the way that Traeger grills work, we’ll likely never go back to conventional propane models.
And with the brand’s multiple flavors of wood pellets available, you’re sure to nail down the taste you’re looking for for all types of meats.
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