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Preparing For an Offshore Fishing Charter                                 By Capt Bruce Armstrong

Bif wahoo on a Sea Angel early season charter.  

Sometimes I find that folks that are new to charter fishing become quickly overwhelmed with the entire process as well as the preparation. They shouldn't be worried because most every chartering business will try to do everything in our control to make it the most enjoyable fishing experience you have ever had. We will always provide a safe family friendly environment on a well prepared fishing boat along with the very best offshore fishing gear, fishing line, freshest bait, top of the line electronics, and most experienced mate that will be there to help you capture the fish of your dreams. Basically all you'll need to remember is when and where to arrive plus a few basics that will help you enjoy your trip even more.  If you aren't sure or have questions please call or email ahead of your trip and your captain will be glad to share as much information as possible to help you out.


Clothing:  The secret word here is to “layer.” The water of the Gulf Stream warms the Outer Banks in all seasons. If you leave the dock on a chilly day, you might actually be surprised at how comfortable it is in the Gulf Stream. Try to plan your clothing by layering. Even on a hot sunny day don’t forget to bring along lightweight loose fitting long pants and long sleeve shirts that will protect you from the sun. Unless you are very familiar with spending long hours in the sun it is also a wise choice to bring a hat sufficient to protect your head. These things need to be planned because they sometimes need to be available during hectic times of great fishing action.


Shoes: Please remember that virtually all boats have decks that are finished in a light colored fiberglass. Although some boats don’t discourage it, going barefoot is actually a terrible idea on any offshore boat because of all the sharp hooks and gaffs. Captains normally prefer their customers to wear sneakers that won’t scuff the finish. If available the best choice is a “boat shoe.”  Boat shoes with their squeegee type bottoms are designed to not slip easily on wet surfaces. Boat shoes are not a requirement or necessity but I have found that wearing my boat shoes daily really does come in handy on slick flooring that I run into every day.


Sunglasses:  The waters of The Gulf Stream are unbelievably crystal clear cobalt blue and the things that you might see under the surface will highlight your trip. Unfortunately, the sun reflecting off the water is like being attacked from a thousand different angles by the sun’s rays. The depths are even more visible with a good pair of quality “polarized” sunglasses. Most fashion sunglasses are not polarized but they will help somewhat. However, if you have a pair of polarized sunglasses available, they are by far the better choice to help more fully enjoy your day offshore.


Camera: There is going to lots of action with many opportunities for some great pictures but you need to beware that you will be bringing along your expensive camera at your own risk. Boats are a wet environment and cameras are not very friendly to getting wet. Boats can also get very bumpy and good cameras don’t seem to like getting slammed on the floor. If you take along your high quality camera, you definitely need to take it in a protective travel case of some sort and keep it stored safely in the saloon until you are ready to use it.

E. Sunscreen: This should go without saying but sunscreen is no longer a suggestion. It is an absolute necessity for most.
F. Carrying Bag: The best way to keep this all organized is in a carrying bag of some sort like a gym or duffle bag which is large enough to transport and hold all of your possessions.
G. Cooler/Food/Drink: All guests need to remember to bring along coolers with their food and drinks. We are not going to make suggestions about exactly what to bring. However, light sandwiches with pretzels and crackers can be good for an upset stomach and a cold clear soda can also be somewhat soothing. I have also found that ginger snaps can be effective for mildly upset motion sickness.
H. Sea-Sickness: Nothing can ruin a fishing trip like getting seasick. Problem is that most people have no idea ahead of time whether or not they will be susceptible to this form of motion sickness. If you suffer from this particular affliction, an offshore fishing boat just seems to bring it out even if you have never gotten seasick before. In other words, if you have never been offshore fishing it is probably best not to take chances. If there is time you can tell your family doctor about your trip and ask him or her about their suggestions. If this was a last minute idea you might want to ask a pharmacist for his thoughts on what is available over the counter. There is a product called a Relief Band that I strongly recommend because it is the only thing I have ever seem that brings a person back from strong symptoms.
Hopefully this will give you some idea of a few things to remember that will help make your charter the most enjoyable fishing experience of your life. If you have any questions that we might have missed please don’t hesitate to ask your captain.

Editor's Note: Capt. Bruce Armstrong has been chartering out of Hatteras, North Carolina for 40 years and is highly respected for having an incredible tournament record. He currently operates the Cape Hatteras charter boat, Sea Angel II . Click on the link to see his latest Cape Hatteras fishing reports.

  Capt. Bruce at the helm!




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