Offshore fishing, also sometimes called deep sea fishing because of the deep waters it takes place on, offers fishermen an exciting adventure into the unknowns of open water. However, these unknowns can bring variable weather patterns and the risk of sunburn and dehydration, so any trip offshore requires that you do a bit of pre-trip planning. From tackle to boat gear and safety items, this quick deep sea fishing guide will give you an overview of key items you should bring for any offshore saltwater fishing trip.
Basic Gear and Equipment for Offshore Fishing
Offshore fishing basically means that you are far out enough on the water that you can no longer see the shore. That said, it will be a long trip back if you forget anything – so packing everything you need (plus extra) is key for any successful offshore fishing trip! We have a handy guide on saltwater fishing basics that touches on deep sea fishing gear and bait along with general saltwater fishing rods, reels, tools and clothing, so we recommend starting there and then adding these items to your checklist:
- fishing licenses for everyone on board
- landing nets
- a bucket
- long-nose pliers, lip-grippers, and braid scissors
- a basic tool kit
- a cooler with ice, food, and drinks
- a large cooler packed with ice
Coolers serve multiple functions, either providing a safe, cool place to store your food and drinks, or offering a transport solution for any fish you catch that can legally be kept. For food and drink, we recommend a SHIVR-55 Bluetooth Soundbar Cooler from Wet Sounds, which doubles as both a cooler and soundbar, so you can have a snack while listening to some of your favorite songs as you wait for a strike.
Safety Gear and Tips for Offshore Fishing
Part of planning ahead includes checking the weather forecast for the day you plan to go offshore fishing. Keep in mind that even on clear days, weather can quickly change and potentially become dangerous, and waves can pick up seemingly out of nowhere. It’s important to be prepared for anything, so always stay abreast of weather conditions, evaluate navigation charts, and bring both a GPS and VHF marine radio with you. Considering the elements will also help you decide what to wear, but rain or shine you will want shoes with rubber soles and sun protection.
- sunscreen and sunglasses
- rain gear
- a first aid kit
- personal flotation devices for each person on board
- a fire extinguisher
- signaling devices
- an emergency position indicating radio beacon (EPIRB)
Outfitting Your Boat for Offshore Fishing
Beyond the items you will be bringing on board, you will also want to check that your boat is ready for an offshore adventure. As we mentioned, a critical aspect of preparing to go deep sea fishing is to be weather-ready, whether that means rain or sunshine. These must-have boat accessories are the perfect solution to potential weather hazards.
A t-top is a go-to addition to any center console boat as they provide a shield from the sun. This is especially important when you are offshore, as you will have no other protection from the sun outside of sunscreen, sunglasses, and your attire. Installing a t-top before your trip will ensure you have access to a shaded area to keep you cooler on the water, or shelter from the rain. We suggest a folding t-top, which can easily fold down for storage unlike other standard t-tops without folding capability.
T-Top Shade Extension
If you are going offshore with multiple people, then you should consider adding a t-top shade extension. Adding the extension increases the surface area covered by weather-ready fabric, meaning more shade or less rain on your boat and better protection for you and your passengers. In addition to the improved comfort a shade extension can provide, its WeatherMax 3D fabric is designed to block 99% of harmful UV rays to protect your passengers.
Another way to keep yourself protected from inclement weather is to install a Hurricane Wind Screen T-Top Windshield. This durable windscreen shields the driver and the center console against rain and high winds to help you navigate back to the dock even in the worst conditions.
T-Top Vertical Brace Standoffs
Because the weather and wave conditions can change at a moment’s notice on the open water, t-tops being taken offshore should have vertical brace standoffs. Standoffs add stability to the t-top’s frame so it will be better equipped to handle rough water.
Tips for Successful Offshore Fishing
Offshore fishing – and saltwater fishing in general – is all about having the right attitude. As with any fishing adventure, there is no guarantee that you will land the catch of a lifetime, so remember that while it is always good to be prepared, you should also go out with an open mind and just enjoy the experience! As long as you have the right gear and equipment, and your boat is outfitted properly, then you will be set up for success from the start.