So…You’re Going Fishing

17 Things to Know and Do Before You Go Out On Someone’s Boat

Fishing License: Connecticut requires a saltwater fishing license, and, if you’re going upstream, for example, above the Merritt Parkway bridge on the Housatonic River, you also need a freshwater license—but on certain boats/trips you will not need either—check with the skipper before the trip

Fishing Rods/Reels: Check to see if you need to bring your own equipment or if you’ll use the equipment on the boat. If the latter, check to see whether the reels are right-hand or left-hand crank [if left-hand, you hold the rod in your right hand and crank the reel with the left hand]

Bait: Will it be provided, or do you have to bring your own?

Clothing: It’s colder on the water than on land and wind chill can be a factor as the boat runs at speeds of up to 40 mph. Plan to arrive for the trip dressed in layers, including a windbreaker [see “rain gear” below] with a warm sweater or hooded sweatshirt underneath; warmer clothing than this is necessary in both early and late season. Long pants and long sleeves are good for sun protection as well as warmth

Rain Gear: A hooded Gore-Tex or waterproof nylon jacket can also do double-duty as a windbreaker

Hat: Bring one with a bill or wide brim—best if the underside of the brim is a dark color as this reduces glare

Gloves: A pair of these can make your day much more enjoyable

Shoes: You’ll be doing a lot of standing, so comfort is important; also, soles must be white or natural so they will not mark the boat—tennis sneaks work well

Food: It can be a long trip when your stomach is making more noise than the wind and water

Water & Ice: Check to see if you need to bring your own. Most boats will have water on board but you may wish to bring cans of soft drinks; many boats prohibit alcoholic beverages and containers made of glass

Sunglasses: Polarized are best—be sure you have a back-up pair of glasses

Suntan Lotion: Bring your favorite brand

Binoculars & Camera: You never know what you’ll see [or catch] that you may want to remember

Luggage: Some boats have very limited storage space; make sure all of your gear packs down as small as possible

Spic ‘n’ Span: The boat and its gear were probably very clean and ship-shape before you got on board. You need to help the captain keep it that way. If a fish or bait drips blood on the boat, rinse it off before it dries and stains. If you use the boat’s pliers, knives or other tools, wipe them off and rinse them in fresh water when you’re through…don’t leave them covered with salt, scales, and blood. If you create garbage [apple cores, food wrappers, empty drink containers, etc.] take it with you when you go ashore

Attitude: There’s no guarantee on fish, and while your skipper will typically do everything in his power to see that you catch fish, some days you just have to sit back, relax, and enjoy the scenery

Gratitude: Before the trip, ask the skipper if there’s anything you can bring. A bag of ice, a six-pack of soda, some extra bottles of water, bait, sandwiches…the skipper will appreciate the offer

Paying attention to these details is one way to ensure you get invited back again.