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15 Tips to Boat Fishing

Fishing is a wonderful pastime, whether you’re catching your dinner or tossing back whatever happens to latch onto your hook. While casting your line from the shore can be relaxing, it’s not the only option. Here are some tips that will help you make your boat-based fishing trips safe and fun.

  1. Get Your Licenses
    You should already have your fishing license, but if you’re heading out on the boat, make sure you’ve got all the necessary licensing to do so legally. This is especially important if you’re planning to keep your catch.
  2. Have a Float Plan
    Detailing where and when you will be fishing and share the plan with someone you can trust to report to the authorities if you and your boat go missing. This is important for any search to be effective. You can download a float plan in PDF format from the USCG.
  3. Change Your Clothes
    Protect yourself from the sun while you’re on the boat. Invest in some UV-proof clothing, wear polarized lenses to protect your eyes and put sunscreen on any exposed skin. Sunburns on the water are so much worse than ones you might get on the shore due to reflection of the sun’s rays.
  4. Stay Organized
    You don’t have a ton of room on your average boat, so make sure to keep everything organized. The last thing you need is to trip over some stray tackle or a loose fishing rod and end up in the water.
  5. Watch the Weather
    Make sure you pay close attention to marine forecasts. An afternoon thunderstorm onshore can be incredibly dangerous on the water, especially if you’re in a small boat. Watch the weather, and if you’re not 100% confident in your safety, pack it in.
  6. Know the Regulations
    Brush up on local boating and fishing regulations before you head out. This will include things like no-wake zones and how large a particular species needs to be in order to keep, as well as everything in between.
  7. Double Check Everything
    Getting back to shore because you forgot something essential can be a pain, especially if you’re in your own boat rather than a rental. Make sure you have everything you need before you cast off for the day.
  8. Don’t Forget Snacks
    Unless you catch something sashimi-worthy while you’re out, you’re going to get hungry while you’re fishing. If you’re planning on spending the day on the water, bring snacks and pack a picnic lunch — or invest in a boat-safe grill you can use to cook your catch on as soon as you pull it out of the water.
  9. Stock up on Ice
    If you’re planning on keeping your catch, you’ll need somewhere to store it so it doesn’t spoil while you continue your fishing adventure. Stock up on ice and keep a cooler on board to store your catch.
  10. Have the Right Tackle
    You wouldn’t troll for tuna with a fly-fishing rod, would you? Make sure you have the right tackle for the fish you’re after. When in doubt, go with a heavier line so you don’t have to worry about losing your catch — and your expensive lures — if something snaps your line.
  11. Don’t Hesitate to Relocate
    If the fish aren’t biting, then they aren’t biting. Don’t waste your day in one spot if you’re not catching anything. If you spend an hour or two in one place without even a nibble, don’t hesitate to relocate. Fishidy can help when you’re looking for new spots. Fishidy shows you depth contours and seasonal fishing tips so you know where and what to target.
  12. Practice With Your Trailer
    Learning to manage a boat trailer can be challenging, so if you’re not renting a craft that’s already in the water, take some time to practice with yours before you head out on the water. Fishing isn’t just about catching a fish. It’s about having fun and getting home safely at the end of the day.
  13. Wash Your Hands
    Fish have incredibly sensitive senses of smell. If you put on sunscreen and then bait your hook, they’re going to detect that sunscreen and be less likely to bite. Don’t make your job any harder than it has to be. Wash your hands before you start baiting.
  14. Know your limits.
    Fatigue and hypothermia are dangerous situations. According to the USCG and U.S. Corp of Engineers prolonged exposure to noise, vibration, wind and glare has the same effect on a person as does alcohol or drugs. Share the operating duties with other crew members. Recognize when you are tired and take a break.
  15. Safety First
    Water safety is no joke. According to the CDC, 332 people drown in boating-related incidents every year. Wear your life vest, and make sure everyone else is wearing theirs, too. Stay safe on the water.

Stay Safe and Have Fun
Fishing from a boat is a great way to reach species you’d never catch from shore. If you’re fishing for your dinner or catching to release, the best tip we can offer is to stay safe and have fun while you’re out on the water.

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