August 2007

Offshore Gear Bag

Being Prepared Is Half The Battle

By Don McDowell

As you prepare for your on-the-water experience — be it fresh or salt water — here are a couple of suggestions to make your outing a little more comfortable while you are on the water. 

The Boy Scouts said it best, “Be prepared”, you never know exactly what you may encounter.  The gear-bag selections I’m suggesting are basically for offshore trips; however, they are basics and may be fine-tuned for freshwater as well. 

I’m including a suggested basic-tackle list offshore as your tools and tackle selections, which are more geared for albacore, blue fin, and yellow tail. Lighter rods, line and tackle should be considered for your bottom fish and kelp forest fish: sand, rock, and calico bass.

Personal Off-Shore Boat Gear Bag

  1. small tote bag, preferably waterproof
  2. change of clothes and fishing clothes, as they will get wet, bloody and smelly.  (Sweats are great for sleeping if you’re on an overnight.)
  3. rubber deck boots (old sneakers if you don’t have deck boots) and several pairs of socks (your feet will get wet), rain gear, bandana for your neck and hat or visor, a light windbreaker or jacket for morning and evening hours
  4. shaving kit, towel, and small first-aid kit
  5. sunblock suited for your skin tone, sunglasses (with rope to hold them on) and lip protection with high SPF rating. (Smart Shield products are recommended.)
  6. special diet items and personal medication.
  7. seasick pills or patches (You may want to consult your doctor.)
  8. small pillow, if desired
  9. note pad and GPS for recording trip events, weather conditions, waypoints, etc. if desired and a disposal camera in a plastic zip-lock baggy
  10.   an expensive pair of diagonal side-cutter pliers. (They will get rusty.)
  11.   For the trip home, 100-quart ice chest, plastic fillets bags, twist ties and duct tape.  (This applies if you’re driving; check with your air carrier for flight restrictions as most won’t carry ice chests anymore due to the TSA inspections and possible spillage.)
  12.   small pair of binoculars, 8x 35, in a waterproof case


Tackle Items (if you are taking your own stuff)

  1. Rent or bring at least two 20-pound rigs with new line. (Sufix Superior recommended.)
  2. Have one 40-pound rig for the bigger fish.
  3. The boat will supply trolling rigs.
  4. Have 1/0 and 2/0 circle hooks. Eagle Claw is recommended and at least 100 pieces.
  5. You’ll need .25-ounce rubber core sinkers, swivels, at least 30 pieces each, and a fluorocarbon leader material for each line size.
  6. Have an inexpensive fighting belt (suggestion: Phoenix Fishing Supply).
  7. It is good to have a small can of WD 40 or the pre-soaked WD40 wipes and a tube of  Reel X.
  8. I suggest Casting “Iron,” Tady’s, Ironman, UFO’s or Salis in blue/white, blue/chrome or “baby-crap” colors. These colors are most effective for the tuna species and are most often hit by barracuda if they are in the area. 
  9. I recommend swim baits, replaceable plastics bodies, and 1-ounce lead jig head with 3-D eyes.  The 5.5-inch plastic bodies work best in the anchovy pattern, brown back, green middle and white belly, blue and white for daylight hours and purple and black or dark blue or green and black for low-light periods.

These are a few general suggestions for great day on the water.  When you check in at the landing, make sure you have a fishing license and Mexican permit, most of which are included in your trip package. 

Always check the multi-day weather forecast for offshore temperatures and weather conditions and modify your outer wear to suit the specific trip conditions.

Check the fish counts posted at the landing offices and tackle stores for numbers and species. And, it’s always good to visit with incoming anglers and the tackle store guys for a host of suggestions, what the bite has been most effective on.  All the anglers will have good fish stories or at least tails of whales that got way.