10 Things To Live By To Get Invited Back On A Fishing Trip.
By: Blair Ashton
Over the last 25 years, I have owned several boats and invited hundreds of people aboard to fish. I have also been asked to join others fishing on their boats offshore and inshore. With this boating season pretty much here, I decided to compose a list of the most asked questions from newbies and the most expected from boat owners. Obviously, there will be a couple others but if you are offered a trip offshore or inshore and adhere to these 10 tips, chances of being asked to return will be pretty good.
– If you are headed offshore and told to meet at the ramp at 5:00, get there NO LATER than 4:45. You will need to help load the boat with food, ice, drinks, gear, etc. This can apply for most boating trips as there is always something to load up. The more you read below, the better understanding you will have of this. In short, be EARLY.
– Always ask the boat owner if there are any objections to any food you might bring aboard. Most owners will say no but better to ask than to have your lunch thrown overboard at 6:00 a.m. Some of the best foods to bring are Publix subs, fried chicken, chips, muffins, doughnuts, pork rinds, cashews, nuts, fruit, etc. Bring what you want to eat and then bring some more. Snacks are great! Think what snacks are quick and easy and can be opened and shut easily. Most people will share the snacks with all aboard so don’t bring 1 granola bar or 1 doughnut. If you are familiar with the others in your group, call everyone ahead and you can divide and concur.
– The first rule of drinks – NO GLASS! Some owners will not care but if you are not a regular on a boat, just don’t bring glass. Drinks are similar to food. Bring more than you will want. You will need enough beer for 2-3 people. Water and Gatorade are also a huge plus and make sure you bring plenty. Most of the food and water will be combined prior to leaving the dock. This is why you will need to show up early. If you are going with 5 others and everyone brings their Icon cooler, you will not be loading 5 separate coolers. The other main thing to consider is DO NOT GET SLOSHED. No boat owner likes to look after the lush that might fall overboard or injure someone. Have fun but be respectful and safe.
4) Unexpected Friends
– DO NOT bring any unexpected guests. Plain and simple this will be your last trip on the boat if you bring someone last minute without the owner’s permission. You might even be asked to leave before you get on board.
– Most boats carry between 60-180 gallons of fuel (Yes, many carry lots more). Figure 150 gallons at $5/gallon and you will burn roughly $750 in fuel while fishing. Obviously, fuel prices fluctuate and fuel at the marina is a good deal more expensive than at a Wawa. Bait is something else that can run up costs of a trip. If you are running offshore you can go thru quite a bit of ballyhoo, squid, etc. A good rule of thumb is to offer anywhere between $150-$250 cash for a trip.
– There is nothing worse than a cigarette burn in the cushions or upholstery. ALWAYS ask a captain before lighting up. Bring some nicorette just case. If the captain does okay it, always make sure you light up DOWNWIND. Go to the back of the boat if under way. Once you have sucked back your smoke, do not litter your butt, simply empty the tobacco and take the filter and put it in your pocket or an empty water/beer/Gatorade bottle. Do not throw it overboard.
7) Sea Sick
– If you are not sure if you will get seasick or not, I highly suggest you take something before hand. Most captains will not return if you get sea sick. Ruining everyone’s trip because you are “chumming” usually is not an option. I have been 100 miles offshore with a buddy that puked for 8 hours. He never complained and knew we weren’t turning back. I have also driven my buddy’s boat because he was sick all trip. He said, “I won’t go back in if you get sick, we are not going back because I am sick.” There are a bunch of products out there to help with nasuea and I would suggest asking others or doing your own research on this. Most my friends do not get sick so I cannot personally recommend one over another. If you have one that works well, please feel free to leave in the comments below.
– Keep your gear to a minimum. Raincoat, towel, extra shirt, sunscreen, sunglasses etc. Try and keep it limited to a book bag. If you have a favorite rod ask the captain prior to the fishing day if they mind you bringing it. Most boat owners will have great gear and the proper gear for what they will be targeting so it’s probably best to leave yours at home but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Most boat owners will go thru a ton of hooks. If you want, you can always ask what size hooks they like and grab a box of Mustads and leave with them.
– NEVER skip out once back without cleaning the boat or at least offering to help clean. Once you get back to the dock, ALWAYS offer to help clean the boat. Every boat owner will be different. I have some friends who won’t let anyone clean their boat. The are very particular on how it is cleaned. After 10 years of fishing with them on their boat, I still offer every time we come back in and I sincerely mean it. Others will throw you a scrub brush quicker than you can offer. When you do scrub a boat, always let the owner know the areas you have done. Get every hatch, and don’t forget the trailer as well.
– I hate throwing this one out there because I personally think its nonsense. Some people will actually come unglued if you bring a banana on their boat. It’s an old wives tale that bananas are real bad luck on boats. Though most that believe this have no idea why its bad luck. Some say it’s when the ship crossed over from Europe and the boats needed to cross before the bananas would spoil leaving to time to troll and catch fish. Others may refer to the majority of boats that sunk and never made the trip across were all carrying bananas. In short, if you do not know the owner and how they feel about this superstition, best to leave the bananas at home. If you hop on board with me, feel free to bring a bunch of bananas.
This list is obviously not everything but it will help those fishing for the first time with others. Be smart, be courteous, offer to help, and learn as much as you can. Feel free to comment below anything you might feel like I have missed.
Best of luck and catch em up!