Hey, we’ve all had fantasies about it, right? No, not those ones. We’re talking about packing up the van, driving somewhere remote, pitching up a folding chair lakeside or at the beach, cracking a few cans, opening some bait, and flinging a few rods. If we catch something, it’s going on the barbie…and that sounds like pure bliss to us.

But the reality might be somewhat different, if you don’t prepare properly. So, before you take the plunge (figuratively speaking of course; we don’t want you going overboard) read these, our 5 IDEAL tips for your first sea fishing trip. 

BOOK ON A LICENSE CHARTER BOAT

First things first, forget that fantasy of your reclining chair and catching fish easily from the safety of dry land. Instead, book a trip with a licensed charter boat with experienced anglers to get a feel for things. Even the most experienced anglers will often get a local guide if they’re in uncharted waters; regional knowledge of where, what time and how to fish in local waters is priceless – the difference between a successful fishing trip with a good haul or a dead dud of one, we think.

These chartered boats offer all sorts of fishing trips. Whether you’re after a custom day – mackerel trip perhaps – or simply casting your line and seeing what lands. However, we recommend starting with a small excursion first, so you can find your sea legs, which brings us to our next point… 

GET A GOOD NIGHT’S SLEEP BEFORE 

It’s a long day out there on the choppy, unpredictable waters, so make sure you get a proper night’s sleep before your day of fishing. Tiredness is one of the major causes of seasickness and can put a real downer on your trip, so make sure you get your zzzeds in the night before. Though we don’t want to sound too maternal right now, it’s also wise to lay off the alcohol the evening prior to the fishing; hangovers and small boats on the open seas simply don’t mix.

GET THE RIGHT GEAR 

Before you set off, you should assess the weather forecasts, including the shipping forecast, and pack accordingly. Regardless of whether or not rain is predicted, a waterproof jacket is wise. And don’t forget the sunblock; you’ll be sitting, exposed, for long stretches. While you can get away with wearing a pair of trainers, sensible walking boots are generally preferable, as they provide proper grip on deck. You should also check in with your licensed charter boat to see if they provide lines, bait and tackle. Oh, and a portable barbecue might be a fun addition, too!

ROD & REEL

Again, these will likely be provided by your chartered boat, but if you’re intending on this thing becoming a hobby, then it’ll certainly do no harm to get to grips with the mechanics of the most important equipment of the trip; your rod and reel. Nope, this isn’t a euphemism, rather the make or break between a successful fishing trip and one where your line remains untroubled. There are so many combinations out there; check out these recommendations on collapsing fishing rods for a better understanding.

CONSIDER JOINING AN ANGLING CLUB 

If you’re serious about fishing becoming your ‘thing’, and want to really immerse yourself in the lifestyle, then it’s probably prudent (and sociable one, too) to look into joining a local angling club. Most cities and towns have one, and even if you’re not close to the ocean, these clubs also provide trips, tips and guidance on river and lake fishing. Check out the Angling Trust which is a representative body for game, coarse and sea anglers across the country. Once you’re immersed in this world, you’ll be hooked!

If you’re looking to take this passion further flung and to the other side of the world, then check out our 5 IDEAL destinations for a fishing holiday for tips on rod flinging in the Bahamas, Costa Rica and more!