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By Don McDowell
Shake Rattle and Troll 

Get Ready; Get Set

Gear Bag Suggestions For Salt Water Day Trips


September 1, 2015

Shake, Rattle & Troll Radio

When preparing for a saltwater excursion, here are a few suggestions of things that I've learned the hard way of not having to have in my gear bag. First of all, a couple of heads-up items -

Be Advised

Valid photo I.D. is required for all passengers including minors at the landing office when checking in for your vessel. Passports are mandatory for Mexican waters; verify with the landing if you need your passport prior to booking the trip. School ID, birth certificates, insurance cards are acceptable for minors only.


Under absolutely no circumstances - take fire arms, alcohol, or illegal substances on board the vessel. Just don't! All vessels are subject to USCG stops and searches as well as the Mexican Navy in Mexican waters. These boys don't play - zero tolerance!


Most landing offices open at 5 a.m. for your ½ and ¾ day boats. It's a good idea to be in line by 4:30 a.m. when they open for check-in. For all other trips, be at check-in a minimum of 1 ½ hours prior to your scheduled time of departure.


When fishing in Mexico, taking your own personal flotation device (PFD) - Mustang Survival Inflatable is preferred. Mexican vessels are not under USCG or qualified safety inspections for safety gear. Don't risk it because it can happen.

Packing Your Bag

Okay, here are some items for consideration in your gear bag; they don't take up too much room, and it's better to have them than not.

1. Vinyl-lined sports bag or small travel bag,

2. Personal effects, shaving, soap, etc., and a hand towel,

3. If overnight, a small pillow will be of great comfort,

4. If you have prescription medications, keep them in the pharmacy container and inform the captain or first mate of any health or medical condition you may have. They really don't like surprises.

5. Sun glasses and retainer rope. UV-rated is best.

6. Cap or some type of head cover; if you're wearing a visor, your scalp will still get sunburned. Trust on this one; it hurts.

7. Bandana or neck wrap. Works to keep you warm or damp to cool off.

8. Sunscreen and lip balm: SPF 50 works pretty well.

9. Small first aid kit with antibacterial ointment and a couple of butterfly finger cots. Anything major the boat will handle.

10. Old sneakers or I prefer deck boots and a couple pairs of socks.

11. Old clothes - (they're going to get bloody and the stain will not come out) shorts, tee shirts, best to dress in layers, long over pants and a light hoodie for early morning and evening hours.

Kate Crandll

12. Light weight rain poncho,

13. Small hand-wipe towel - everything gets wet or slippery.

14. Inexpensive pair of needle-nose pliers and diagonal side cuts and holster

15. 6-inch fixed blade, stainless-steel knife/sheath

16. Rod butt holder - when playing with fish over 20 pounds, it'll keep the bruising down.

17. Zip-lock bag for your cell phone and or camera.

18. A few light snacks are always good, but, never, never, ever bring bananas - you may set adrift.

If you need it, you're good; if you need and don't have it, well, whining isn't acceptable aboard a sport fishing boat.

Get off the couch and go get bent!


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