The 5 Key Elements of Any Good Fishing Trip

My most recent fishing trip, like many in my life, ended up being one long boat ride.  By that, I mean, lots of sun, plenty of anticipation, loads of baiting and strategy, a few beers and snacks and tons of camaraderie.  But, one thing was missing – the fish!  (P.S., the fish in the picture here is sadly from another successful trip a few years back) 

We set out recently to catch Cobia - a fish that's a blast to catch; usually either by bottom fishing using "chum" to attract them or by spotting or "sight fishing" (a technique whereby a talented boat captain spots the Cobia and you toss a rig with live bait nearby for them to snatch up). Cobia are particularly fun to catch because, once hooked, they'll play with you by sometimes becoming docile only to then take off towards the bottom - they are great fighters! 

The weather was spectacular as we headed out in to the Chesapeake Bay on new boat of a family friend who grew up fishing these waters.  He was excited to show off his boat and his earned skills as a fisherman so he was eager for us to catch our limit.  Things started off on track having caught a mess of bait fish (Spot in this case) before heading to deeper Bay waters.  We all took turns in the "tower" to help our friend (i.e., Captain) spot our targets.  Several times, he'd see one, slam the boat in neutral and we'd toss a line out - no luck!  After a few hours, we all succumbed to the fact we'd be unlikely to boat one this trip.  I saw a quote recently that says it well - "the fishing was great, it was the catching that was bad".  Fish - 1, Fishermen - 0.

As is so often, catching the fish is certainly part of the joy of fishing but so is being out on the open water and enjoying great company - in our case, some family and friends - listening to great music and enjoying some cold beer and a few eats that aren't on the current diet approved list!  For me, it brings back wonderful memories with my Dad ~ little teaching moments, bonding and building a true friendship with him on the water.  

So, whether it's hunting Cobia or deep-sea chasing Marlin, grab your family & friends, book a trip and go fishing!  I know I can't wait for the next "long boat ride"! 

Below is the Good Stuff Guide - The 5 Key Elements of Any Good Fishing Trip

1. Good sun protection: These days, especially after one too many visits to the dermatologist, I have become very conscious about finding different, effective ways to protect my skin while enjoying the outdoors.  A few products we'd recommend bringing on a fishing trip to protect you from the sun include:

    • Shelta Hats - These hats are just the ticket and different from other "floppy hats" - attractive, firm brim that won't flop in to your field of vision and adjustable to a snug fit that won't fly off when clipping along at 50 knots!  I love the Seahawk model.
    • Long sleeve "sun shirt" - two brands I love are Free Fly and Naviskin. Both are super light weight, dry very quickly and "breath" so I don't end up sweating profusely.  Another brand with sun shirts that are highly rated on Amazon is Vapor Apparel.
    • Of course, high SPF sunscreen - I have grown to like Sun Bum Spray which goes on feeling dry and smells better than most other spray brands.  Other brands that are often included in the bag are Coppertone and Neutrogena.
    • Cool looking and performing "shades - you'll obviously need a good pair of sunglasses to provide UVA/UVB protection and allow you to see more Good Stuff!  We love Costa and in particular their line of Sports Performance polarized-lens shades for men and women.  You'll be amazed by the view and you'll look like you belong on the water!!!  Other solid brands include Maui Jim and Smith
2. Comfortable shorts: Maybe it comes with age but for outdoor activities, I prioritize shorts that are super comfortable, light weight and that quickly dry if they get wet.  Some good options include:
      • Free Fly - my favorite
      • Columbia - lots of good options especially under their PFG line.  In general, a great longstanding brand! 

    3. A durable cooler that keeps stuff cold (no duh): You choose the drinks to put in the cooler but good cold beer (fill in your favorite brand/style) is my choice for most trips.  To keep those drinks brain freeze ready, we recommend Yeti - yes, they are heavy, but an ice cube will last for days (no kidding).  There are a lot of recently emerging brands that do a good job as well (RTIC, for instance). Of course, don't forget to bring plenty of drinks and snacks!

    4. The right "koozie" for your drink:  While your drinks are now cold right out of the cooler they won't stay that way for long so you need a good "koozie" to avoid a warm last sip.  I recently discovered a brilliant new product from Toadfish - a koozie that uses a proprietary "suction" cup on the bottom that fixes the drink to any smooth surface.  Your drink won't budge even in the roughest seas! They call it an "Un-spillable beverage cooler" which is true - truly amazing.  The additionally cool feature is that it's easy to pick back up - hard to explain and I'm not sure how it works but, well, it works!!  

    We also recommend considering Yeti and their Colster line of Koozies for cans (tall boys and 12 oz) and their ever-popular line of Rambler Tumblers.  

    5. Good tunes:  Regardless of your preferred genre, you must have good tunes to keep the mood fun - especially when the fish aren't biting.  To listen to those tunes, having a good portable speaker is key.  A few good options include:

      • The JBL Flip - The Flip 5 is waterproof, sturdy build and provides terrific sound quality.  
      • Ultimate Ears - These speakers, especially the compact Wonderboom 2, get great reviews from users.  

    So you are now ready to book your next fishing trip.  Our advise is to talk to friends and family about local charters they may have used in the area you are fishing.  but, if your local knowledge is lacking, below are several popular fishing booking sites you can try:

    Obviously, what's missing from this Guide is recommendations on gear - rods, reels, tackle, bait, etc. but that is out of scope for this post as the right gear depends up a number of variables - location, what you are fishing for, salt or fresh water, time of year, etc.  In the future, we may look to add more Guides to specific types of fishing outings.  

      You can also learn more about each of the products above by clicking here.

      If you have additional ideas on what we should add to this guide, please let us know.  Until next time, here's to finding time for your Good Stuff!

      Dave @ TGSU

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