Posted by: socalsalty | February 25, 2012

What To Bring On An Overnight Fishing Trip

The Basics: tshirt, fishing shorts, hoodie

I mentioned in the So Cal Fishing Calendar post that I’ve been planning an overnight for the weekend of the opener (Fri 3/2).  I’m trying to be more organized this year in terms of planning ahead, but conditions can change and bites can suddenly materialize, so you want to be prepared.  I keep an overnight bag packed during fishing season, so that I’m ready when these kinds of opportunities pop up.  It occurred to me though that if you haven’t gone before, you may want to know what’s in my bag.  I also put this question out to the community, and I’ll include the good ideas that people shared with me.

The Basics

Xtra Tuff boots, preferred deck boots of SoCal salties

This is the standard stuff I wear and bring with me on every trip.

What I wear: tshirt, fishing shorts, hoodie, hat, sunglasses and my Xtra Tuff boots (with AFTCO Fishing Feet inside).

Other stuff I always bring: camera, sunscreen (I like 50+ for my face, ears and neck), lip balm with SPF, fishing towel, water, snacks (salty favorites include: beef jerky, clif bars, fruit – especially apples)


Wind & Waterproofing

Getting wet is one of the worst things that can happen to you out on the water.  It’s not like you can just pop into a hot shower and immediately get dry.  And if you do get wet, it could be awhile before you get back into port.  Best not to get wet in the first place.

It’s still winter, so I like to bring my heavy fishing pants.  They cut the wind and keep you dry.  I bought mine a size bigger, so that I can easily wear them over my fishing shorts.  A light shell that can keep you dry and cut the wind is key on top as well.

Trader Joe's insulated beach bag

In The Bag

Let’s start with the bag itself…I have a Columbia PFG boat bag, but it’s too big for an overnight.  You don’t want too big of a bag because you want to keep this bag with you in your bunk and the bunks aren’t big on the overnight boats.  This Trader Joe’s insulated beach bag is perfect.  It’s big enough, but not too big.  It’s insulated and keeps your stuff from getting wet, and it’s only $6!

Extra Clothes

An extra set of clothes is key.  Instead of another pair of shorts, I like to bring a pair of sweats.  My fishing shorts are fast drying anyway, and the sweats are nice to wear at night to sleep in.  In the summer I may bring jeans and leave my heavy pants at home.   Instead of an extra pair of shoes, I prefer to bring my AFTCO deck sandals.  They take up less space and are easier to slip on at night if I need to get up and go to the bathroom.  Because they are deck sandals, they grip well and if it’s hot you can wear them instead of the boots.

Other stuff:

The Eye Mask is key

I take a small flashlight.  Other folks suggested a head lamp.  Either one fits the bill.  “Oh but I have an app on my phone…”   Conserving your phone power is important.  Access to an electrical outlet is not guaranteed.  But in case there is, bring your plug for your smartphone.  An ipod and small headphones are nice, especially if it will help you sleep.  Speaking of sleep, my favorite recommendation is an eye mask.  It looks kind of stupid, but getting a good night’s sleep is key.  I’ve seen plenty of big fish come over the rail in the gray hours just before dawn.  Sometimes the bunks don’t have a curtain.  There is usually a light always on in the bunk room, and having an eye mask allows you to control bothersome light.  I saved one from a cross country flight on Jet Blue and I’ve found it invaluable.

Finally, CASH!!!  It usually runs a buck per fish to filet them.  You’re going to eat and drink stuff in the galley.  And you’ll want to tip the crew.

One last note, please don’t bring illegal drugs, your own alcohol, fireworks or firearms.  I for one would be really upset if the captain had to turn back the boat because someone was only thinking about themselves.  Be safe and have fun.  Tight lines!



  1. Thanks really helpful since I’m going on my first overnight!!!!!!!

    • Oh yeah you are buddy. Get your game face on 😉

  2. 😐 rrr. game face!

  3. One thing I like to take is ginger snap cookies. Ginger is a known remedy for the “over the rail blues” and I have in past had a little trouble. Peanut butter crackers are handy too. And ear plugs. If You bunk near someone like Me, You will need them! ZZZZZZ! Fish on!

    • I see lots of anglers bring ginger candy too. Great call on the ear plugs. Controlling noise and light are BIG. Peanut butter cookies? Just cuz? 🙂 Thanks for stopping by Byron.

      • Peanut butter is another motion sickness aid. Or so I’ve heard. I always use ginger. But, I dont have much of a problem with sickness.

      • Yeah, me neither. Luckily. Thanks for stopping by Byron

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