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What to Take on an Ocean Fishing Trip on a Charter Boat - Tackle & Gear For Twilight Fishing

Updated on September 4, 2014

Choosing a Boat

The first consideration is what party boat to take. There are many private charter and party boat companies in Southern California who will gladly take you fishing for a fee. When it comes to a 5 or 6 hour twilight fishing trip, it is usually easiest and least expensive to just get on a party boat.

Many of them run specials for $25 to $35 for the trip. I usually make my choice based on availability, price and the previous night's fish count. Most of the charter boat companies have a daily fish count on their website.

Rods & Reels

If you don't have a rod and reel, you can usually rent one for about $15 from the party boat company. If you are bringing your own you should take a saltwater medium action rod and a reel that can accommodate at least 300 yards of 20lb. monofilament test.

If you rent from the boat operating company, they will give you a pretty simple spinning reel set up which is about all you need.

Most of the fishing that you will be doing is going to be at the bottom of the ocean at depths of 50 to 300 yards.

Terminal Tackle For Inshore Fishing

You will mostly be targeting rockfish and bass. You should be prepared for both. Here is a list of tackle for both.

  • Torpedo sinkers at various weights. I take, 8 oz, 4 oz, 3 oz and 2 oz.
  • Hooks #2, #4 and 3/0.
  • 1 oz Jigheads with bass lures.
  • Sliding egg sinkers or rubbercor sinkers in 1/4, 1/2 and 3/4 oz sinkers.

The boat captain will tell you what species of fish to target each time the boat anchors. The deck hands will help you set up your terminal tackle based on the depth, current and species of fish.

Don't worry about bait, the boat will have that for you.

On a side note: I like to take an extra rod set up with a sabiki rig for catching mackerel. You should make sure that you have a second rod license and make sure the boat allows you to fish more than one rod. Mackerel love the lights from the boat and are often everywhere in the water around the boat. They make great catfish bait.

Fishing Apparel

In the hot summer months wear cooler, breathable clothing, but also prepare for cooler temperatures and wet conditions. Pack what you need in a backpack. Hard plastics are generally not allowed on the boats.

Most people wear athletic rubber soled shoes, but rain boots are better if you have them.

Do not bring ice chests or buckets. The boat will usually provide you with a gunny sack to store your fish while on the boat. At the end of the trip, you fish will be placed in a plastic bag for you to take home. The deck hands will filet your fish for you for about $1 each fish.

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