So, deep sea fishing – is it safe or dangerous? If your spirit is full of adventure and wanderlust – and, given that you’re actually reading this, it probably is – you’ve thought of deep sea fishing as something on your bucket list. The idea fascinates you: open waters far from civilization, no one else in sight, relying only on yourself and your skills to make a catch.
While this image might seem idyllic to some (myself included), it can also be someone else’s worst nightmare. Do not attempt if you’re the sort of control freak that needs to figure out all variables and plans in advance. This variety of fishing will challenge all of your preconceptions and take you to the limits of your abilities.
There is, then, a clear sense of unpredictability when you’re out fishing on the open ocean. It doesn’t matter if it’s the Atlantic, the Pacific, the Indian, or other— a certain level of risk will always be present.
But is risky the same as dangerous? I don’t think so. Hear me out: as long as you are informed and aware of the risks, you can plan and train to face them. This means that, with enough diligence, deep sea fishing is not that much more dangerous than other types of fishing you’ve already attempted.
The key, then, is to be prepared.
Is Deep Sea Fishing Dangerous?
When faced with something unknown, mysterious, and possibly risky, the normal human response is to ask questions. That’s a good thing! It shows you’re thinking for yourself and are all set to make good decisions. In this case, ‘is deep sea fishing right for me?’
But maybe you don’t even know how or where to start asking those pivotal questions. These are some good items to get thinking about.
- Will I have everything I need?
- What happens if there’s bad weather or a big storm?
- How do I avoid accidents?
- Is the boat going to sink?
- Will I be seasick?
Of course, these are all frequent and valid concerns— there’s no shame in being cautious! Now that the gears in your brain are turning, let’s look at some answers.
What Should You Expect?
After so many doubts and questions, it stands to reason to start off with some solid information to clear up (some of) the mystery of deep sea fishing. What should you expect when you’re heading out far from the angling crowd?
Well, first of all, and despite all those romantic wilderness images you might be indulging in, you won’t be going out to sea alone. Despite any prior experience you might have at fishing, this is an adventure that needs companions. And, by companions, I mean a reputable, well-established charter company.
No matter your misgivings and doomsday scenarios— charter companies have been playing the game for a while. Deep sea fishing is their specialty and they know exactly what to do and what not to do. Finding one is your first step. The main thing is to always pay attention and follow the lead of your chosen captain and crew.
Now, deep sea fishing is defined as open waters fishing— at depths of at least 30 meters or almost 100 feet. You can certainly expect no shallow bits! If you tend to get dizzy or think that this depth might make you at all queasy, it’s best to assume you will be and plan accordingly.
Your boat will be a big one. In fact, probably larger than any you’ve been fishing on before. The purpose of this is to make sure the boat can stand all sorts of weather and waves, as well as to leave plenty of space for the catch.
Speaking of— get ready: you’ll be catching the biggest fish of your angling career! In the deep sea, creatures are wilder, larger, better.
Which, in turn, means you’ll be getting quite a workout: deep sea fishing is more intensely physical than angling or other forms of the sport, so you’ve got to make sure you’re up to the task. Train, get some resistance going, and be ready to pull against some gutsy fish.
You’ll get tired, sweaty, and wet. You can’t control the sea or its creatures. But the rewards are usually great and you’ll feel incredibly accomplished at the end of the day— isn’t that what matters?
Well, you know what it’s going to be like. Now, how do you prepare to make the most of it and stay safe?
How to Be Prepared for a Deep Sea Fishing Trip
While this experience is one of a kind— and definitely one every angler ought to have—, it’s not simply getting on a boat and casting your line. You’ve got to do your homework and be ready.
Yes, if you take all the necessary steps, you’ll find deep sea fishing to be a super fun, soothing, and fulfilling sport. But, in order to achieve that peak experience, you’ve got to be prepared. That’s the only key to unlocking this bucket list fishing goal.
To plan your trip successfully, grab a piece of paper (digital is also valid), something to write with, and get researching with me. There’s nothing you can’t do if you’ve got enough groundwork!
#1 – Research Your Company Ruthlessly
Who holds your deep sea fishing experience and even your life in their hands? Yes, that’s right: it’s your charter company. If someone’s going to have that much influence on the outcome of your trip, it stands to reason to be relentless when researching them, right?
So, before you pick a company, let’s lay out the foundations of what you’ve got to check for. You can even make a comparison chart if you’re so analytically inclined.
When it comes to charter companies, just like in Viking Age Scandinavia, reputation is everything. Only that, here, instead of defining who goes to Valhalla, a charter company’s reputation gives you an in on how they operate.
Remember this: don’t rely on prices to determine which company is the best. Why? Prices are all too often not a true reflection of the value and satisfaction they provide.
Word-of-mouth is a much more revealing factor. If people are either mad or ecstatic about something, they’re pretty likely to want to talk about it. That’s how you find out. Online reviews are useful— try to read those on third-party sites (websites not linked to the company) for a fairer impression. However, you should keep in mind that it’s not hard to tamper with online reviews, so they’re far from the ideal source.
If at all possible, contact someone (a friend of a friend?) who has already used a charter company for their deep sea fishing trip. Ask them what they thought of it, whether there’s anything they’d praise or criticize, whether they went home happy, etc.
After doing your recommendations research, take a look at your top company choices and figure out which program suits you the best! Check for stuff like weather-related cancellations, cancellation policies, crew experience, and legal standing.
#2 – Provide for Yourself
Despite the fact that this won’t be a solo adventure (please!), you can definitely keep some of that adventurous, lone ranger spirit alive. While you’ll rely on your charter company and their crew for the Big Stuff, there are lots of ways you can prepare that will make sure you have a memorable experience when deep sea fishing. You can be the deciding factor for the quality of your trip!
So what practical steps can you take? Providing for yourself is the first one: by focusing on fulfilling your own equipment and comfort needs, you’re taking the power back into your own hands.
The golden rule, here, is to take your own equipment with you on the trip. Yes, even if the charter company is also offering equipment. Though you’ll have to deal with the (arguably minor) hustle of transporting your stuff before and after, this little tip is bound to save you a headache or two.
Here is the crucial deep sea fishing equipment you have got to take with
- 50+ sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses— believe it or not, sunburns are the highest, most likely risk of deep sea fishing. With these items, it’s easy to keep your skin safe!
- Water – hydration is a must when you’re practicing an intense sport under the sun’s rays.
- Beer – because fun is a thing too and snacks
- A towel – to keep dry if you fall in or get splashed
- Warmer clothing and/or a change of clothes – fishing is a sweaty and dirty business. It pays to have a change of clothes to hand.
- A first aid kit – small accidents do happen including whatever medication you take or might need such as anti-nausea pills
- A waterproof bag – for important belongings, documents, and electronics
- A camera – trust me, with the views you’ll witness, you’ll want to use it
Make your grocery list and get going!
#3 – Choose the Right Clothing
Clothing, then, is one of the most important items to take on your trip. As you already know, you’ll need both the clothes on your back and a change of clothing. It’s simple— you’re bound to, at some point, get wet. And the feeling of dry, warm garments on you in a harsh environment is the best thing ever!
The question is, in a market chock-full of adventure brands claiming to have the Most Advanced and very best thing for you, how do you pick the right clothing?
To start with, talk to the pros: the charter’s crew and, obviously, the captain will be well informed of the typical weather patterns during their trip. They’re the best advisors in the clothing game.
Secondly, you need to be aware of the different ways the weather changes during a day out on the water. Since most charters leave the shore in the early hours of the morning before the sun is up and return late in the evening (say, 8 or 9 pm), there are definitely going to be temperature variations to deal with.
Make sure to know what you’re comfortable with. It’s a good idea to set out in a very comfortable outfit that provides some warmth, like a T-shirt, a thick hoodie, and a pair of shorts or convertible pants. When dressing like this, you can either peel or add layers as the weather conditions change.
Another good idea is to bring along some waterproof clothing and shoes. At least, you should be wearing footwear that’s still secure and non-slip when it becomes wet.
#4 – Become Your Own Weather Expert
While your charter company is definitely going to update you on what the weather’s like, you shouldn’t rely on that completely. It’s always more secure (and anxiety-soothing) to check the facts and have all the info yourself.
If the day’s conditions are shaping up to be unpredictable, stormy, or just choppy, it’s up to you to decide what you’re comfortable enduring. For example, if you suffer from seasickness (or thing that you might), you should try to avoid sailing on days with wilder waves.
Why is it not enough to just rely on the crew? Think of it— they’re used to this. What’s just a bit of weather to them, the pros can turn out to be your own worst nightmare.
As a last failsafe, make sure to, when choosing the charter company, check that their deals are either refundable or that they have a decent cancellation and reprogramming policy. You’ll avoid nasty surprises!
After going through all of this information, you’ve probably already formed a verdict of your own. The bottom line is that deep sea fishing is as dangerous as anything that involves sharp stuff, unpredictable natural forces, and non-domesticated creatures. That is, somewhat— and just how dangerous it depends on you.
So don’t choose to be a daredevil and take responsibility for your own security! If you put these simple recommendations into practice, you’ll be making your deep sea fishing trip as safe as it can be and, quite crucially, you’ll be able to enjoy it!