Packing for the DIY Saltwater Adventure: The Boat Bag

It might be the barrier islands of SC, the Everglades, or the endless Louisiana marsh, succeeding on your own requires knowledge, planning and packing.

I’ve found if I’m fishing from a boat, the flies and leaders might change for a given area, but the boat bag itself stays the same. Here’s what’s in the bag…

Sunscreen and lip balm: Find one that you like using and use it often. No one wants to look like a leather purse when they get older.

550 paracord: too many uses to list but an emergency pull start for a smaller outboard comes to mind first.

Toilet Paper: store in ziplock bag. Besides the obvious, it can help build an emergency fire if your stranded on land.

First aid: Emergency Hook Remover, contact Saline solution, Advil, pepto tablets, a roll of gauzes and waterproof tape.

BIC lighter: works even when rusted- keep in ziplock with TP.

Bug Defense: generally just a small can of deet and Skin So Soft or No-Natz is plenty but a mesh head net takes up almost no room and is priceless in many marshes.

Keys: extra keys to the boat and the truck. It’s happened to me too many times.

Cash: Riverfront bars, Marinas, ice.

Hook File: the amount of fishermen I know who don’t sharpen their hooks is mind blowing. It makes a difference, keep em sharp. Helps to clean corroded battery cables in a pinch.

Needle nose pliers: boat repairs or crimping barbs/ cutting shanks on that hook that found your leg.

Few tools: Leatherman, 8-14mm Box wrenches. Find what your motor uses. 80 and 100lb mono for cleaning debris from the water stream (cooling).

Duct tape and zipties (fuel line repairs and 100s of other uses)

Small can of T9 Boeshield. Similar to WD-40. Cables, electrical connections, etc.

Buff- sun protection, animosity, make shift bandage or tourniquet.

Contractors Trash Bag(s). Cut and use as makeshift tarp for sun/rain protection or simple poncho. ( I’d keep a rain suit in a waterproof duffel with towels and extra clothes also)

Portable battery pack: can change anything with a USB. Phones, cameras, radios, etc. It seems trivial but a cell phone can be a life saver. Slightly larger than a deck of cards and charges my iPhone 6-7 times. Store in ziplock bag or waterproof box.

You may also enjoy reading South Carolina Septembers

Handheld VHF radio. Note: Since VHF relies on “line of sight” to work, it can become useless if your in places like the Everglades where dense mangroves block the signal.

Locals in the area often carry 25’ extra of cable and a few zip ties along with a small connector piece to attach the antenna to the end of a push pole (or branch) to vastly extend the range.

Of course your needs might differ but these items have kept me dry, safe, and happy in some wet and desperate times. Happy fishing and safe boating!

Scotty Davis