What to Wear on a Fishing Charter: The Ultimate Guide for St. Petersburg Anglers

charter fishing

As an experienced charter fishing captain in St. Petersburg, Florida, I’ve seen it all when it comes to what anglers wear out on the water. Trust me, your choice of clothing can make or break your fishing experience. In this guide, I’ll share my insider tips on how to dress for success on your next charter fishing trip in our beautiful coastal waters.

Why Proper Attire Matters on a Charter Fishing Trip

You might be wondering, “Does it really matter what I wear on a fishing boat?” The answer is a resounding yes! Here’s why:

  1. Comfort: You’ll be spending hours on the water, so you want to feel comfortable throughout the day.
  2. Safety: The right clothing and footwear can prevent slips, falls, and sunburn.
  3. Enjoyment: When you’re dressed appropriately, you can focus on the thrill of the catch rather than being too hot, cold, or uncomfortable.

Essential Clothing Items for Your Charter Fishing Adventure

Layering Basics

The key to staying comfortable on a fishing charter is layering. The weather can change quickly out on the water, and you’ll want to be prepared for anything. Here’s my go-to layering strategy:

  1. Base layer: Moisture-wicking material to keep you dry
  2. Insulating layer: For warmth when needed
  3. Outer layer: To protect from wind and rain

Top Choices

T-shirts and Long-sleeve Shirts

For your base layer, I recommend:

  • Lightweight, quick-drying t-shirts for warm days
  • Long-sleeve performance shirts for sun protection

“A good long-sleeve fishing shirt is worth its weight in gold. It keeps you cool and protects you from the sun’s harsh rays.” – Captain Mike

Light Jackets and Sweatshirts

For cooler days or early mornings, pack:

  • A light fleece jacket
  • A hooded sweatshirt

These items are perfect for that insulating layer when the temperature drops.

Bottom Choices


On hot summer days in St. Petersburg, shorts are a must. Look for:

  • Quick-drying materials
  • Plenty of pockets for storing small items

Pants and Convertible Pants

For cooler weather or extra sun protection, consider:

  • Lightweight, breathable fishing pants
  • Convertible pants that zip off into shorts

Footwear Options

Boat Shoes

A good pair of boat shoes is a charter fishing staple. They offer:

  • Excellent traction on wet decks
  • Quick-drying materials
  • Comfort for all-day wear

Sandals and Water Shoes

In the hot Florida sun, you might prefer open footwear. Consider:

  • Sturdy sandals with ankle straps
  • Water shoes for protection and comfort

Protecting Yourself from the Elements

Sun Protection Gear

Florida is known as the Sunshine State for a reason. Protect yourself with:

Hats and Caps

A good hat is a must-have. Look for:

  • Wide-brimmed hats for maximum coverage
  • Caps with neck flaps for added protection


Protect your eyes and improve your vision on the water with:

  • Polarized lenses to cut glare
  • 100% UV protection
  • Secure straps to keep them from falling overboard


Don’t forget to lather up! Choose:

  • Waterproof, broad-spectrum sunscreen
  • At least SPF 30, but 50+ is better
  • Reef-safe formulas to protect our marine environment

Rain Gear

Florida weather can be unpredictable. Be prepared with:

  • A lightweight, packable rain jacket
  • Waterproof pants for heavy rain

Seasonal Considerations for Charter Fishing in St. Petersburg

Spring and Fall

These transitional seasons can be tricky. I suggest:

  • Layering with a mix of short and long-sleeve options
  • Bringing a light jacket for cooler mornings and evenings


Our summers are hot and humid. Stay cool with:

  • Lightweight, breathable fabrics
  • Plenty of sun protection
  • A cooler filled with ice-cold water


While our winters are mild, it can get chilly on the water. Pack:

  • Warm layers, including a fleece jacket
  • A waterproof outer layer for wind protection
  • Gloves and a beanie for extra warmth

Accessories to Enhance Your Fishing Experience


Protect your hands with:

  • Sun gloves for UV protection
  • Fishing gloves for handling fish and line

Buff or Neck Gaiter

These versatile accessories offer:

  • Sun protection for your neck and face
  • Wind protection on cooler days

Waterproof Phone Case

Keep your device safe with:

  • A floating, waterproof phone case
  • A lanyard for extra security

What Not to Wear on a Charter Fishing Trip

Avoid these items for a safer, more comfortable experience:

  • Flip-flops (too slippery and unsafe)
  • Cotton clothing (it stays wet and cold)
  • Dark-colored clothing (attracts heat and insects)

Packing Tips for Your St. Petersburg Fishing Adventure

Here’s a handy checklist for your charter fishing trip:

Layered clothing options

Sun protection gear

Appropriate footwear

Rain gear

Accessories (gloves, buff, etc.)

Change of clothes (just in case)

charter fishing

How to Prepare Your Gear the Night Before

Set yourself up for success by:

  1. Checking the weather forecast
  2. Laying out your clothing choices
  3. Packing a small bag with extras
  4. Charging any electronic devices
  5. Preparing any snacks or drinks you want to bring

Where to Shop for Fishing Apparel in St. Petersburg

Some of my favorite local spots for fishing gear include:

  1. Bill Jackson’s Shop for Adventure
  2. Fishin’ Shack
  3. Dick’s Sporting Goods
  4. West Marine

You can also find great options at our local outdoor markets and beach shops.


Dressing right for your charter fishing trip in St. Petersburg is all about comfort, protection, and versatility. By following these tips, you’ll be well-prepared for a fantastic day out on the water, no matter what Mother Nature throws our way.

Key Takeaways

  • Layer your clothing for changing conditions
  • Prioritize sun protection with proper clothing and accessories
  • Choose quick-drying, breathable fabrics
  • Wear appropriate footwear for safety on the boat
  • Be prepared for rain with waterproof gear
  • Pack extras and check the weather before your trip


  1. Q: Can I wear regular tennis shoes on a fishing charter? A: While tennis shoes are better than flip-flops, I recommend boat shoes or sandals with good traction for safety on wet surfaces.
  2. Q: Do I need to bring my own life jacket? A: No, all charter boats in St. Petersburg are required to provide life jackets for passengers. However, if you have a favorite personal flotation device, feel free to bring it along.
  3. Q: Is it okay to wear jeans on a fishing trip? A: I don’t recommend jeans as they’re heavy when wet and take a long time to dry. Opt for quick-drying fishing pants or shorts instead.
  4. Q: How do I know how many layers to bring? A: Check the weather forecast and err on the side of caution. It’s always better to have an extra layer you don’t need than to be cold on the water.
  5. Q: Are there any color recommendations for fishing clothes? A: Light colors are generally best as they reflect the sun and stay cooler. Some anglers also believe that light colors are less likely to spook fish.

Remember, the right clothing can make your St. Petersburg charter fishing experience even more enjoyable. If you have any more questions about what to wear or want to book an unforgettable fishing adventure, don’t hesitate to reach out. Tight lines and see you on the water!

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