Rules of the Road

Onshore and Pier

  • Our membership is all about interaction with each another and enjoying fishing in Southwest Florida.
  • Just about every weekday morning, a club members gather at the Matlacha Bridge, Bat Park, or Matlacha Community Park for a few hours of fishing comradery.
  • Organized Pier or Beach trips are announced at the monthly business meetings or by email notification.

Some Inshore Items

  • Most Flats Boats are small, have a shallow draft and always require good balance while on board.
  • All Mates be able to get on and off small boats from docks or landing platforms without assistance
  • All Mates must be comfortable maneuvering around once onboard.


  • At RAFC, we recognize the wide variations in experience and skills amongst our members.
  • Our trips designed for "fun" and not "work."
  • Mates must be ready and available to assist in the trip preparation and end of trip clean up.
  • Mates usually bring bait, ice and sometimes snacks to share with the group.
  • Available space on each boat is different and often limited. Everyone should not bring more items that will be used.
  • Mates must be comfortable maneuvering around the different boat decks.
  • Issues or requests need to be discussed with the Captain in advance of the day of the trip.
  • Everyone needs to remember that the Offshore Captains are doing a huge favor for running these trips.

About our Captains

  • Individual Captains have rules and standards that they require mates to abide by.
  • Captains may require a signed release form prior to the trip. 
  • We're all aware of variables, like the weather, that will impact trip changes. They may come on short notice.
  • Some Captains clean fish the next morning.
  • Please consider Ride Sharing to the Captain's location. It will make parking requirements simpler.

How To Have Fun & Be Safe

Safety Points to Consider Every Trip

  • Weather - Boat - Crew
  • What are the Constraints for your trip?
  • Float Plan - Left with a trusted person on shore? (emergency contacts information of the crew)
  • Storms likely? Check the forecast - leave the VHF weather channel on during your trip
  • Equipment Checklist - Bilge pumps status - Fire extinguishers - Running Lights - Extra water aboard?
  • Boat and its Electronics - All crew should be familiar with basic functions and operation.
  • Communications - VHF, cell phone numbers circulated (charged & cords too)
  • Emergency Equipment - Life Preservers, Cell phones, EFIRB, SPOT, or EnReach, etc.
  • First Aid Kit - Usually cuts and punctures, includes any specialized items for crew or trip. (Bleedstop)
  • "GO" or "DITCH" Bag ready and onboard? Be ready in case someone goes overboard - Throwable ready, etc.
  • Communicate your Plans to the Crew - Keep it simple & ask for questions. Show them where your emergency stuff is and tell them what they are expected to do.
  • ​During the Trip - Be aware, Keep a good lookout, know what's going on with the other boats.

Reel Anglers Multi-Boat Trip Protocol

  • These trips are for fun, so let's all act like it, be courteous, on time, and responsible.
  • If you see something that needs doing, take care of it.
  • Communicate with the crew and captains in advance so everyone has a clear idea of the intended trip.
  • When on a multi-boat trip, get a common float plan and let the group know when you deviate from it.
  • If you leave the fishing area before the others, let them know you are leaving so they 
    1) don't start looking for you, and 2) know that you have left. 
  • All captains should have a clear and continuous idea of the route, destination, and other boats on the trip.
  • Pick a VHF channel for the trip (usually 68, 69, or 71) and if it's busy that day make sure everyone is aware of any change.
  • If you are on an inshore trip, the group may prefer cell/text usage of VHF.
  • NO Firearms or Alcohol should be brought onboard without permission of the captain.

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