Apr 02, 2017
Fishing is one of those sports that looks a lot easier than it is.
There’s obviously a lot more to it than grabbing a pole and a hook and plunking it in the water, waiting for a majestic fish to swallow your bait and then struggle mightily as you haul it in. You have to know where to go, when to go, what type of tackle to use—it short, it helps to have help.
If you’re looking to try some serious fishing, a charter will most likely be your best bet. There again, you have to make the right choice or you will waste a lot of money—and time. Here are a few tips on how to make your charter expedition a successful one.
Go local. The more experienced your guide, or captain, is, the better off you’ll be. Choose someone who has grown up fishing the area you’re interested in. All experienced anglers have their favorite places to go and they know you’re more likely to book with them again if you don’t return empty handed.
Do your research. Look around online for popular charter services in the area you’re looking to fish. Check out the type of boat they use, the services they provide and, of course, the reviews.
Do your research, part II. If you’re a first-time fisher or a novice with some experience, you should research the type of fish you’re most likely to encounter. Read up on what they like to eat, times they feed and see if you can find any tips on how to land them. Usually, a competent charter fishing captain or crew will supply some of this knowledge, but the more independent you are, the more likely you are to be successful.
Ask around. If you’re visiting an area via a cruise and want to spend your stop fishing, asking the ship’s crew if they have any recommendation. Check the ship’s bulletin board, if there is one. If you’re visiting a southern town, ask the locals—everyone near a fishing hole has a tale to tell and, while fishermen are notorious braggarts, you’ll probably get some valuable information about who to trust and who to leave at the dock.
The infamous “now what?” The type of charter you want may vary greatly, depending on what you want to do with your fish after they’re caught. Ask if the service is a catch-and-release boat, if you keep the fish you catch and if they offer a cleaning service (and what that will cost).
Beware the short lines, or the cheap boats. Charter fishing can be either an exhilarating experience, or a horrible one. The experience relies almost completely on the boat and crew, so beware of boats that are available on short notice during notoriously busy times of the day or season, or extremely discounted rates. You get what you pay for, and sometimes, waiting is better.
Take is slow. If you are new to charter fishing, in particular, you want to take a half-day excursion, rather than a full day. There’s no guarantee you’ll want to be out on the water all day, no matter how romantic and relaxing it looks on the television or in the display ad. It’s best to take it in small steps, at least at first.