I often get asked- what should I know when booking a charter? How do I make an informed decision on who to book with or what should I do? So I thought I would share some tips and ideas based on how I work and my experience.
First I will talk about the type of fishing and what you may catch.
Prior to booking a charter I always ask my customers this one question “What don’tyou like to do” and I will avoid that fishing style like the plague. Some people hate trolling, some hate live bait fishing. On the flip side some like bottom fishing while others hate it. I do my absolute best to customize my fishing charters for you. I can mix things up a little as well. It really depends on what type of conditions I am dealing with. For example this time of year (which is late Fall) it gets a little tricky as the days are shorter.
In the winter for example- To be successful I recommend clients book a full day so we can fish all day and catch both the incoming and outgoing tides- which is sunrise to sunset. Again the days are shorter. And on the full days most of my clients enjoy using live bait or lures for pelagic fishing which includes wahoo, sailfish, dolphin, tuna and kingfish. These fish are often best caught in the mornings. Then we switch over to bottom fishing w/ live bait to break things up in the afternoon. If conditions are flat calm and no ocean current I have to troll for pelagic fish as live bait fishing requires current and wind. If you prefer reef/wreck fishing all day (which is mutton snappers, groupers, yellowtails) just let me know so I can prep accordingly and we can do that to. But keep in mind- Weather is the Boss so he (or she) may have the final say.
But in regards to booking a charter in general- some captains work with what a client wants to do and some may not. A captain may have their routine and what they like to do and /or are good at and that’s it. The majority of charters I have been on on vacation are ones that I get on board and “We just go”. The captain dictates the charter. However years ago the best charter I was on was out of Cancun when my wife and I stayed in Isla Mujeres. That captain asked me on my first day what I wanted to do and I wanted to catch a sailfish. And sure enough we did! It was an awesome trip. The second the day we went bottom fishing. And we caught a shit load of fish. Super cool! So he mixed it up but I always remembered that he asked me what I wanted to do.
Number 2- Something I added this year which I am so happy I did is I had a Sea Keeper Installed. The Sea Keeper is a Gyro Stabilization System. I see these growing in popularity and therefore think its good to note if a boat has one. The Seakeeper offers the ultimate live bait and bottom fishing experience. It makes you feel like you are fishing on a dock. Last week we watched all the other big 34ft plus boats rocking and rolling while we chilled out and dialed in. The Seakeeper does help prevent seasickness, but if you partied like a rock star the night before, the ocean and hangovers do not mix. You will get deathly sick, just saying. Your fishing experience will not be fun the next day if you gave it hell the night before.
The 3rd tip I would say is to make sure to take some time to read the captains website. I know this may sound intuitive and silly but you wouldn’t believe how many folks don’t do that. And I for example like many other captains have a lot of info on my site. Info that I purposely put out there so you can make an informed decision about “Am I right for you?”
Info such are-
In addition- A lot of captains give good local recommendations on restaurants and hotels so definitely take advantage of their experience. We want you to have a good time.
So I hope this helps with some tips on how to book a fishing charter. I would love to have you check out my site and if you or your family or friends are ever in the Keys give me a call. We have some of the best fishing down here – no joke.
Thank you for listening. If you have any feedback, comments, questions or suggestions I would like to hear from you. I am going to be doing a Q & A episode so definitely email me any questions you may have.