Charter Fishing Boats

by thrandur

The Five Essentials for Charter Fishing Boats

I’d finally gotten it: my dream vacation, the time, the money, and the buddy to go down to the Keys and take out a charter fishing boat. Growing up in the Midwest, I’d only seen and read about them. But that first time, it was going to be special.

Charter Fishing Boats

Charter Fishing Boats

And it was special, and I can laugh with the stories I can tell. But let me share with you, first, the five things I wish I’d known then:

  1. Budget vs. Knowledge: I have the excuse of no Internet back then, so I can be forgiven for not knowing what questions to ask. But know your budget, and then research how to get the most out of it. When are you going (winter rates are premium)? Are you looking to keep the fish you catch? What about equipment? The best Captains and crews are also guides who will ask you these things; but their knowledge comes at a price.
  2. Use the wisdom of crowds: The dream may be to be by yourself, but if you spend some time on “head boats”, or large-group charters, you can learn a lot about fishing (including what NOT to do) from observing all those other people going after the same fish.
  3. Location, location, location: At first I had my heart set on Florida charter fishing boats. Since then I’ve explored other places – Alaska for salmon runs, the beauty of St. Maartens, the inland waters with a personal guide teaching me how to entice bass with a fly. Not all charter fishing is in Miami!
  4. Bigger is not always better: You may be tempted to go all out for the big marlin or some studly tuna. Keep in mind there is an art to sport fishing; a joy in the learning curve. Going after fish small enough to be hands-on will get you more into the true spirit of the dream.
  5. Ask questions: Everybody, especially my younger self, has a fear of looking dumb. Remember that not asking questions is a surer path to idiocy than asking about things that later seem obvious. Of course you should tip the crew. No, sunscreen is not part of the boat’s equipment. Sorry, the tarpon is not going to dress itself.

Ultimately, if you ask the right people the right questions, you’ll be on the charter fishing boat of your dreams.

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