Here Are Helpful Tips to Keep in Mind Before Hopping on That Fishing Charter

If you love to fish, a guided fishing trip—whether on a kayak tour, a big sport fishing boat, or anything in between—can be one of the most fun and exciting activities you engage in. However, without proper preparation, things can go wrong, ruining an otherwise enjoyable day on the waters.

If you intend to embark on a charter boat trip in the near future, make the most of your vacation and position yourself for success with the help of these charter fishing do’s and don’ts.

Know what to anticipate

Be direct and honest with your guide about your expectations for the day before you mail that deposit check. Inquire about the conditions for fishing and possible outcomes throughout that season.

Inquire about the weather cancellation policy, essential items, the tackle and bait, and potential additional fees. Any seasoned guide should prioritize complete transparency, but there is no harm in starting the conversation on your own to be sure of their standard procedure.

Know the best time to fish


If you have a particular species of fish in mind to target, knowing when they’re present in the local waters where you’re going to fish is important. The captain will advise you when to go for those unique fish and when to make your charter reservations, for both the proper time of day and the season.

Note that some fish are more active in the morning when compared to the evening. You can concentrate solely on the type of fish you want to catch if you know when to go fishing.

Be specific about the experiences you wish to have

When you book your charter, it’s crucial to let your captain know if you have any desires for specific fish or fish species that you wish to target. Captains are brilliant people familiar with the land and the sea, and they can match you up with a fisherman who shares your interests and goals.

Prioritize learning over catching

One error charter boat anglers make is arriving with an extensive list of unrealistic expectations. Consider learning how to fish instead of just going fishing, and remember the logic “If you teach a man to fish…”

On a charter boat, this argument is very wise. It is reasonable to make known to the captain and crew that you wish to catch this or that species of fish, but just understand that the sea is a mysterious place, and be open to the experience and the adventure.

If you prioritize learning and arrive ready to learn, then you will surely develop your skill level, and leave armed with new fishing capabilities and many wonderful memories.

Pack wisely


Most charter boats offer a list of supplies you need to bring. Water and food should always be at the top of your list. Staying hydrated in the sun is of paramount importance, as well as having the proper clothing, snacks, sunscreen, polarized sunglasses, medicine, and any other personal items to make sure your trip is comfortable and fun.

The weather can be unpredictable when you go fishing. Although your day on the water may begin lovely and sunny, the weather can turn on a dime and it could easily start to thunder and rain in an hour. You should bring clothing that will keep you comfortable in the wind, rain, and sun.

Brush up on your fishing skills

Many charter boats welcome first-timers to fishing. However, even if you’ve been fishing for a long time and are an experienced angler, it doesn’t hurt to review the basics before you board the watercraft. You can do this by watching instructional films on handling large fish, or by searching for videos on rigging and knot tying.

Additionally, general films about charter boat fishing are great since they allow you to simulate the experience without actually being there. You’ll adjust to the boat and the boat-style fishing more rapidly with this knowledge. Knowledge is power, and you have complete control over learning before you go.

Be mindful of the boat and equipment

The cost of purchasing and maintaining a boat and all required fishing equipment is significant for a charter boat operator. People are occasionally irresponsible enough to swing leads or rigs into polished surfaces or drop objects. Manhandling light tackle or carelessly placing a rod against a gunwale can cause it to fall overboard or result in damage or loss.

Recognize that the expense of fixing damaged parts and polishing the boat cuts into a profit margin that is already small. Lost gear is typically the responsibility of the person at fault, and an embarrassing conversation ending with you signing a check for a rod lost at sea isn’t anyone’s idea of a great end to the day. Be sure to show respect to the captain’s property and it will be a great day for everyone involved.

Avoid being “That Guy”


Alcohol and boating don’t go well together. The majority of charter companies forbid it, although some may allow alcohol aboard the boat. The fact is that while drinking a beer can enhance the experience for some, it does expose everyone to unwanted risks. The likelihood of a mishap onboard rises significantly with each drink, which no guide enjoys experiencing.

Here’s the bottom line: If you’re looking for a party, you can find one far more quickly and safely on land than on a fishing boat. Avoid embarrassing the captain or ruining the trip for the rest of your group by exercising restraint. Save the party for after the journey.

Final words

If the crew treated you well and you had a good time, tip them and express your appreciation for their assistance. They are teaching you valuable life lessons and the techniques you’ll need to become an expert angler if you choose to brave the high seas alone! Plus, they may have just secured you your dinner.

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