The Right Fishing Charter
Choosing the right fishing charter for a place you have never visited before can be quite the task. There are many factors working against you, such as not knowing which season is most ideal for fishing on the lake/sea or which charter has the most experience. It can be a bit unsettling knowing that you are basing your decision solely on the reputation of the local fishing charters and the captain's efforts to market/promote his or her business. The problem with relying on this information is that some charter captains are better marketers than they are fishermen. Read below for five tips on how to determine the right fishing charter for you. We elaborate on how to size up a captain and figure out if the charter is legitimately capable of meeting your needs.
#1 How to Determine How Long a Fishing Charter has Been in Operation.
When calling to inquire about a fishing carter's services one should be straightforward and direct without being pushy or rude. Remember your manners. Most professional charter captains will be more than happy to boast and brag about how many years their charter has been out at sea. All you need to do is speak directly to the captain, do not book through a third party or administrative office. It is common for a fishing charter to be run solely by the captain. However, there are rare occasions when a marina office might pick up the phone to schedule a reservation for the crew, but be sure to ask to speak to the captain directly. Speak politely to the captain and address him with the utmost respect.
Once you get the captain on the line, it is time to interview him for a few select pieces of information. If the captain is irritated or annoyed when speaking to you then it is best you book elsewhere. A fishing charter is a customer service based business just as much as it is an angler service, so there is no excuse for the captain to act unkind or rude. A successful captain loves what he does and can't wait to show his guest the ropes. After you get a feel for the captain's attitude, it is time to ask some key questions, such as how long they have been professionally fishing and how long has their charter been in operation. Be kind as you ask these questions, you do not want to offend him or her. As long as the charter has been in operation for over a year and a half you should be in good hands. It only takes a year or more to become an established fishing charter when you are out at sea more than fifteen days each month.
#2 How to Determine if You are Looking for a Part Time or Full Time Charter.
One thing you should be aware of is that making a full time career out of a professional fishing charter is quite the challenge. It is extremely costly to own, maintain, and insure a boat year round. Not to mention purchasing the equipment necessary to teach novice anglers with is a pretty penny all on its own. In short, several captains have a secondary job when fishing season is over. Know that this factor does not impact a captain's capabilities as an angler whatsoever. Regardless, a part time or full time charter captain will be able to meet your needs.
Price is the main difference between a part time or full time charter captain. A full time charter captain is typically under more pressure to pay his bills and will take a fishing charter out to sea even when it isn't season. So beware! A full time charter captain may attempt to oversell his charter. If you feel pushed into a charter purchase then you should look elsewhere. A captain should be nothing but kind and accommodating. However, do not let shopping for a part time or full time captain consume you. What you should focus on is how long a charter will take you out to sea, how well their business is run, and their customer service approach. Your decision should be based off of the captains experience level and eagerness to accommodate all of your fishing charter needs.
#3 How to Learn About the Captain's Fishing Expertise.
It is of utmost importance to learn about the charter captain's experience in fishing. The level of the captain's background in fishing or lack thereof, definitely holds the ability to make or break your fishing experience. Keep in mind that age is just a number! A younger captain can be just as well trained as the next, besides most of the younger generation have been mentored by a well experienced angler on the brink of retirement. In order to tell a captain's fishing expertise, ask them about their fishing experience in the region and what type of fishing made them interested in becoming a professional. The typical answer for a novice fishermen to go full time professional is that they were at the top of their fishing class for several consecutive years and loved it so much they desired to make a career out of it. The more passionate the captain is about fishing , the better. Look for a versatile captain who has experience in fishing for a variety of species, this trait will come in handy if conditions suddenly change due to a variable of factors.
Your main focus should be finding a captain who has years of experience fishing in the region you desire to charter in. Your second concern should be what type of fishing they specialize in. You need to consider if this is the type you are willing to pay to learn or if you would prefer a different skill set in your captain. All you need to do is ask the captain their favorite fish to catch. Depending on the answer you can pretty much gage their skill set. If they prefer to fish for a bottom feeder species, you can pretty much guarantee they are skilled at trolling and visa versa. Overall, it is in your best interest to hire a knowledgeable captain with a large skill set that includes techniques for catching several different types of fish.
#4 How to Find Out a Typical Fishing Charter Itinerary.
An experienced charter captain should be able to answer this question with ease! They should be able to give you a mock 'routine' of what a typical day out at sea will consist of. If they are really good, they will be able to tell you the entire trip itinerary from the moment you leave the port to the moment you return. Keep in mind this itinerary should be based around the season's weather and fish game. An amatuer captain may not be able to answer this question smoothly, so watch of for these red flags. Your captain will be able to tell you what type of fish will bite at which season and which species are the best to target in each weather condition. However, one of the best parts about fishing is that no two days are ever the same. The sea is very unpredictable and one day the fish may go wild biting your line, while the next may be completely dead. You just never know. So, if a captain is explaining that everything may not always go according to plan, he is correct! But you do have every right to understand your options beforehand.
You should know every detail of your fishing charter before committing to the excursion. Have the captain layout your options and clarify what you are paying for. However, do not trust a captain who is guaranteeing you will catch a fish. There is no possible way to one hundred percent guarantee that you will catch a fish, it is simply unrealistic. If your captain is offering you this, he may take you somewhere with trash fish just to get something on your line and live up to his guarantee.
Fishing takes a lot of skill which is why you are paying to learn this skill. Not everyone can throw a line into the deep blue sea and catch a fish. Be realistic when booking your fishing charter - do your research and educate yourself about the popular fish in the region of your desired destination before you inquire about fishing conditions with your prospectable captains.
#5 How to Inquire About Captain's Experience in Fishing Tournaments.
Keep in mind that a highly expereince captain may never enter into a fishing tournament. This factor should have no reflection on who he is as a captain or how skilled he is as a fisherman. However, if you are looking to fish in a tournament one day then it may be beneficial to fish under an experienced tournament fisher. Many fishermen enter into tournaments for further experience and to gain a reputation in the world of fishing. Tournament fishing has the ability to fine tune a fisherman's skill set and teach him how to perform under pressure and in ever changing conditions while money is at stake. It is not cheap to fish in a tournament and one must have a competitive edge.
As you inquire about a captain's experience in tournament fishing do not expect a legendary tale. Some fishermen merely enter into tournaments for the fun. Although, if by chance your captain has won a tournament, then rest assured you are in good hands as fishing tournaments are extremely difficult. Remember, tournaments are not mandatory for a captain to be an excellent fishermen though. It is their overall fishing experience level in the charter's specific region that truly matters.