Whether you are planning a family vacation or want to learn a few new fishing techniques, booking a charter fishing trip with a professional guide is a great way to maximize your time on the water. Professional captains who run charter fishing trips have the local knowledge that will increase your chances of catching fish and having an overall good experience.
If you haven’t gone on many fishing charter trips, these tips and guidelines will outline a few important things you should know before you go.
1. Licensing and Insurance
Check to make sure the captain or guide is licensed and insured. When you charter a fishing trip, be sure to ask if the captain or guide has the proper licensing and insurance coverage. Most charter captains will provide this information on their website or business card. Reputable guides and charter captains always operate in accordance with the law.
2. Experience With Target Species
Find a guide or captain who specializes in the target species you want to catch. When a captain or guide has several years of experience with a certain fish species, he or she is more likely to have in-depth knowledge regarding migration patterns, feeding habits, and preferred habitat.
3. Ask Other Anglers for Recommendations
Ask other anglers for the name of a good guide or captain they have fished with in the past. Most anglers are happy to provide the names and contact information for guides or captains that they have had positive experiences with. You may also want to ask about whether the guide does an effective job of catering to new anglers or families and is mindful of boating safety when on the water.
4. Standard Gratuity Guidelines
If it’s your first time booking a charter fishing trip with a professional guide or captain, you may be wondering, “how much do you tip on a charter trip?” A general rule of thumb is to tip between 15% and 25% of the booked rate. You should base your tip on your guide’s diligence, skill, positive demeanor, and instructional ability. Since your guide can’t guarantee how many fish you catch, this should not be a primary tipping factor.
5. What the Rate Includes
How much does a charter fishing trip cost? What is included? These are two common questions you are likely to have. Rates for charter fishing trips will vary quite a bit (from a couple of hundred dollars up to around thousand dollars) depending on the length of trip, number of anglers, fishing destination, and the type of trip (freshwater, inshore, offshore). Find out what is included in the quoted rate before your trip. This way, you can plan what to bring on a fishing charter trip and budget for anything that isn’t covered in the rate. Knowing exactly what is included in the rate will also help you determine if the trip will be worth the cost.
Now that you have five key tips to help you find the best fishing guide or charter captain, start planning a fishing adventure with your family on a new waterway.