For people who love fishing, fishing charters can be an enjoyable way to spend part of a vacation. A charter will make it so you don't have to worry about purchasing or bringing a boat or fishing equipment with you on your vacation. It also means there will be an expert available to guide you to the best places in the local waters to catch the type of fish you're looking for. This can make it a stress-free and relaxing experience, whether you catch the big one or not.
Boat Type and Charter Length
The type of boat and fishing experience you choose will play a big part in determining the cost of the fishing charter. For example, while chartering a head boat for a day could run about $60 to $100, renting an inshore bay boat could be around $550 to $750 for the day, and an offshore sportfisher could run as much as $1,100 to $1,500 per day. Chartering the boat for half a day doesn't cut the cost in half, as there are some expenses that are the same whether you use the boat for half a day or a full day. A half day with the inshore bay boat might be between $375 and $450. Keep in mind that longer trips typically mean a greater chance of catching a fish, and a bigger boat may make the chances of becoming sea sick a bit less likely.
Some fishing charters have a lot more amenities available on board than others. Check to see whether there's a bathroom (or head), a kitchen and a fridge, as these can make the trip a bit more comfortable. Also, ask what type of safety equipment is on board and what fishing equipment will be provided. The amenities are more important for longer trips or trips involving women.
Before considering hiring a fishing charter, it would be a good idea to be familiar with the weather that's typical during that time of year. If there are a lot of storms or very choppy water expected, it may be best to plan for other activities. The captain can advise you on whether or not it's a good idea to go out on any given day and how rough the water is going to be. If the captain calls to cancel, you know that the fishing wouldn't be good anyways, as he wants to make money and will only consider canceling when it really isn't safe to be on the water.
Captains often specialize in certain types of fish, so be sure to ask which type of fish the captain is going to take you out for. Also, make sure that both you and the captain are familiar with the local laws as to how many fish you can take with you, how big the fish can be, and what types of fish are in season.
Shared or Private
Another consideration is whether you're willing to participate in a shared charter along with people you don't know. This may help keep the costs down and make it more affordable to take the kind of trip you're looking for, but it may also make it less likely you'll come home with a big fish.
Ask if there are any extra costs besides the basic charter price. Perhaps there's a fuel surcharge, or a fee for bait, for example. Don't forget to take into account the cost of tipping the crew -- it's customary to give them a tip of between 15 and 20 percent.
Make sure that the captain is licensed, that the charter has the proper insurance, and that at least someone on the crew is certified in CPR and first aid. Check to see if life jackets are provided for everyone and, if not, make sure to bring your own. A boat with twin engines is also a good idea, as this will make it less likely you'll get stranded out at sea if an engine fails. Contact a company like Go Fish Inshore Charters to learn more.