5 Tips for a Great Charter Boat Fishing Experience

If you’d rather fish than do just about anything else, but you don’t have your own boat, you’d likely enjoy a private charter boat fishing excursion. You’ll get to choose your own coastal or lake fishing grounds, and you can invite a few fishing buddies along. To get maximum enjoyment from your fishing trip, set the stage for some memorable fish stories. 

Check out these 5 tips for the best charter boat fishing experience ever!

Tip #1: Establish a Workable Trip Time Frame

In a perfect world, you’d cram unlimited fishing action into your charter boat fishing trip, and let your schedule constraints fall by the wayside. However, it’s not realistic to ignore your other obligations so you can squeeze out some extra time aboard. Likewise, be considerate of your crewmates’ schedules, as you’d like to keep them on your short list for future fishing adventures. In many cases, you can choose from half-day, full day, or even overnight charter boat excursions. Many trips include a qualified captain familiar with the regional fishing grounds. Nail down the trip’s length before you turn your attention to prime fishing spots.

Tip #2: Choose Realistic Fishing Destinations

If you’ve booked a smaller powerboat for a one-day lake excursion, visiting ten different fishing spots means you won’t have time to enjoy fishing in any of them. At the day’s end, you’ll be frustrated and wonder why you don’t have many fish in the cooler. Or, maybe you’re day tripping aboard a compact single-outboard boat on the south Florida coast. After bigger boats’ crews show off their impressive hauls from an ocean charter, you’re tempted to try those offshore fishing grounds yourself. If you take that route, you’ll likely have an uncomfortable ride in stomach-churning chop or high ocean swells. In the worst case, you could push the boundaries of safety and endanger the boat and/or crew. To avoid these unfavorable outcomes, match your charter boat fishing itinerary to your available time and the boat’s capabilities.

Tip #3: Confirm the Fishing Gear Arrangements

When it comes to fishing gear, you don’t go anywhere without your “lucky” rod and reel. You also like to bring your tackle box, spare rods, and a good-sized cooler to ice down your catch. Because your crewmates are also diehard fishermen, they’ll likely haul the same amount of “stuff” aboard the boat, potentially leading to cluttered piles that make it tough to maneuver around the deck. To avoid this rolling obstacle course, eyeball the boat’s deck arrangement and gear storage capacity. Determine if the charter includes any fishing equipment for guests’ use. Based on those assessments, ask everyone (including you) to pare down their gear accordingly. If the charter boat has a large deck cooler for guests’ catches, leave your cooler in the truck until you return. Finally, learn if the charter includes a prior purchase of applicable fishing licenses, or if your crew must obtain them before leaving the dock.

Tip #4: Pack Personal Comfort Gear & Refreshments

To increase your odds of a carefree charter boat fishing trip, bring your own personal comfort items, including a face-protecting hat and sunscreen. Regardless of the forecast, bring a jacket and rain gear, as getting cold and/or wet can make you a miserable shipmate. If you’re prone to seasickness (or suspect you might be), consult with your physician about an effective preventive medication. Finally, throw plenty of cold drinks (especially water) into your bag, and pack tasty snacks and refrigerated sandwiches.

Tip #5: Confirm the Trip Cancellation Policies

Despite your organizational mastery, unexpected stormy weather could keep the boat docked for part of the day. In areas subject to hurricanes and tropical storms, your trip can be canceled due to the unsafe wind and wave conditions. To head off unforeseen surprises, obtain a written copy of the trip postponement and cancellation policies before finalizing the charter.

Jump Start Your Charter Boat Fishing Trip

Now that you’re prepared for a great day on the water, where can you find the right boat for the trip? Check out Boatsetter, the leading boat-sharing company that helps to connect boaters with local boat owners. Through Boatsetter, you can book a privately owned powerboat or sailboat near your home port, giving you access to great regional fishing grounds. Even better, you can hire a licensed Coast Guard captain to drive the boat while you fish yourself silly. Grab your calendar and contact list, and book that charter boat fishing trip today!


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