How to Have an Awesome Fishing Charter, Every Time

How to Have an Awesome Fishing Charter, Every Time


OK, now before we jump in here, let’s first notice the title of this article is not “How to Catch a Ton of Fish on Every Fishing Charter”.  There are several reasons I make this distinction, but long story short, after guiding full time for almost 15 years, I know it’s just not possible to catch A TON of fish every single day.  But I also know that whether you catch a ton of fish, just a few fish, or only that one limp sailcat, you can still have an awesome day on the water.  Here’s how to make that happen.


First things first.  Prepare for the day appropriately.  Check the weather ahead of time and choose your clothes accordingly.  In cooler temperatures, be sure to bring or wear more than you think you will need.  It always feels colder on the water and you’ll be glad to have that extra layer to bundle up.  In summer, sun protection is the name of the game.  Choose breathable options that will help you stay cool while also keeping your skin protected from the sun.  No matter the weather, a hat and sunscreen (but not the spray kind!… It stains everything!) are two more essentials.  Always apply your sunscreen before you get on the boat.  That gives it time to soak in, plus you won’t have slippery sunscreen-hands when you’re ready to get to fishing.  A raging sunburn will make you forget the great time you had on your charter quicker than you can say ‘lobster’!


Speaking of essentials, sunglasses can have a huge impact on your day.  Your guide might be up on the platform directing you where to cast, but if you don’t have on a good pair of polarized sunglasses like those offered from Costa, it will be difficult for you to see the fish and react quickly.  Winter temps are on the way which means crystal clear water and the best sight-fishing of the year.  There is nothing more exciting than bumping your bait along and watching a fish see it, follow it, and crash! gobble it up.  So be sure and pack those polarized glasses.


Another way to ensure that you have an awesome day is to listen to your charter captain.  You might be thinking, “Well obviously I’m going to listen, that’s why I’m paying for a charter,” but sometimes it’s easier said than done.  Experienced anglers might be used to fishing a particular way very successfully in their area, but those techniques or baits might not work well in other regions.  Whether or not to set the hook when you have a bite is always tricky too.  Captains spend years getting to know the ins and outs of the local waterways and fishery, and no one wants you to catch fish more than they do.  Keep in mind that even if it’s a slow day of fishing, there is so much to learn if you ask questions and participate. Also, let your guide know what you are trying to accomplish during your trip. Are you looking to learn how to fish for a specific species or learn how to fish a specific area… maybe you just want to catch a few fish to bring home to eat. I always let my clients know what’s been biting best and what techniques are working but sometimes they just want to learn how to walk a top-water plug and sheer catching isn’t their main goal of the charter. Letting your guide know ahead of time what you’d prefer to do can make things more enjoyable for everyone.


Lastly, and most importantly, be sure to bring a great attitude and some enthusiasm.  Some days you’re going to catch so many fish your muscles will be shaking and your hands will be sore.  Other days there will be a lot of hurry up and wait.  But as they say, a bad day of fishing is better than a good day at work, and that is the truth.  So take advantage of those quiet moments and have a look around.  Soak up the sunshine, the fresh air and scope out the wildlife that is out there.  If we’re lucky enough to be out on the water, we’re lucky enough!