Things to avoid when choosing a charter
Choosing a charter can be difficult and finding dedicated professionals with a love for fishing can be equally taxing, but with a little bit of digging and avoiding the pitfalls we have set out below, you should be well on your way to the deep with the experienced captain and crew that you need. The last thing you want to see is anodised reels, clogged with salt buildup and sediment, worn line and sloppy tackle arrangements. You’re paying good money to charter the boat; it should have the correct equipment, serviced and ready for the trip. It’s hard enough finding the fish, but if the equipment is sub-standard, your chances are further minimised.
WHAT’S THE HISTORY?
One way to determine whether you are getting aboard a successful boat is to check out the history of the operator. It will be evident from the website whether the operator has been around for a while. A good friend of mine who has been in the charter business for many years, decades in fact, always says that each and every year there are a number of fly-by-night operators that burst onto the scene and within months they are gone. Firstly they have not gained the necessary knowledge to catch fish and this equates to poor customer catches and eventually a drying up of the customers altogether. Always check out the operator online, it’ll be easy to gauge how long the charter operation has been going. A call to the particular charter operator is another way to gauge how well he knows his stuff and what his catch ratios are like. Make the call, it’ll be worth your while.
GO FULL DAY!
Half day charters are not much cheaper than full day charters because the distance travelled by the boat is the same and a large portion of the related costs of the trip go towards fuel. Also, by electing to take a half day charter, you minimise your catching success dramatically. If you’re going for game fish, it will take quite a while to get into the deep, and that is fishing time which is lost, times two, because you also have to travel back to the marina or slipway.
DON’T PICK A CHEAPIE!
We all know that picking the cheapest charter is not the best route to take. Selecting the cheapest charter could well mean the boat is older, the equipment is beyond its sell by date, tackle isn’t properly maintained and the operator might not even have the legitimate licence to operate. Look for a charter captain that does charters as his main or sole income, as he is in it for the fishing and not simply substituting his income when he needs it. Look for the fulltime professional charter captain – you’ll catch more fish and you’ll be in good hands.
BE PREPARED FOR ANYTHING
By this we mean, don’t set unrealistic expectations. Usually you will catch some fish on a charter, but there are times when fish are less abundant and catches become more difficult. The benefit of using a well-known and reputable charter often insures that there are increased catches due to captain experience, but not always. A greater portion of the time you will come home with some good catches, but the essence of the day, being out at sea with mates, having a good time and doing some quality fishing is what it’s all about.
If you’re prone to seasickness, take tablets the night before and on the morning of the charter. Try not to drink heavily the night before as this just exacerbates seasickness. Lifejackets should be supplied by the charter boat, but it is important to bring warm weather gear with you to ward off the cold. Add polarised sunglasses to your gear and plenty of sun cream. Pack lots of drinks and snacks for the day because you will definitely get hungry and thirsty.
Chartering a day on the water can be immense fun with camaraderie betwween the anglers, chats about the one that got away and much laughter in between. Your clear direction should come from the experienced captain and his crew, assuring you a pleasurable and fish-filled day out in the blue. It’s just a matter of choosing a reliable charter.