Posted In Fishing Tips, General

10 Things To Consider When Booking A Fishing Charter

February 4th, 2016

Interested in booking a fishing charter? Here’s 10 things to consider before hitting the water.

Nothing rounds out a tropical vacation quite like spending a bit of time fishing, and when you’re at the ocean the best way to get on fish is by booking a fishing charter. Fishing charters are a great way to spend a few hours, or a day or two, on the water without having to worry about things like mooring your own boat, fuel costs or even finding the fish. There’s certainly no shortage of options when it comes to choosing the right charter for you. Just walk down to the local dock – odds are you’ll bump into a dozen captains in the first five minutes. With that kind of selection, picking the charter that’s right for you can be tricky. Lucky for you, we’ve put together a list of the top 10 things to consider when booking a fishing charter.

1. Location, Location, Location

Pick a charter that’s close to where you’re staying. There’s no sense in having to travel halfway across the city when there’s boats at the marina just down the road from you. Even if you get a better rate at the charter across town, you should consider that these boats leave pretty darn early in the morning. Getting across town before the sun comes up is tough no matter where you are and no one wants to get up any earlier than they have to when they’re on vacation, even if there’s fish to be had.

Picante Sportfishing | Share A Fishing Charter

2. Type of Fishing

Do you want to do an inshore trip? Offshore? Reef? Night fishing? The kind of fishing that you’re looking to do plays a pretty big role in the decision making process when it comes to choosing a fishing charter. Be sure to ask what kind of fishing opportunities the charter offers and also mention the kind of fishing you want to do. You don’t want to get stuck on a tuna charter, when all you wanted to do is fish bonefish in the flats.


3. Group Size

Are you on your own? Do you have a large group of people traveling with you? Are you on a day pass from family activities and hoping to get into some fish? The number of people in your party plays a huge role in picking a charter and determines things like whether you’re getting a private charter for a large group or joining a shared charter on your own. Boats rated for smaller groups, up to six people (called six packs) are a pretty standard size for private and smaller shared charters, but party boats can hold up to 60 passengers. Shared charters—like offered through – are great if you just want to get on the water and you don’t mind sharing a boat with people you don’t know. These can be very affordable, but there’s the chance that when the reel starts screaming, you won’t be the one to reel it in. Private charters are ideal for larger groups or if money isn’t an issue.

4. Trip Duration

How long do you want to spend on the water? A half day charter will get you four hours of fishing, a full day is 8 and an overnight charter means you’re sleeping on the boat—or fishing all night, I guess, but that’s up to you. The longer you spend on the water, the greater your chances are of getting into fish. You’re not guaranteed more fish on an all-day charter—I’ve had days where I’ve caught more fish in 45 minutes of being on the water than the previous two 12 hour days combined—but you increase your chances of not only getting into more fish, but also getting into bigger ones.

Cancun Fishing Charters | ETFishing on

5. Targeted Species

If you have a specific fish in mind, be sure to mention that when you’re picking a charter. Certain fish only come around at certain times of the year (there’s are some great bite charts here). You’re not going to want to waste your time trying to catch tuna when tuna are halfway around the world at the time you’re looking to fish. Another thing to consider is how many fish you’re hoping to catch. Are you looking to catch enough for a meal or two or are you maybe hoping to stock the freezer at home, so you have a tasty reminder of your trip in the freezer when you’re feeling hungry? Letting the captain know your intention can help them plan the outing that suits you best.

6. The Captain

A little due diligence here will go a long way. Spend a little bit of time researching the charter and captain online. Read reviews on Yelp and Trip Advisor to get other people’s thoughts and opinions on how the captain operates, what the boat is like, what the crew is like, and whether or not it was a good experience. Someone could very well come across like a great deal on their website, but end up being a total lunatic on the water, have substandard equipment or even a boat that technically floats, even though it looks like it shouldn’t. Just like most things, the time you spend researching and reading reviews could mean the difference between living out your dreams of deep sea fishing or being stuck in a waking nightmare.

7. Boat Type

The kind of boat you’re on determines the kind of trip you take. You can’t go on an overnight trip in a center console boat any more than you can easily fish the flats in a large sportfisher. Being as specific as possible to the kind of fishing you want to do will help make sure you’re in the right boat for the trip you’re planning. Some charter boats have restrictions as to how far they can be from shore, so your deep sea dreams might not be possible if all the charter has are canoes.


8. Amenities

You might not care if there’s a bathroom on the boat or not, but others may. Knowing what you amenities you want to have—bathroom, kitchen, fridge—helps narrow down your options. Other things to keep in mind are making sure the boat has proper safety equipment and whether or not the boat has a fighting chair. You might not think you want one, but when your back start screaming louder than your reel and you’re 20 minutes into a fish, you might start singing a different tune.

Picante Sportfishing | Share A Fishing Charter

9. Conservation Practices

Whether or not you keep a fish is up to you, but you want to be sure your captain knows what’s in season and what isn’t, what any size restrictions may be, whether or not you can keep a certain fish or what the boundaries of any protected waters may be. There’s nothing worse than being on a boat with someone who doesn’t respect the ocean and has practices that are considered harmful, if not downright illegal.

10. Cost

Probably the biggest factor when it comes to booking a fishing charter. The sky’s the limit when it comes to how much you can spend on a day of fishing, so before you book, make sure you’re getting the best deal you can. You know your budget better than anyone and there’s always the temptation to go with the cheapest option you can, but there’s a fine line between getting your money’s worth and getting what you pay for. If a deal seems too good to be true, do a bit of research and make sure you’re going with a reputable company and not just some guy with a boat at the dock.


Our site offers a revolutionary way to plan and book charter fishing adventures at over 100 of the hottest destinations from Cabo San Lucas to the Florida Keys to San Diego and back. Search for fishing trips by regions or create custom alerts to receive the best discounts on charters in your area. If you’re still not sure which charter is right for you, our crew is standing by on live chat ready to answer your questions and help find you the perfect adventure.


Where have you had your best charter fishing experience? Leave your story in the comments below and help out your fellow anglers.


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Maggie Allen
2 years 5 months ago

Thanks so much for sharing all of these considerations for people who want to go fishing! I really like your point on looking at the amenities offered on the charter in order for you to have the best experience. Since my friends and I know next to nothing about fishing, we will be sure that the ship we pick has a fighting chair and good equipment. After all, the last thing I want is a sore back!


[…] You can charter everything from a four person boat for fishing the bays to huge, 90 foot party boats in Destin, depending on what you’re looking to do. Prices range from around $120 to $200 per hour per boat (usually blocked out in 4, 6, and 8 hour sessions, unless you’re doing a multi-day fishing trip) depending on what kind of fishing experience you’re looking for. These prices usually include bait, gear, ice and licenses, but be sure to ask just in case. Some things may be covered by one charter, but not another. You don’t want to be… Read more »


[…] you’re booking a charter, most provide things like licenses, bait, gear and ice, along with the expertise needed to get you […]'
Alex Trodder
2 years 4 months ago

I went deep sea fishing once while I was growing up with my dad and brother. You make a great point to consider the duration of the trip. My brother and I were both teenagers, so the fact that it was all day wasn’t a big problem for us. However, if you have younger children, you might want to consider if your kids are up to spending all day on a boat. Thanks for your tips.

Tara Jones
2 years 4 months ago

I love all of these tips, but especially your advice to make sure that you doing all that you can to get the kind of catch you want. My husband and I want to go fishing so that we can have fresh fish to fill our freezer and not have to worry about buying who knows what at the supermarket – but you made a good point when you said that you need to be on the same page as the captain. I think we’ll probably look for a charter that’s just an outing for the two of us, that… Read more »'
Simon Brooks
2 years 2 months ago

I wouldn’t have thought about talking to the charter about what kind of species I’m actually looking to catch, but it seems very obvious in hindsight. My wife and I have been planning to go on a trip down south for a while now and figuring out whether or not the fish I want to catch will even be there is very important. I also like that you remind readers to check the their group size since that can have a major impact on the type of charter they’re going to need.'
Sarah Smith
2 years 24 days ago

My parents want to go fishing and need to get a boat charter. Thanks for the advice about knowing what kind of fish you want so that the captain can go to the best place for that fish.'
2 years 19 days ago

I’m about to take a trip to Costa Rica, and I think this is definitely going to help, thank you! Good stuff.'
2 years 18 days ago

This was super helpful, thank you! Getting ready to take my family out for our first trip and we will definitely be taking note of many of the things that you mentioned. Going to make sure we find the right one!'
Sarah Smith
2 years 5 days ago

My husband and I are going on a fishing trip. Thanks for the advice about how when you book your trip you should check the amenities.

1 year 11 months ago

I had no idea that boats could hold that many people. I’ve been trying to figure out an activity for a family reunion next year, but I didn’t think I could get everyone on a single boat. Now I’m not so sure. Thanks for sharing though. Now I have something to think about. has a Shopper Approved rating of 4.7/5 based on 335 ratings and reviews