How Long is a Fishing Charter


fisherman with watch on wristPhoto by Evan Wise How Long Does a Fishing Charter Excursion Last?

Now that’s a great question! Our world-famous Customer Support team fields a lot of questions from customers looking to book their next fishing trip, and this trip-duration question is by far one of the most frequently asked by vacationers looking to spend some time on the water. Our answer: exactly how much time you’ll want to be out on the water for depends on where you go, what you’re fishing for, and your budget. Not only is every location different (fishing in Venice, Louisiana is a totally different experience than fishing the islands of Hawaii; we’ll get into that in a bit) - but also your fishing style will determine how long you’re fishing. Nearshore fishing is a different experience than offshore. We’ll dive more into that too… For the most part, anglers on a fishing charter can look forward to anywhere from four hours to eight hours of fishing; with the six hour fishing trip the most common and popular for professional fishing charters. Consider your location and what type of fishing you’re doing.

In Hawaii, the underwater dropoff is very close to the island coast, so travel time to the fishing grounds isn’t something you need to factor in for an offshore fishing trip. Ocean depths of over 4,000ft can be reached within 5 nautical miles of the marinas. Whereas on a SE Louisiana fishing trip, 5 nautical miles will put you in roughly 200ft of water. You’ll want to account for an approximate 1 hour boat ride to be able to reach the depths needed to land coveted pelagic predators such as tuna, marlin, and swordfish. To make the most of a Louisiana offshore trip, we’d recommend a full day, 8hr trip. In contrast, a 4hr offshore Hawiian trip would be more than enough time to land an assortment of trophy fish. For families experiencing their first-time fishing adventure, we recommend a four-hour nearshore excursion. A short boat ride will take you 2-5 nautical miles off the coast where your Captain will take you trolling for species such as King Mackerel and Mahi Mahi, or perhaps they’ll anchor up over underwater structures such as reefs and wrecks for a bottom fishing trip targeting an assortment of snapper, triggerfish, and grouper. Regardless if you’re bottom fishing or trolling, you can expect to land your first fish within 20min of leaving the dock! On the flip side, if you’re looking for an incredible offshore excursion, you’ll want a minimum of six hours on the water, with eight hours being the most popular. This gives your group time to reach the depths needed to find pelagic species such as Amberjack, Marlin, Sailfish, etc. Fly fishing is a technique that is not to be rushed. And we’re not counting the time it takes to tie the flies. Your professional guide will have everything prepared for your adventure. Again, four hours is the minimum, but we recommend a six hour excursion so that you truly enjoy the full experience. When the clock doesn’t count.

There are some fishing trips that anglers don’t even look at the clock. These are the most special, in our opinion, because it’s not about time at all - it’s about your bag limit. You see, Wildlife Commissions will put regulations (either size limits or bag-limits) on certain species either year-round or during a specific season. This means you’re only allowed to harvest a certain size and/or amount of a species in order to retain a healthy population. For example: Red Snapper is a summer-only species, and most states have a 2-catch per person limit. Don’t worry if you catch your limit in a short amount of time, that doesn’t mean your trip is over. Your Captain or Guide will take you to their other “Honey Holes” where they’ll put you on exciting, unregulated species that will mainly be catch and release. These are fun because you may get a chance to reel in something you wouldn’t normally target, such as barracuda or goliath grouper. Or you can keep catching those Snapper, but it will be catch-and-release after you’ve reached your limit. What about travel time?

Another popular question from planning vacationers is: Is boat travel included in the four/six/eight hour excursion? This is a great question and we understand why people ask; every minute fishing is better than sitting on the boat riding to where the fish are. For the most part, the general answer is: Yes, boat travel time is included. However, like we mentioned with Venice, Louisiana, it’s all about the type of species you’re looking to target. Wanting to bring home fresh swordfish filets? You can expect a one to two hour ride to the fishing grounds. Maybe grouper and snapper are what you’re looking for? A quick 20min boat ride will take you to the reefs where these bottom dwellers are known to hide, and you’ll have one in the boat within 30min of leaving the dock. It’s your trip, and your Captain will make sure you spend the day fishing, not traveling to and from the fishing grounds. Our recommendation: book the six-hour (or 3/4 day) trip for your group. You’re looking at maybe an hour round trip to/from the dock, and plenty of time to get your hooks in the water.

You’re the Boss

Ultimately, it’s up to you how long your fishing charter lasts. Most Guides offer a variety of private charter options for you to choose from, and are happy to work with you on start time. Of course early morning is best for fish activity, but if your group is looking for a late-morning or early evening trip, most charters are happy to accommodate your needs. Shared trips don’t have as much flexibility, but usually still offer a variety of trip durations. No matter how long you’re looking to fish, let help you book your next fishing adventure. Our world-famous Customer Support Team is standing by waiting to help you find the perfect charter. Or look, book, and get hooked with a you’ll be fishing. FishAnywhere offers trips from thousands of Professional Captains and Guides ready to put you on fish, however long you’re ready to go!

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