Tips for Searching & Booking Guided Fishing Trips


One of the keys to a successful fishing trip is knowing just how to select a fishing charter, along with an experienced Guide or Captain, and a boat you can count on to get you where you need to go for the best experience. It’s important not to underestimate how vital a good charter will be to your next outing, particularly if you’re planning on fishing in an area with which you’re unfamiliar. A reliable Guide or Captain will be able to direct you to all of the best spots while also informing you about fish behavior and the best types of bait to use. Good charters will also be able to provide you with all of the fishing equipment needed to get the most from your experience. In short, finding the right charter will mean the difference between an unforgettably pleasant fishing experience and an unforgettably miserable one. Here’s how to effectively select the best charter for the job.


While you may be inclined to save as much money as possible on a fishing trip, going with the cheapest charter option isn’t always the best. In fact, the more you’re willing to spend on a charter, the better the experience you’re likely to have. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that captains are required to maintain the boat and upkeep its many systems. Captains also need to ensure they have proper updated permits and licensing, while also having boat insurance that will cover you and your friends or family in the event of any unpredicted issues. Yet another cost that some Captains have to worry about is the cost of docking the boat at a marina, and they’ll also be responsible for providing anglers with the right tackle and bait, replacing it when necessary. One of the biggest costs that charters have to deal with is the fuel needed for each trip. These expenses will depend on several factors, from the boat’s size and the corresponding engine size to the local gas prices. A Captain could spend as much as hundreds on fuel.

Avoid the Cheapest Options for a Quality Experience

The fact is that if you find a charter that offers a deal that seems way too good, chances are you’ll suffer because of it. The less you pay, the more you risk working with an inexperienced or simply underpaid crew, along with poor equipment and a poorly maintained boat. On the other hand, low costs aren’t always a bad sign, but if you want to go with a cheaper option, you should do your research to find out how reputable the charter is. This involves reading reviews of others anglers’ experiences with them along with looking for any credentials the charter has. Just remember to tip the charter crew for their hard work regardless of which option you choose, with the ideal tip amount being 15-20%.

Choose the Safest Charter

While you won’t want to choose the cheapest option, you’ll definitely want to go with the safest. When you work with a charter, you and the rest of your party should be comfortable in knowing that you’re in good hands throughout your trip. From unforeseen bad weather to accidents, there are certain risks not to be ignored. An experienced Guide or Captain will know how to handle these and help you remain safe from departure to docking. FishAnywhere vets every Captain and Guide listed on our site, but if you venture outside the site, here are certain items to consider when looking for the safest option: - Check for insurance coverage - Before getting started, ask about the charter’s insurance liability coverage. Should anything occur on the trip, an uninsured charter could leave you with a denied claim along with financial and physical injury.

Check for safety devices - Life jackets and personal flotation devices (PFDs) are must-haves for every trip, along with throw cushions and fire extinguishers. If a charter doesn’t have PFDs, make sure to bring your own on board.

Make sure the captain or crew can perform first aid and CPR - These skills are necessary for every crew member to have in the event of an emergency. You should also see if the crew knows how to handle any other accidents along with rougher waters.

Check to see if the captain is licensed by the USCG - Whenever you’re fishing in the U.S., always make sure that the captain is licensed by the United States Coast Guard.

Don’t be afraid to cancel if the weather is questionable - An experienced Guide or Captain will typically cancel or reschedule your trip if the weather or seas are too harsh. Be sure to talk with your Guide if there are harsh winds or other conditions that you’re not used to.

Find a Great Captain

The fact is that the Captain of the ship is the most crucial element of any trip. A pleasant, knowledgeable, and hospitable Captain and crew will be responsible for making you feel comfortable while helping ensure a successful trip. When searching for the perfect Captain to guide you on your journey, there are several things you should learn about them. ### Does Your Captain Work Full-Time in This Job?

Many part-time anglers who want to make some extra money work as charters on certain days, while other charters may be boat owners who simply want to use the charter business as a way to make money on the boat. However, only full-time charters will have the experience and skills needed to give you the best possible experience.

### The Captain’s Experience Level

Find out how well your Captain knows the local waters and fish species behaviors. Your Captain should ideally have at least 5 years of experience, which displays a certain level of reliability. A good Captain will have the experience to know which areas to visit, which areas to avoid, and how to approach the different species of fish. They’ll also likely act appropriately based on the weather, canceling or rescheduling your trip if conditions seem dangerous. ### Can They Teach and Entertain?

A Captain should also know how to teach those unfamiliar with the area and fishing in general; ultimately becoming a teacher who combines impeccable knowledge with effective communication. At the same time, they should be engaging and make for a good time on the water without the need to go out of their way to entertain at every moment.

Fish Based on You and Your Party’s Experience

Whether fishing with other experienced anglers or taking your kids out for a day to teach them how to fish, you’ll want to book a charter that accommodates your collective experience. You may want to use a familiar technique, such as bottom fishing or trolling, or try a new style of fishing. Or you may be looking to target a specific fish native to the area. Regardless, find the charter that caters to your ideal experience. Be sure to mention your level of experience to a charter beforehand, which will help you book a more appropriate trip, whether you want a half-day charter or a full day for more experienced anglers.

Know What the Captain’s Bringing On Board

Another step to take is to ask about the gear that the Captain plans on bringing along with them on the charter. Captains should carry bait-casting and spinning reels and be able to tell you when to use either. He or she should also carry different types of rods in good condition, along with bait, whether live or artificial. You may also want to bring food and drink along with you, but keep in mind that many charters don’t allow you to bring alcohol of any type, though some will allow you to enjoy a few beers. One tip to keep in mind is that due to a certain superstition about the bad luck they bring, you can’t bring bananas on board most charters.

Find the Perfect Charter for Your Next Trip

Keeping all of these aspects in mind, you can find the right charter and Guide or Captain to meet your specific fishing needs on your next journey. Whether traveling as an inexperienced angler looking for smaller fish along an inland river or a veteran on the hunt for Florida marlin a la The Old Man and the Sea, you can find a reliable charter for the perfect experience. You can book confidently on knowing that we only work with the most professional Captains and Guides.

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