ABC’s of Chartering a Boat
For many people, a fishing charter is a new and mystifying experience. Chartering a professional can be the best and most economical way to enjoy Florida’s incredible fishing opportunities. Chartering a boat is simple with a few important steps. First, make your reservations as early as possible to ensure the desired date will be open. Most boats require a small deposit, in case of a “no show”, and that will hold your date. Inquire as to what is provided on your charter. Most boats provide the bait, tackle, and licenses. Your food and drinks are usually your responsibility, but may be arranged if needed. Sunscreen, sunglasses (polarized), and a hat are often essential on the water. Second, confirm your trip with the captain and arrange the time and place. Ask your captain how many people he is allowed to carry and do not show up with one more in hopes of slipping him on. Third, if a mate is working for you and has done a good job and been courteous and helpful, a ten to fifteen percent tip is customary. Mates often depend on a tip for their wages. It is fine to tip the captain too, especially if the boat is not his. Listen to what your crew tells you and you can have a safe and enjoyable day out fishing without any of the clean up!
What to bring on Charter
Taking a charter is often a very exciting experience. Many factors, such as weather conditions and the appetite of the fish, are beyond our control. There are many things, however, that you can do to make the most out of any fishing trip.
The sun is a major factor during a day of fishing. Many people do not realize the dangers of the sun until it is too late. The reflection of sunlight off the water and deck of most boats tends to double the sun¹s intensity compared to a day on land. Sunscreen is very important as well as some type of hat. Sunglasses are essential and polarized lenses help to reduce glare from the water¹s surface, enabling better sight-fishing. Lightweight, long-sleeve shirts and pants are becoming popular forms of sun protection.
If you book an offshore charter and you have concerns about seasickness, there are many preventive medicines available such as Dramamine. Most of these medicines do not work unless taken some time before the charter.
If you plan on documenting your trip, don’t forget your camera and video equipment. You should inquire about the availability of dry storage on the boat for such water sensitive equipment. Large Ziplock bags make easy waterproofing for the ride. Extra film and batteries are always a plus.
Lightweight rain gear is handy for afternoon showers or when a cool breeze arises. Footwear is also important on a boat. Shoes with good traction are essential and black rubber soles are taboo. Black soles leave scuff marks all over the boat which are very hard to remove. But do not go barefoot! Though it feels great, going barefoot is very dangerous in a situation filled with hooks, gaffs and sharp teeth.
Food and drinks are usually the responsibility of the charter, unless prearranged otherwise. Lots of water is important to prevent dehydration. Check with the captain if you wish to bring beer. Hard liquor is usually not acceptable.
As a charter client you are generally welcome to bring a favorite rod, however, it would be best to discuss it with a Sunrise representative beforehand for some expert tackle advice. Our charter fleet is fully loaded with some of the best angling equipment available, and many of our guides are supplied with brand new, state-of-the-art tackle from their corporate sponsors. For a small fee, quality rods and reels can be rented when fishing on our party boat.
Aside from sewer workers, charter boat mates are arguably some of the most under-appreciated laborers in the world. Day after day they work in the sweltering sun, dripping with fish blood and ballyhoo entrails, expending all their energy so that their charter clients can have the fishing adventure of a lifetime. And, at day’s end, they often have very little reward to show for it (besides, of course, the satisfaction of seeing their client’s elation after boating a hefty grouper or snapper).
Of course, not every mate on the water these days deserves to be tipped well. But when the charter is over and you’re left wondering how your mate might rate in the fishing world, just ask yourself these simple questions. Did your mate help you board the boat in the morning, or did he look the other way as you teetered off the dock? Did he have the bait box full with rigged ballyhoo before the lines went in, or did he frantically re-rig when ‘cudas chomped every bait in the spread behind the hooks? And when you pulled the hook on a big fish, was your mate friendly and reassuring or did he sneer and snarl?
Just remember, there is a good reason why fishing is not called catching; do not judge your mate’s performance on how well the fish were biting. Instead, take into consideration his preparedness, attitude, and helpfulness. And if you come to the conclusion that he was a decent or even outstanding mate, then by all means, make his day with a 15-percent to 20-percent tip.
Other Information of Interest
Ocean Obsession is located at Sunrise Marina and Grills Seafood Deck and Tiki Bar
- Bring your own Sabiki Rod and Rigs to catch live bait offshore.
- Recommended Tackle for those who bring their own rods:
6, 8 and 11 oz. Lead (depends on current)
5/0, 6/0 or 8/0 Hooks recommended (We use Mustad #92671)
- It is recommended that you bring Camera, Sunblock, Hats and Hand Towels.
We sell, live bait, Sabiki rigs, Lead, Hooks, Towels, Sunblock, Dramamine and all the other necessities you may need.
Captain Billy’s Suggestions
For the more experienced fisherman who would like to bring extra tackle to make our fishing adventure more fun, Captain Billy on the Ocean Obsession has the following suggestions.
A good rig for king fish, cobia, dolphin and other top water species: You may wish to use a float line set up. You need a medium to stiff 7′ spinning rod with a good reel, equivalent to a Penn 460 with 30# test line. you can rig this with a stringer rig made from #3 wire and treble hooks.
Cobia: You can use the same rod and reel as described above and bring a Captain Troy Cobia jig. White and Yellow Tails preferred.