What to Expect on Your Fishing Charter
Picture this. Your group was picked up from your villa and brought right to the boat, without you lifting a finger. Your fishing charter left the dock less than 20 minutes ago and you’re already dropping lines into the water. It’s a beautiful day, with blue skies, not a cloud in sight. You’re on the deck, sun warming your face, the mist of the water all around you. You can feel the swell beneath your feet.
Then it happens – you’ve got a bite! You’re pulling at your rod, wrestling with a big one. Then you spot your opponent…you’ve hooked a Marlin! The top of your pole bends over as you strain to haul the big game fish in. Moments later, you’ve done it!
Everyone in your group is smiling and looking on in amazement as you pose with your conquest, the camera lens barely containing your wide smile.
After your deep sea fishing adventure, your group relaxes at a local restaurant, drinking tropical cocktails and eating succulent seafood. You spend hours laughing and reliving the day’s adventure. Everyone is happy and flying high on adrenaline. You’ll remember this day for the rest of your life.
You don’t have to imagine it any longer.
· Communicate with your guide before the trip
– Decide what is important to you
– Use a checklist to pack these essentials
– Ask your guide what the “onboard policies” are
· Confirm your departure or pickup time
– Get to know your crew and ask questions
– Get settled onboard
– Keep your fish or catch and release?
– Is it customary to tip?
If you’re planning your first fishing charter, congratulations! Going deep sea or bottom reef fishing is relaxing, fun, and exciting! It’s a great bonding experience for you and your family (or you and your co-workers). With the proper planning, this trip will be the most exciting vacation you’ve ever had! This article will give you an overview of what to expect on your trip, some decisions you’ll need to make, and much more.
Discuss your fishing charter with your guide
Most reputable fishing charter companies are easy to work with. Contact them before the trip to ask any questions you may have. Let them know what you are hoping for in the trip. Ideally, you want to discuss your trip not long after booking. You’ll be doing your captain and crew a big favor if you communicate what you want out of the trip.
What do you want out of your fishing expedition?
This comes down to personal choice. Every person’s fishing trip is different. Everyone wants something different from their trip. Maybe you’re not sure what you want. If this is your first time trying deep sea fishing, you may not know what to expect.
Ask yourself these questions:
· Are you just excited to be on the water?
Some people on their first charter find being out on the open sea more than enough for a great experience. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s your trip so it can be whatever you want it to be.
· Is there a specific kind of fish you want to catch?
The Turks and Caicos waters are host to a wide variety of fish. If there’s a certain fish you want, make sure you tell your guide. Good captains and crew know where the best “hot spots” are!
· Do you want to learn certain fishing skills?
Grand Slam Fishing Charters loves helping new deep-sea anglers “learn the ropes.” Our experienced crews can hook big game fish and teach fishing skills to any passenger of any age.
· Are you hoping to “fill the boat?”
Some folks think a charter is not successful unless everyone hauls in several fish each. While a good charter company can help stack the odds in your favor, there’s never a guarantee. Weather conditions, the time of year, and other factors can affect how successful your haul is.
· Do you want to mix things up?
Who says you have to stick to one thing? Maybe for part of your trip, you want to go deep sea fishing. Then later in the day, your family thinks it might be fun to try some snorkeling and diving. A good fishing charter company can make it easy to mix things up!
Pack these essentials (and double-check your list)
Time to pack! Use a checklist to make sure you don’t forget anything. The weather conditions (and your comfort levels) will play a role in the clothing you choose. The following items are essential for your trip:
· Sneakers with a rubber sole: These will help keep you keep your footing on the ship. Be sure to avoid light-sole or non-marking shoes. You don’t want to leave streaks on the boat’s deck!
· Polarized sunglasses: These will protect you against the sun’s harmful UV rays. And polarized shades will even help you with certain sighting fishing techniques!
· Anti-seasickness medication: Is this your first trip? Bring Dramamine (or similar medication) with you. Even if you’ve been on boats before, the open sea waters may be choppier than what you’re used to.
· Sunscreen: Protect yourself from the sun and avoid ab uncomfortable sunburn. Especially if you plan to wear light clothing such as a tank top.
· Layer your clothing: Some people do better in the cold than the heat, and vice versa. It’s a good idea to wear several light layers of clothing. You can shed or add layers if the weather conditions change abruptly.
· Backpacks and Ziplock bags: Bring these to store your belongings on board the ship.
· Stay hydrated: Your charter company may provide you with drinks and snacks. But it’s never a bad idea to bring more water of your own. Keep yourself full of fluids to avoid dehydration. Be sure to check with your company about what you are allowed to bring on board.
What are the onboard policies?
Every fishing charter company has its own policies for onboard behavior. Many policies are things you may not think to ask on their own, so find out before boarding. Some captains may object to, lighting up a cigar, for instance.
Confirm your departure and pickup times
Adopt a “belt and suspenders” approach by re-confirming your pickup or departure time. Does your charter company offer pickup service from your hotel or villa? Double-check when your group will be picked up.
If your company doesn’t offer pickup service, confirm your departure time. Also, find out when the captain and crew want you to arrive at the marina. You’ll need time to get on board, stow your belongings, and meet the crew. Give yourself extra time.
Meet your captain and crew
A good crew will want to get to know you before departing. Most charter boat guides are friendly and enjoy being around people. Your crew may regale you with fun stories of their past exploits.
They may also offer tips to make the most out of your trip, let you know where to stash your gear, and more. You can also ask questions and let them know of any last-minute special requests. The crew’s job is not only to get you out to the fish but help you get settled before departure.
Catch and releasing or keeping your fish?
A big decision you will need to make is whether you are keeping your fish or catching and releasing only. Let your crew know as soon as possible what your plans are. A good fishing charter company will provide coolers and ice to store your fish if you plan to keep them.
Your crew will also let you know whether the fish you catch is a “keeper” (the legal size and breed to keep) or not. There are certain prohibited species of fish that must be released. (Read our fishing guide to learn which fish you can expect to encounter in Turks and Caicos waters.)
What is customary for tipping?
Many first-time fishing charter passengers may not be sure about tipping practices. In the recreational fishing charter industry, tips are accepted. A 15-20% tip is customary. Remember that many captains won’t have a credit card processor on board and prefer cash.
Your fishing charter has the potential to be the most amazing vacation of your life. By following the recommendations in this guide, you’ll have a good idea of what to expect. Remember, your fishing charter company’s job is to not only steer the ship. Their job is to keep you safe and see to your needs. If you have any questions, be sure to contact your fishing charter company. Happy fishing!