How to Choose the Perfect Charter Fishing Boat

How to Choose the Perfect Charter Fishing Boat

You could spend the next ten years learning how to catch fish like a pro—or you could simply choose a great fishing charter company!  Want to feel a bend in that rod immediately? Willing to pay your way to fishing success? Then make sure you charter the right boat for the job. Here’s how.

 Cheapest is not always best 

There are plenty of people who operate as fishing guides, even though they aren’t trained, licensed, or bonded—and often, they’re the least expensive option. If a charter seems surprisingly low in cost, ask the captain to provide license numbers ahead of time, and ask about his or her credentials. There are also guide’s associations in most areas; if your captain isn’t a member, ask why.

Fish online reviews before you go

There are plenty of fishing-oriented chat rooms where charter customers go to either praise or vent after a charter. Take it all with a grain of salt since some of the comments could come from people with an ax to grind, but if you detect a trend, take note.

Know where you want to go

Often, people consider all fishing on a charter "offshore". However, there are several different types of charter fishing and most of the difference involves where you want to fish. There are several choices and knowing ahead of time the type of experience you are looking for is a good idea. We found this simple chart to help understand a little bit about each type of experience. 


Inshore trips stay in sheltered waters near land, usually only a few miles from shore. The fish are smaller and the sea is calmer. It’s not just about sea fishing, either. Many inshore fishing trips take place in shallow bays, mangroves, or brackish rivers.


As you move away from the coast, the fish start to get bigger – and tastier. Trips that take place around local reefs and wrecks and involve some traveling are known as nearshore trips.


Then there are the bluewaters. Offshore charters take you so far out that you completely lose sight of land. This is serious sportfishing and usually lasts the whole day. The fish are big and mean. The water can be rough. Offshore fishing is perfect for confident anglers who are looking for a challenge.

Deep Sea

Finally, there’s deep sea fishing, also often known as big game fishing. Many offshore fishing trips can include deep sea fishing, but the main difference between the two is the depths of the waters you’ll be casting a line in. Deep sea fishing charters usually take you to waters at least 100 feet deep, with 300+ feet being very common. You’ll also usually be fishing on a much bigger boat, with heavier tackle.

Beware of boats available on prime days

 If a charter isn’t booked on a summer Saturday, there’s probably a reason why. It doesn't mean the reason isn't a good one (like a cancelled trip) but it is worth taking a closer look and asking a few questions. 

Catch or release?

This may or may not matter to you, but if it does, it is better to know ahead of time. Any reputable captain will be happy to explain their policy, discuss options and review any local regulations regarding specific species. If you want to know whether you can keep that trophy tuna, it is best to know well before you get offshore. 

Don't over commit

If you’re new to fishing and this is your first go, try a half-day charter. If you decide you enjoy fishing you can always come back for more. And if you don’t enjoy it… there might be something wrong with you! We are kidding of course, but it really is a good idea to have a positive first experience than a miserable full-day experience 30 miles offshore. 

Verify Licenses

Always choose a charter that has all the right paperwork. That way, you know you’re in safe hands, with somebody who’s properly trained. It also means that you won’t run into trouble if the Coast Guard  or NC Fisheries shows up. The main things to look for are a captain’s license, a permit to run fishing trips, and insurance. 

All you need now is to plan your Ocean Isle Beach vacation. We have a great selection of vacation homes to choose from, all backed by our great customer service. Click the button below to see our current selection of homes or give us a call at 800-727-9222 to speak with one of our friendly reservationists today. 

Cast a line for your dream vacation on ocean isle beach.

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How to Choose the Perfect Charter Fishing Boat

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