March 5, 2018
Going on a guided fishing trip is exciting. By the end of the day you’ll likely have plenty of photos or clips for your Instagram. But for that to happen, it’s always a good idea to play by your captain’s rules. Remember, his boat is his office. Showing respect will ensure he’s working his hardest for you. With the help of our own fly-fishing Capt. Shawn McCole, here are some things your fishing guide wants you to know before you get on his boat.
This enhances your ability to see fish in the water. You can better see what your guide sees. Now you’ll have better communication.
Apply lotion. Sprays end up staining upholstery and making the deck slippery and dangerous for you.
Wear shoes with non-marking soles.
Don’t bring orange-powered foods. Orange-tinged fingers stain everything and leave residue on gear and baits.
Agree on the price of the charter ahead of time. This seems obvious, but the boat ramp is no time for renegotiating. It has happened.
Be on time. The charter clock is running at the agreed-upon time. The captain probably picked the time based on ramp location, running time and most important, the tides. He wants to get you on fish when the time is right.
Don’t show up at the boat ramp after drinking and partying all night. If your stomach is not up to running over waves and wakes, you could end up feeling sick and puking. No fun for anyone.
– Know the clock system for spotting and casting to fish. Twelve o’clock means straight ahead off the bow; 9 o’clock is to your left; 3 o’clock to your right. So if the guide is telling you he spotted a fish at 10 o’clock, moving left to right about 30 feet out, you’ll know where to look.
Be honest about your fishing experience and ability. Don’t tell the guide your can fly cast 60 feet if you can’t. He can devise a plan to include some instruction, if necessary.
Don’t bring a GPS device on board. Captains are protective of their fishing spots. If he sees you tracking and marking points for you to use later, your trip likely just ended prematurely.
Don’t slam hatches and cooler lids. First of all, it’s going to spook the fish. Second, show respect for the captain’s boat and equipment. So don’t abuse his rods, reels and other equipment.
Tipping is not expected but is greatly appreciated. After paying for insurance, motor maintenance, equipment and fuel, that $500 charter doesn’t net the captain a tremendous profit. If you want to recognize the captain for his knowledge and hard work, a 10% to 20% tip is appreciated. It will ensure that you get prime dates if you want to book him again during something like tarpon season.
If your charter is the result of winning a charity event or auction, know that the captain has donated everything. He will pocket nothing without a tip.
Following the captain’s advice and showing some common decency means you’ll all have a successful trip.