A 2005 survey estimated that about 3.4 million Australians engaged in recreational fishing activities each year.
The interest in the sport comes from the various benefits associated with it, including but not limited to stress relief, self-fulfillment, and socializing. Oftentimes, the experience also satisfies the inherent human need of pursuing and catching — whether that may be fish or the life lessons you learn in the midst of the pursuit.
Given its versatility, many have found themselves interested in trying it out. But while it may be tempting to jump right into the thick of things, it’s better to learn more about fishing so you know what to expect and can prepare accordingly.
These are the top five things to consider before going on your first trip out to sea:
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Type of Fishing Experience
Are you interested in fishing alone, with your family and friends, or with a community?
Beginners may benefit more from private fishing charters where the crew or captain can teach them essential techniques and assist them whenever they need them. Moreover, a solo booking allows you to deliberately choose which kinds of fish you want to target and learn exclusively from your guide.
On the other hand, shared charters are often more appealing for individuals with more skills. This strengthens the sense of community involvement in one another and provides you with an opportunity to make new friends.
If you intend to go fishing with a small group of friends or family, it’s best that you check whether the charter has a permit to carry a certain number of people. This holds true regardless of the boat’s size.
Additionally, considering that there are many types of boats, it’s recommended that you assess them based on their pros and cons. Do you prefer center console boats that have more open space and mobility around the boat or sportfishing boats that are more stable? The decision could play a significant part in the comfort and enjoyment of your experience while on board.
Captain’s Background and Expertise
Check out your captain’s background beforehand. How well do they know the area? Do their fishing reports center around the species and areas align with your interests? Are they highly rated and recommended by their previous clients? Remember that gathering enough insight on their experience in the industry can significantly improve your overall experience.
Whenever possible, strike up a conversation with the captain before booking your fishing charter. Sometimes, especially if it’s not the peak season, you may even negotiate to start the trip at a later time if you’re not a morning person.
Don’t forget to double-check what you can or cannot bring on the trip. For example, though it’s mostly a superstition, bananas are often considered bad luck and forbidden from boats.
It’s also good practice to set your expectations beforehand and learn more about what happens to the fish that you catch. Will you be able to keep them or will you be asked to release them? Sometimes, at the end of the charter, you may even be told to contribute your fish to a bigger, communal pool which is then divided among the group.
Availability and Credibility of Permits and Licenses
Taking care of permits and other paperwork before you set out makes all the difference in any trip. In order to protect yourself and everyone involved in the charter business, make sure you ask to see the permits to operate the trip, the related insurance documents, and the ship captain’s license. Keep in mind that there may be more protocols and procedures you need to follow based on your location.
Price of the Trip
The price of your excursion isn’t a guarantee of how much fun you’ll have — in fact, some might even prefer a more economical budget. But if you are dead set on having certain amenities or have particular expectations of the trip, then the price could likely affect your enjoyment. With further research, you’ll know whether the charters you’re considering offer the refreshments, equipment, and essential facilities that you want.
Don’t forget to ask about your options when it comes to the bait as well. Oftentimes, live bait, such as worms, insects, and shrimps, is more expensive than an artificial lure since they draw in more fish species. It’s also worth noting that bait is more effective when the water is muddy or murky.
Booking Your Fishing Charter with a Seasoned Team
Your interest in recreational fishing may soon blossom into a well-loved hobby if your first experience was enjoyable enough. It’s important, then, to ask yourself a few questions before you begin: would you prefer privacy or joining a group? What amenities are you looking for and is your captain capable enough to you on your first excursion? Are the charter licenses in order and are there additional fees for the trip?
Being meticulous about planning can make your fishing trip even better later. After carefully doing your due diligence, book your adventure with a charter today!