Too many times choosing your Offshore Charter Service is like going to an employment interview, you ask a few questions, make small talk and basically try to ďSizeĒ up the Captain. If you like him and he is pleasant BOOM you are sold and he has a trip. Not long into your marriage you find out there were a TON of questions you should have known the answer to BEFORE you took the plunge.
So; to help maximize your day offshore Iím going to recommend some really intuitive ideas and peel the layers back so you can expose the Captain and/or the Charter Service.
Most Charters booked are quality and professional operations. When booking through the internet it is wise to ask some TOUGH Questions. Although there may be some references or testimonials on his site still ask the Captain to provide you with the last 3 clientís name and contact information. This will give you a good idea of the last times your Captain has been on the water.
Check the Captain and his Charter service at places he would not expect. For instance, call the Marina he fishes out of and inquire about him there. Get a decision maker on the phone; ask for the owner or manager maybe the dock/harbor master. Ask them the same questions you have already asked the Captain when you spoke with him: Does he fish regularly? When was the last time they saw him out? Did the speaker see his catch? Whatís the word around the dock about his Charter operation?
Another place to call is lodging facilities if your Captain recommends lodging you can bet they know him and his service. They too see his customers and they know if he caught fish or not, they know if the customers are worn out and happy!!!!
And one final place you could check is local tackle shops, you can ask them what kind of gear your chosen Captain brings in for repair or if he has purchased his tackle there what kind did he buy. Generally speaking, ask if his tackle is top notch or sub par.
These are just ideas and will spark honesty from one source or another.
Look for a *Guarantee* and ask your Captain what is the policy for un-happy customers, ask him to provide his guarantee in writing before your trip.
Ask your Captain whatís his typical day during the specific time of year you plan to book your trip and ask him what specie of fish he will target. Make sure he understands your wishes and desires. Ex. If you are a young gun and all you want to do is kill a TUNA make sure your captain is an expert at killing TUNA you donít want a Red Snapper minded Captain. On the other hand, if you only want to target reef specie fish like Amberjack, Red Snapper and Grouper, make certain your captain understands and doesnít haul you to the TUNA grounds, regardless.
Letís discuss some misconceptions, shall we? Flashy and fast boats are only impressive to their owners. This DOES NOT mean that a Captain with a nice sled isnít a ďnatural born fish killer,Ē Iím only saying web site photos of the boat need to be considered with a grain of salt.
Sponsorships DO NOT make your Captain a PRO by any means. Remember, these are all good, fine and dandy but what you really want is a Captain that will give you a pleasurable day offshore catching fish to make memories for a lifetime.
If there is a bad or poor report on a blog or website this does not dis-credit your chosen Captain. Quite often poor reports are simply a matter of miss-communication between the guests. There is always one person who arranges the trip and everyone else just ponyís up their share. Sometimes they (the friends) donít know what they are signing up for.
AND FINALLY: Make sure the Captain and operation you are considering are insured and be sure the Captain is properly licensed. Make sure your Captain is USCG licensed (Coast Guard). I highly recommend checking references and credentials.
To your day offshore-
Captain Mike Gray
ANOTHER GREAT READ....THANKS FOR TAKING THE TIME TO SHARE WITH THE WORLD