Ballpark Estimate: $550 to $2,000+
I’m sure sports fishing enthusiasts the world-over will agree that nothing quite compares to the challenge and excitement of a two or three hour fight to land that big one. Strapped into a fighting-chair, your muscles straining in an exhausting tug of war, the dual between you and your foe is the epitome of an anglers adrenaline rush. All the equipment and bait for this high-seas voyage comes courtesy of the captain of the charter boat, who is usually Coast Guard licensed.
What to Expect on a Fishing Charter
Since offshore deep-sea fishing requires a vessel to travel some distance from the coastline, it must be seaworthy, have sufficient capacity, speed and range, and remain stable when fighting the large and heavy fish. Consequently, offshore fishing charters are usually the larger trailerable boats in the range of 30 to 50 feet in length. Under Coast Guard regulations, a fishing charter boat of this size can only book a maximum of six people for a day at sea. Additionally, some fishing charter boat captains employ forward-scanning sonar, water temperature measurement equipment and even satellite-provided charts to narrow down the search for the record-setting game fish that every sport fisherman yearns to be photographed with.
To attract the best fish, the captain will use trolling lures resembling squid, or baited hooks which are allowed to trail the boat. Once in position, chumming gets underway, a process whereby bits of bait fish are thrown overboard to attract the larger game fish.
Once the big fish is hooked, the captain will assist by maneuvering the boat so that the fish remains astern. At the same time, the crew members of the fishing vessel race to reel in the other lines to avoid tangling with the line of the angler catching the highly irate fish. As the thrashing fish struggles to escape, it may momentarily swim towards the boat, giving the fisherman the opportunity to reel in more and more of the line. As the fish tires and is brought closer to the boat, the crew will assist by gaffing the catch and pulling it aboard. All in all, a great experience for any fisherman and well worth the cost of the fishing charter.
What It Costs
If this sounds like an appealing way to spend a free day, you may want to explore your options and your costs to book a deep sea fishing charter. Keep in mind that there is some room for variations in the price, which may reflect the size of the charter boat and amount of fish-finding technology on-board, the cost of the fuel in that section of the country (in some cases a fuel surcharge is added to the cost for excursions over 25 miles from shore), on-board amenities, if the excursion is an extended day (14 hours), and of course, the ever present competition
Fishing Charter Cost and Typical Catch
- Cape Cod, Massachusetts(Yellow fin Tuna, Shark, Striped Bass, Bluefish, Giant Blue fin Tuna) – $750 to $1,700
- Hatteras Outer Banks of North Carolina (Tuna, Marlin, Sailfish, Wahog, Dophin, Shark, Grouper) – $1,150 to $1,500
- Miami, Florida (Kingfish, Grouper, Dophin, Sailfish, Tuna, Tarpon, Mackerel,Barracuda, Shark) – $550 to $1,000
- Galveston, Texas, Southwest Florida, Gulf of Mexico (Blue/White Marlin, Yellow fin Tuna, Sailfish, Shark, Mahi Mahi,Amberjack, Snapper) – 900 to $2,000
- San Diego, San Clemente, California (Sea Bass, Mako Shark, Yellow fin and Albacore Tuna, Barracuda, Yellowtail, Striped Marlin) – $800 to $1,650
- Hawaii (Pacific Marlin, Striped Marlin, Mahi Mahi, Yellow fin and Skipjack Tuna, Amberjack) (In Hawaii, Bananas on board is considered bad luck and will be thrown overboard) – $800 to $1,000
While the fishing charter company typically provides the transportation and the basic fishing gear, you’ll likely need to bring the rest of the necessities, such as sun block, a hat, soft sole shoes, a camera; seasickness medication, food and beverage. And don’t forget your sense of adventure!
Well Worth the Expense
For the novice, as well as the experienced fishing angler, the excitement of the fight and the landing of a thrashing 50 to 90 lb. Sailfish or a 100 lb. Tarpon is what sport fishing is all about. Whether it’s in the blue waters of Cape Cod, the outer banks of Hatteras, or over fifty-miles off Catalina Island, an offshore fishing charter is a memorable thrill and a great way to spend the day for any seasoned sports fisherman.