Booking A Winter Fishing Vacation

A recent e-mail triggered the idea for this blog. The e-mail asked if I use a guide for any of my fishing trips. The answer is yes. The lady e-mailing was looking to book a surprise deep-sea fishing trip for her husband on their winter vacation. She wanted to give the surprise trip to her husband for Christmas and was looking to book the trip now. The e-mail asked several questions about how to book a guided trip, and what to look for when booking.

I’ve had the good fortune of fishing with some incredible fishing companies. My most recent guided experience was a channel catfishing trip on Manitoba’s Red River, and I’m currently working on a guided bass fishing trip in Florida. Some of my guided trips took over a year to book, while others were spur of the moment. But, whenever I book a trip, I have a list of 12 questions I ask.

The outfitters/charter’s webpage should answer most of your questions. Fishing charters will usually have multiple species to fish for, but if you’re after something specific be sure you’re looking at that specific species on each webpage you go to. After I’ve narrowed my search down to two charters, I call and talk to the owners and ask my questions. I get a better feel for someone when I talk to them, more than I do through e-mails.

 

Questions

I get right to the point to be sure everything is the same as what’s showing on their webpage.

  • How much? If you have a budget, and most of us do, then before wasting each other’s time be sure the outfitter is in your price range. But remember, a good guide and charter is one area where you really do get what you pay for.
  • How much of a deposit do they need?
  • If something happens and you can’t make it, do you get your deposit back? The answer is usually no. However, they will usually let you re-book. They may give your deposit back if you get weathered out. Find this out beforehand.
  • How long have they been in business in the area you will be fishing?
  • Do they have references you can call or e-mail? I also like to talk to past clients that weren’t successful, just to find out why.
  • How long is the trip – half day or full day?
  • Do they pick you up at your hotel, is there a shuttle or do you need to get a cab?
  • Do they supply the fishing gear?
  • Where do you purchase your fishing licence?
  • Do they supply a lunch or do you have to bring your own?
  • What are their success rates at the time of year you plan on being there?
  • Are there other fish species to go after if your targeted species can’t be found?

 

It’s important you write everything down and have them e-mail you the final price and agreement. More questions and answers will come up as you talk and you may need to refer back to your notes. If all else fails, go with your gut feeling.

Have a great winter fishing vacation!

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