When it comes to getting started in outdoor activities the traditional route is going to be through a family member. Your father, mother, aunt, uncle, brother, sister or cousin is often the facilitator opening the door to the wilds. But what if you missed out? What if as an adult you want to try fishing? What if you want to be the facilitator for your kids, but you don’t know a star drag reel from your shock leader? Well don’t despair you’ve come to the right place because booking a charter is the easiest way to get fishing and perhaps gain a little knowledge before you commit to buying a whole bunch of gear. Here’s a few tips to help you get the most out of your charter.
- Be honest about your level of experience. We all have to start somewhere, so don’t be afraid to tell your charter captain or guide about your lack of fishing time. They’ll appreciate your honesty and will be more than happy to give you instruction and guidance on the day of your trip. You are paying for your captain’s expertise, listen to it! Doing so will improve your chances of landing the fish. This applies on your 1000th fishing trip as much as your 1st!
- Have reasonable expectations. Last year I had guy call me about whether I would guarantee that he would catch fish on the trip. He also said another charter captain (in another part of Alaska) had given him that guarantee. I asked who the other charter captain was because I wanted to fish with that guy! Unfortunately, there are no guarantees when it comes to fishing. You could be landing fish fast and furiously while your friend on the boat next door might get skunked, or visa versa, or no one is catching fish at all that day! The best thing to do is relax. You’re there for the experience and part of that experience is the anticipation of hooking a fish.
- Dress appropriately. We’ve all the seen the photos of sunshine, blue skies and calm seas! We all dream that our trip will be just like what the website/ brochure promised. But let’s be honest, those days are few and far between. My motto is “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only bad gear (or worse no gear).” Dress for cold weather, bring your waterproofs, gloves and a warm hat. That way you can shrug off the nasty weather and concentrate on fishing with a smile.
- Confirm the details and ask more questions. There is nothing more frustrating than arriving late for a charter and having your time cut short, or worse arriving at the wrong place, or on the wrong day. Double check the details, read the email your charter captain sends you. If you aren’t sure about something, ask. Remember you are hiring a charter captain to bring you fishing, having him standing on the dock because you got the time wrong is throwing money away!
- What do you do with the fish? There’s never a guarantee you’re going to come back to the dock with fish, because it’s fishing not catching! However, with your captain’s knowledge, the right tide and a bit of luck you will end up with some blood on the deck and fish in the box. Before you book the trip clarify what happens to the fish you catch. I clean the fish for my clients and work with a processor who, for a fee, will fillet, freeze, and ship the fish to your home. Make sure you know what you want to do with the fish you catch before setting foot on the boat. And remember to eat those fish within a reasonable time frame once you are home. Halibut keeps longer than salmon. But consuming your frozen fish within 3 to 4 months will mean you enjoy the fruits of your fishing trip and relive those memories with every bite!
It would be an honor for me to take YOU out on a fishing charter! If you are coming to Juneau, give me a call at 907-209-8227 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I enjoy answering questions and sharing information to help your trip planning.
LET’S GO FISHING!