Charter boats provide a service that every
angler loves to experience at least on an occasional basis. Whether it's the
beginner fisho who uses the local red-eye early morning day trip charter
fishing their local waters or who has travelled up the coast for a holiday and
is looking to catch a big one to the more seasonsed angler who chooses the
deluxe live-aboard charters or who has the resources available to get to some
of the more exquisite locations around the country or around the world.
While the experience of the author are
limited to the more down-to-earth charters that fish local or country waters,
and therefore shape the overall approach of this article accordingly, there are
a number of things any first time charter user should consider before heading
out on one of these piscatorial pleasure crafts.
The first and foremost consideration that
must be accounted for is this - charter boat websites and brochures are loaded
with pictures of fish that leave your keyboard short-circuiting from the pool
of drool that comes with wading through these galleries, but this isn't a
representation of every day they have been out. Many people who jump on a
charter for have a simple equation they apply to the experience: charter boat +
me = lots of fish.
Skippers these boats do what they can to put
their customers on to fish, this is what pays their expenses and keeps people
coming back to use their services, but the reality is that there are days when
fish just don't want to play the game and there is nothing that can be done
Charters can get you access to great fish, no doubt about it. (Photos courtesy Blue Juice Charters)
Before booking a charter it can be valuable
to develop the mindset that says - after spending this $XXX I could come home
without a fish - do that, and you'll be in a position where you can't lose. If
you come home with nothing, then at least you were prepared for the chance that
it might happen. If you bag out - well there definitely won't be any
disappointment because from the beginning you were prepared for the worst.
The second consideration is something that
can destroy your charter experience and it's a bout of sea-sickness. Often
charter boats cover a large number of kilometres to get to their spots and if
you haven't got your sea-legs then this extended period of motion can
eventually get to you, especially if the swell is up.
There are a number of ways around sea
sickness which this article isn't going into (but stay tuned to future articles
for more information!),
but the easiest choices to assist here are: a visit to your chemist for some
Travacalm or Kwell tablets, the chemist or health store for some ginger tablets
or drinking ginger beer onboard. Even if there is a slight chance you might get
hit by the sickness, take something for it, because if it gets you it is one
sure-fire way to destroy an otherwise fun day.
YOUR OWN GEAR
Point three. Most charter boats allow you to
bring your own tackle and even your own bait onboard which is a fantastic thing
if you have your own gear you are familiar with or prefer to use. It can create
some headaches for the skipper and deckies at times though, especially if
you're using braid. Many charter boats fishing for demersal species use
monofilament lines on the reels they provide. Mono is cheaper, hardier and A
LOT easier to untangle. If you take your own gear, and you are using braid, be
prepared to lose some line in the event of the tangle from hell. Deckies will
do their best to untangle a birds nest of multiple lines but if you're fishing
in deep water and someone captures a samsonfish or a similar rampaging species
that takes you all around the boat tangling seven other lines in the process,
in the end sometimes it's simply easier to cut all the lines and start again.
Another consideration when using your own
gear is not to discount advice the deckhands or skipper might give you. These
guys fish the waters you're in day in and day out. They know what works. They
know what doesn't work. They've fished with magazine and television
personalities with all the latest in tackle and ideas. They've fished with John
Johnson on his first ever boat trip yesterday who bagged out yesterday using
the vanilla flavoured fishing tackle they provided while the BYO guys caught
nothing. If you silently (or not so silently) ask them to take their ideas and
squeeze them into a dark and safe place, you're the only person who is missing
out on excellent 'local' knowledge.
If you are looking at doing a charter in a
location where a number of boats are vying for your business doing a bit of
research on the different boats can be worth your while.
Often you'll find that these charters are all
charging more-or-less the same price so have a look on their website or give
them a call and see if they offer anything different that might grab your
attention. Small things like do you get
a hot lunch or a cold lunch on board? Also
some provide non-alcoholic drinks all day and others don't. Find out what sort of fishing gear they
provide - does one offer tackle with a bit more bling than another?
The other way of finding information is to
jump onto a few of the local fishing forums and see what sort of experiences
people can pass on about a charter. One
thing to keep in mind with this though - remember that people generally are
more likely to recite their bad experiences than their good ones, so what you
read may be indicative of what you'll get, but it could also just be a couple
of squeaky wheels having a vent. Use
commonsense and you can't go wrong.
This article brought to Seabreeze by the Ajiking Pro Jigger