Experience the thrill of fishing in The Sport Fishing Capital of the World -- Islamorada, Florida Keys
If you're dreaming of the fishing trip of a lifetime, you'd do well to consider hiring a charter in Islamorada, Florida, for a number of reasons. The licensed, experienced guides typically provide all you need for the trip and they work hard to ensure their customers can fish the Florida waters without a care in the world.
Let the pro's show you the ropes!
Even an experienced sport fisherman can benefit from hiring a charter fishing service by relying on the captain’s knowledge of where the best fishing can be found, but for novice fishermen, it's the only smart thing to do.
Not only do you NOT have to worry about getting a saltwater fishing license in Florida (charter boats carry a license for their passengers, so those anglers are covered while fishing on that vessel), an experienced captain can teach you the proper techniques and help you with your first sport fishing outing.
All legitimate saltwater guides should carry a Florida State fishing license covering all passengers on the vessel. This license should also include special stamps such as snook and lobster. Check with your guide prior to booking. You can also review Florida laws and requirements at THIS LINK.
Note: on fresh water charters, guides cannot purchase a boat license, so anglers are required to purchase their own.
A quality charter will provide top quality tackle and equipment in good working order, with the exception of personal items such as polarized sunglasses, wide brim hat, camera, and sunscreen. Typically, fishing tackle, bait, and ice are included. Check with your charter to find out what other extras may be provided (drinks, lunch, for example) and what you are expected to bring.
Let your guide know if you want to bring your own equipment. Many guides will let you bring your own equipment, but discuss you desires with them beforehand so there is room for your equipment on the boat.
Some Do's and Don'ts when Choosing a Guide or Charter Service in Florida:
- Do discuss your desires with your guide: Some charter services specialize in specific skill levels, so make sure you mention your skill level and experience, and if inexperienced anglers will be fishing. Also be sure to mention if small children or persons with special needs will be fishing.
- Do book your charter early: It's not uncommon for guides to book charters months in advance, and they require deposits to secure dates. In most areas in Florida, you'll want to avoid the weekend crowd if possible.
- Do call or email for information: It’s best to call in the early evening, because most guides spend the day on the water with clients.
- Do ask your guide if lunch is provided: Many services provide water and soft drinks, but they do not provide lunch. Many will provide lunch if requested, and in some areas like the Keys, it is customary for the client to feed your guide.
- Do ask your guide if adult beverages are allowed onboard: If you are planning to bring alcohol with you, be sure to discuss it in advance with your guide. Many insurance policies will refuse coverage if alcohol is consumed.
- Do listen to your guide: Your guide wants you to be as successful as possible, so you would do well to heed your guide's instructions and directions. Your guide knows how to read the water, and he knows what to look for.
- Do remember to leave an online review for the guide: Most guides rely on repeat business, so they will go out of their way to provide a level of service worth recommending. We believe this is so valuable, both for the guide and for those who are shopping for a guide, that we've added a way for you to leave a review about a guide on our website. Visit THIS LINK.
- Don't wear shoes with black soles: Guides work hard to maintain their boat, and black scuff marks are difficult to remove from the deck.
- Don't forget to tip your guide: An eight-hour charter is equivalent to a ten-hour workday, considering the time it takes to prepare the boat, tackle, and equipment for the day, handling the charter, cleaning the catch, travel time, cleaning the boat, and preparing for the next day. A 15% gratuity is standard, and if your guide goes above and beyond the call of duty, you should tip accordingly.
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Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission
Islamorada--The Sport Fishing Capital of the World
25 Reasons to Hire A Fishing Guide