Charter Fishing Advice

First thanks to everyone who posts here....I have learned a lot.

I am now lucky enough to be able to slow down a bit and spend my second winter in the Lower Keys. I enjoyed poking around the gulf side last year and going ocean side when the weather permitted. I have a 15 Boston Whaler so there are obvious limits.

I took three charters last year while I was down (Jan-March), usually when friends were in town and plan to do the same this year. Generally had a good time and caught enough fish to make it fun, but I noticed the experiences varied greatly, (boat quality, crew, fish caught etc) which I guess is rather the nature of the game.

I guess at the risk of sounding dumber than I am I have a few questions.

1. If just fishing for a day of fun with friends, what is the opinion of 1/2 day vs full day?
2. If you could pick any of the months Jan-March which time of year offers the more interesting fishing and the best chance of good weather?
3. Any opinion of going out of Key West or Marathon or would there be any reason to drive all the way to Islamorada?

Any other guidance would be appreciated. THANKS:cool:

Replies

  • Rich MRich M Posts: 1,243 Officer
    I'm serious with my fishing and have a few opinions:

    The half day vs full day are purely up to you & your friends. I rarely do half day trips - full day costs a little more and you get more fishing time, sometimes the extra 2 hours means a lot better fish.

    My trips to the Keys are typically during May and don't know the winter weather patterns.

    Key West & Marathon are in good fishing territory - I wouldn't drive unless I had a specific reason or favorite captain. Yes - I'll drive across the state to fish with a certain guy if I like him.

    Now for the quality of your trips. I have had some great captains & mates and some that the sharks wouldn't eat. Find a good captain and stick with him or her.

    To me it is a match of personality, honesty, and ability to produce. Some days are bad fishing days but you can tell who is working to get you fish and who is killing time. The guy who keeps looking at his watch should never be used again.

    The best thing you can do with a blind referral is to call and talk to the captain. If you can not have a 5-15 minute conversation about what you would like and what to expect in reality, then you probably don't want to spend 6-8-10 hours with the guy on a boat.

    You may also want to check the party boat scene. I've been on a few of those since they are cheaper and I like to go out. Yes there are more people but most of the time it isn't half-bad.
  • piner_wahoopiner_wahoo Posts: 3,572 Captain
    big pine, all day, jan-apr.
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  • Lu 1967Lu 1967 Posts: 304 Deckhand
    Jan-Feb are good months ocean side.Most fish can be found 6-7 miles off shore.I just got back
    from Largo and had to go 20+ to find fish.Downside rough weather(big seas,cold ect.during winter).
    Also nearshore bait(4-5 miles out) can be difficult to source during winter months.I'd take Jan-Feb
    over all other months. I'm speaking mainly of palagics.
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