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Hiring a guide for half day, good/bad idea?

Hi Guy/Gals

I'm in the process of planing my first, and maybe only, fishing trip to the Keys for next February. The plan is to spend 10 days fishing in either the Long Key or Big Pine Key areas - haven't decided which yet.

This is being done on a poor mans budget, but I plan on renting a boat for a week, a 18 - 19ft bay type rig. I'm toying with the idea of hiring a guide for a half day, before I start the boat rental, just to show me around, suggest some areas, rigs, baits and such. Mostly what to look for when I'm out on my own.

Good idea or money that could be better spent?

Replies

  • ChannelTwoChannelTwo Posts: 48 Deckhand
    Definitely worth the money. You will likely spend more $$ and be less productive that week without some basic guidance at the beginning of your trip. Be honest with the guide when you book and let them know what advice and help you are looking for. I believe member "piner_wahoo" will do this type of charter in the BPK area.
  • DRIFTWOODDRIFTWOOD Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    Piner for sure
  • DogDocDogDoc Posts: 686 Officer
    ChannelTwo wrote: »
    Definitely worth the money. You will likely spend more $$ and be less productive that week without some basic guidance at the beginning of your trip. Be honest with the guide when you book and let them know what advice and help you are looking for. I believe member "piner_wahoo" will do this type of charter in the BPK area.
    X3
    A full day charter instead of your first rental day is even better!
  • jbarr85jbarr85 Posts: 13 Greenhorn
    I've been to the keys quite a few times, but this recent trip in April was the first that I rented a boat. I put a lot of planning into the trip which is why I think it came together so well. So start early. I scoured this forum from top to bottom. Know what your target species are for that time of year. Have options because the wind tends not to cooperate. I looked endlessly at my navionics phone app maps and charts to pick out likely spots for different potential wind directions. I talked to numerous different boat rental companies, they are definitely not all the same. Make sure that you rent the right boat for what you want to do, not the cheapest. Ie if you plan on fishing the reef, 18-19 is only going to get you out there on really calm days.

    Even with all the pre-planning, you will struggle at times during your stay to pick the right spots and spend time making adjustments because the original plan for the day didn't work out (likely due to the actual wind being different than what was forecast, lol). While we had what I would consider an incredible fishing trip and caught tons of fish, we had a few partial days where we struggled just from making the wrong call. We also struggled badly for a good part of a day when the wind was blowing hard out of the ESE, I just couldn't find the right option....anchor wouldn't hold, current/weeds too strong etc. This is where hiring a guide is so valuable. We hired Piner the first day and ended up with slightly less than a half day due to travel issues. When I do this again, I will book a full day, and maybe 2.
  • NorthernNorthern Posts: 903 Officer
    Good advise above.
    I have also book Piner Wahoo (Harlan) early after arriving in the Keys.

    Another option is to is to have him go with you on the boat that you rent. He will drive the boat and that way you will have all of the trails on your depth finder. He also has a reduced rate if you furnish (and have to fuel & clean) the boat. Learning the techniques for each species is as important as the spots. Piner will teach you all of that. He specializes on the Big Pine area. Including backwater, reef and offshore.

    I'll be hiring Piner again when we 1st arrive next winter. This will really get you up and running so much sooner.
  • Byron/paByron/pa Posts: 4 Greenhorn
    Lots of good advice here, and I'll be looking up Piner once I have everything locked in place. I've been fishing long enough to know that nothing is guaranteed, especially when it comes to weather conditions, and I know that having a boat at one's disposal is also not a guarantee of success.

    Thanks
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