I take a lot of calls from all types of people, from all over the world looking to catch different types of fish in Tampa Bay. In my 10 years of being a full time guide in Tampa Bay I have always tried to meet every customers needs and put them on the type of fish they are out to catch. As a person coming to the area and looking to get out and do some fishing, you can have a ton of challenges ahead of you. Finding the right guy for what you are looking to do can be a bit difficult. As most surf the web looking for the right Tampa fishing charter, you will find the task to be a bit more difficult than it seems. I never really realized this until I recently tried to book a resort for a short vacation with the family. I found myself lost and confused an hour into doing my homework. With that being said, I’m going to try and give you a few tips and ideas to use if you are visiting Tampa Bay or St Petersburg and look to hire a fishing charter.
– Always ask questions- Dont be afraid to ask questions about the boat, size, year, engine, etc. You don’t want to be mislead and think you are on a bigger boat and find out different. If you have given a deposit that typically locks you in with that captain. This makes it more difficult o change after the fact
– Make Sure they have the right credentials- License and Insurance are something that every captain should have. Also ask whats included in the charter. Fishing License, Tackle, Fishing cleaning, etc.
– Reviews or Referrals- These are typically available online nowadays and are a great way to see what others have to say about their experience. Dont use this alone, book with a captain that you seem to have good conversation with on the phone. This will carry on the charter and make for a great day on the water.
– Ask if this is a part time or full time job- Fish move from week to week and booking with a full time guide that is out every day with typically make for a better day of catching.
– Pricing- Make sure you understand the charges, deposits, and cancellation terms before giving a deposit. Cancelling a charter is bad for both sides. Prices with most guys are typically right in line and very close. (Cheaper is not always better)
-What to expect- Make sure and get a report of what to expect beforehand. If you book months before this can be difficult but we typically have an idea of what you can expect.
Dont be afraid to let the captain find you another captain if he is booked- We typically network with others and I will only use guides that take pride in a charter and hold the same standards I do.
Fishing on Tampa Bay is a great experience as we have some of the best inshore fishing in the world. Make sure to do the homework mentioned above and I’m sure whomever you book with you will have memories to last a lifetime.
Capt Jason Prieto