Looking across the horizon on terra firma, there’s relatively no change. Whether you’re casting from the beach, dropping a line from a jetty, wading in waist- deep waters, or even fishing from a dock, the horizon never changes. Yet set in motion on a boat, the dance in the distance is on.
For anglers, the temptation to be on a boat is inevitable. Here in South Florida, we can easily charter a ride to deeper seas or to the unobtainable spot across the river as charter fishing is big business. Some are independent operations, while others are family owned and kept alive over generations. I enjoy the solitude of fishing, but I also like to have the experience of being on a chartered boat, where most (if not all) the work is done for you.
The captain is ready, and the boat is prepped. The mates will change your bait, hooks, weights and rigs the entire time, making your job one: to catch a fish. It may take a few trial-and-error runs to land a great charter operation, but when you find a captain and crew that make the experience pleasurable, the repeat business is a no-brainer. There is also what’s termed as a “head boat” where a captain will have many on board, mostly novice anglers, all dropping a line at one time from one side of a boat. Head boat operations are relatively inexpensive, but the payoff may be less than a private charter, considering there is much less competition for the catch in a private setting.
There are many charter operations that run on our waters. Choose carefully, do some research and be aware of the etiquette required from you as the angler. No matter the setting, you’re fishing. Keep this quote from Anthony T. Hincks handy: “It’s when you smell the breeze; taste the salt and feel the waves beneath your feet that you truly know that you are alive.”