May 2015
May 24, 2015 Islamorada 1 photo

Trip Summary

The dolphin are here on full day offshore trips! Two happy anglers display their catch.
Larry Wren
Islamorada, Florida, United States
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Join Captain Larry Wren on board his 37’ Merritt. She’s an offshore sportfishing boat, built in 1958 and restored in 2011 – like a fine wine she’s only gotten better with age. Her spacious deck allows for up to 6 anglers to fish at...

Other reports from this captain

Tips to Pick a Charter Boat
Tips to Pick a Charter Boat
September 9, 2022
Great offshore charter boats, crewed by dedicated professionals who truly love to take people fishing, exist in just about every corner of the known fishing world. But sometimes signals get crossed, or expectations don’t quite match reality, and things just don’t come together the way they should to ensure that the charter customer has a good experience. 1. Fishing Offshore Half-Day Trips This is one of the biggest decision-making errors, and it happens all over the world: trying to fish a half day instead of a full day or multiple days. There are only a few places where you could even hope to see a billfish in a half day, and even in the hottest of hot spots, you’d have to be incredibly lucky to have any success in such a short amount of time. Take it with a big grain of salt when you hear someone say, “We caught two blues and were back in time for lunch.” Possible? Maybe. Likely? No. Here’s an example of it: The boats that fished a full day yesterday averaged 8 sailfish releases each, but you say, “Why spend all that money for a whole day when we could just go for a half day and catch 4?” It doesn’t work that way. First, those fish may be well out of range for a half-day charter. There may also have been an afternoon bite that takes place long after you’ve packed it in and headed for the dock. Save the half days for fishing inshore. 2. Picking the Cheapest Charter Boat Of course, we all want a good deal on everything we buy, but selecting a charter based solely on price is almost always a bad idea. A low price could mean several things: The boat’s much older or smaller than the others, which means you’ll be more uncomfortable in rough weather; the tackle isn’t properly maintained; the captain and crew are working for less money; or a host of other things, and few of them good. The cheapest price doesn’t always come with the best value. You may think you’ve gotten a great deal and then just end up going for an expensive, slow cruise, with the crew not making any real attempt to catch fish. In regards to the size of the boat’s cockpit or fish fighting area, not all boats are equal in this respect. You are chartering the boat for the day, so bedrooms mean nothing. Look at the boat and visualize your group and a mate in the cockpit area? The larger the boat doesn’t mean a larger cockpit area. 3. Setting Unrealistic Expectations Even in the best fishing holes, the numbers change dramatically from day to day. Even in places like Costa Rica, where the fishing is relatively consistent during the high season, the fleet runs into slow days. That’s why it’s important to set realistic expectations for yourself and your charter group. This is especially true when it comes to bill fishing. If there are four, five, or six people in your charter party, then the chances are good that not everyone will be able to catch a billfish. You should determine ahead of time whose turn it will be when a strike finally does occur so the opportunity’s not missed. Some choose to either rotate time in the chair or assign a rod rotation in order to make it fair for everyone. You may have your heart set on a marlin, but if the Mahi Mahi are chewing the props off the boats a few miles away, then it may be a better option than staring at pretty blue water for six hours waiting for a bite. Be realistic with yourself and your party ahead of time — and be open to suggestions from an experienced pro at the helm — and you can avoid a lot of disappointment at the end of the day. 4. Failing to Prepare for a Day Offshore This one can really kill a good day offshore. A perfect example is seasickness. You may be fishing with people who swear they’ve never been seasick a day in their lives, but then the seas kick up a little, and they’re losing breakfast (and part of last night’s dinner) over the side. It’s a miserable feeling, especially when faced with the prospect of several more long hours of discomfort and no refunds for heading in early. If there’s any doubt, always ask your charter companions to use a seasick-prevention medication at least an hour before getting on the boat in the morning. If all else fails, recommend that your friends have doughnuts or bananas for breakfast since they taste about the same coming back up as they did going down. That swanky air-conditioned cabin is the worst place to be on a boat, enclosed places lead to sea sickness. Stay in the open air and look to the horizon. Don’t forget things like a light jacket, foul-weather gear for rain or rough weather, a hat or visor, sunscreen, a digital camera, and a good pair of polarized sunglasses. Most charters don’t provide lunch, so be sure to pack your own, along with snacks and plenty of drinks, including bottled water. If you want to bring beer, remember that cans are preferred over glass bottles, which can shatter in a cooler, and that hard liquor is almost never welcome on board.
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