Fishing Frequently Asked Questions

Q. I don’t have a Florida Fishing License, do I need to get one?
A. Not on a charter boat. Your captain has already taken care of your fishing License as a part of the charter fee.
Q. What do I need to bring with me?
A. Charter's supply the rod and reel, on board cold storage for the fish, fish cleaning (with tip) and fish license and the opportunity to enjoy time on the open sea. Most people bring a cooler with drinks (No glass bottles) and sandwiches. A cooler also is a nice place to put your catch, once it has been cleaned and placed in a plastic bag. We suggest you bring sunblock, sunglasses, hat, camera and warm clothing for cool weather... no matter what time of year or temperature, if it is sunny on the water you can get sunburned. Handwipes and/or a towel is also suggested to bring. Some charters supply drinks, snacks and rent towels and other items for a small fee... check with your captain before boarding. Make sure you wash any sunblock or lotions off your hands... saltwater fish have no need or desire for the taste or hint of lotions.
Q. I have never been charter fishing, what do I need to know about fishing?
A. How to get on the boat. Our charter fleet's crew members are there to assist you and make your charter trip as fun as possible. If you have a question, have a problem or just have a curious mind, don't hesitate to ask the captain and his crew... put their fishing experience to work for you.
Q. I heard about people getting seasick... will I?
A. I wish we could say no... but everyone is different. If you get motion sickness, or feel you may, be sure to be prepared. Dramamine, Bonine, even a patch can be found at your favorite pharmacy! A Ginger ale in your cooler and soda crackers could be a non medical option or a backup.
Q. How far out and how long is a charter trip?
A. Trip lengths vary from 4, 8, 11 hours and overnight, depending on demand, season, and of course where the fish are. In the summer, the most popular trip is 6 hrs., about 18 miles from the dock and travel time is 1 to 1 1/2 hours Huge TIP: If you booked a shorter trip and your having fun and just don't want to leave... check with you fellow passengers, and if you all agree, ask your captain if you can extend your trip. Depending upon his next trip, you may get another hour or two on your favorite spots... and a few more fish to take home, there would be a charge for this... of course.
Q. What do we catch?
A. There are over 30 kinds of edible reef fish in the Gulf. Red snapper, vermillion snapper (mingo), trigger, grouper, king mackerel, flounder, porgies and just about anything that swims and has to eat are out there. Our charter fleet prides itself on being able to fish for anything and everything, if you have something you want to fish for make your captain aware of your desires, although some seasons of the year are better than others for certain species.
Q. What if it rains while we are fishing?
A. Fish tend to be wet already, so if you can stand the rain it will probably not affect the fishing! The rain can also be a wonderful thing in the heat of the day, but if there is rain in the forecast, you may want to add rain gear to your list of things to bring. Also remember, just because it's raining at your hotel, condo or at the beach doesn't mean it is raining in the gulf where you will be fishing.
Q. I fish and already have my own stuff, can I bring my own fishing gear?
A. Most captains would say... "if that's what you want to do", but it must be approved by the captain and crew because there are some lines, hooks and rods that are just not acceptable. Most captains furnish 80 lb test with a two hook rig and fish in depths from 60' to 200'. They know what catches the most fish from years of experience... in other words, I suggest that you listen to your captain on this one.
Q. Can I bring my baby?
A. I have seen many a man cry like a baby when they miss that "biggest insert fish name" ever, but I believe we are talking about small children here. This is the choice of the captain and crew, although many welcome any member of the family as long as they are a certain weight and/or age, and they have adult supervision at all times. Our Fleet wants families to enjoy the adventure of charter fishing and there is really no age limit for fishing fun. We have found that kids tend to enjoy the boat ride more than anyone on board most of the time and love to see the fish. Once you have cleared your child being aboard with your captain, you might keep in mind how your child might react to a long trip and make their first trip shorter and closer to shore, just in case.
Q. Do I need reservations?
A. It is always best to call in advance, get all the information and book you a captain and crew for the amount of time and number of people in your group. If you are already in the area, and are looking for some spur of the moment entertainment, then by all means bring the family or friends down to the harbor and check out the scene. Party boats have a larger passenger capacity so they may be easier to get on board in the busiest months of the year. Some charter boats may also have spots available for one or two individuals, but both would be on a first come first serve basis. Most captains who are booked will usually recommend who you might try... don't be afraid to ask.
Q. What is a six-pack charter?
A. The six-pack charter boat is named because their captains have a Coast Guard license enabling them to take trips with up to six passengers for charter.
Q. Should you tip the crew?
A. A tip is a part of the charter unless otherwise noted by the captain. The crew of a charter work hard to make sure that you have bait, that when you bring aboard your catch it is removed quickly, you are baited and in the water as fast as possible and that your catch is on ice immediately. Most charter also include the cleaning and bagging of your catch in the tip, but if you are not sure make sure by asking your captain. A standard is 20% of your total charter as a tip. If you decide to give a little more... well, hard work deserves a just reward... right?
Q. What is Offshore Fishing?
A. Offshore fishing in a broad sense begins along the edge of the 30-fathom line along our coasts, where many pelagic species congregate. That distance varies by areas along the gulf coast. Destin is know for the fact it is so close to the shelf to this deep water. Many Gulf anglers not fishing in the Destin area travel great distances to leave the green-colored inshore waters and find the distinct demarcation where the water takes on the cobalt blue coloration. Accompanying this color change is the warm temperatures so favored by pelagic species.
Q. What is Inshore Fishing?
A. Inshore waters are popular because, as the name implies, they are close to shore. There is limited travel time necessary to reach the fishing grounds, and should you encounter stormy weather, or wish to return to port for other reasons, the trip home is short. Of course, our captains will take you to where you want to go and/or to where he feels you have the best opportunity to catch fish.
Q. I’m not sure if charter fishing is for me, what should I do?
A. Take an afternoon and go to the Destin Harbor Area, sit at your favorite of many great restaurants on the waters edge, and watch the fleet as they bring in their guest with the day’s catch. Walk among the captains, the crew and their guest as they unload and clean their fish. Ask questions and enjoy the atmosphere, that should tell you if you should try charter fishing, but be careful, you might get HOOKED!

Emerald Coast TDC