Guided fishing trips can help you have the best fishing experience possible when you go to a new place or try to catch a new kind of fish. A local guide who spends several days a week on the water can be very helpful because of what they know and how well they know it. But before you book your first trip with a fishing guide or outfitter, there are some things you need to know.
Guided Fishing Trip Details
Whether you want to know more about Alaska guided fishing trips for salmon or Florida guided fishing trips for largemouth bass, make sure you get the answers to these questions before you book so there aren’t any surprises when you get to your fishing destination.
1. Target Species
During the time of my guided fishing trip, what kinds of fish will be out and about? For example, if you want to go on a guided offshore tuna fishing trip out of Cape Ann to catch bluefin tuna, you will need to know when bluefin tuna migrate through the area. If you want to fish for a certain species and have some flexibility in your schedule, a fishing guide or outfitter can also tell you when the best time to go is.
2. Fishing Guide Rate
How long is the trip, and how much does it cost or cost per hour? How much of a deposit do you need to book my trip? For the rest of the trip, what forms of payment do you need? Most fishing trips with a guide last either 8 hours or 4 hours (4 hours). Rates for guides can change a lot, so you should always ask what the current rate is and what it includes. For example, if you want to book a big private offshore sportfishing trip, it will cost a lot more than if you want to go fly fishing with a guide in a mountain stream.
3. Number of Anglers
On your guided fishing trips, how many people are allowed? Again, the answer to this question can be very different depending on the kind of fishing trip and the boat that is used.
4. Required Skills
I’m going on a guided fishing trip. Are there any fishing skills I should have or work on before I go? If you want to go fly fishing with a guide in Montana, for example, you should find out how far you need to cast and how accurate your casts need to be.
5. Fishing Gear
Will the guide or outfitter provide the fishing gear and tackle, or do I need to bring my own? Most fishing guides would rather you use the tackle and fishing gear they give you. Trustworthy guides know exactly which rods, reels, lines, leaders, flies, or lures work best for each type of fish and fishing spot.
6. Business History
How long have they been a fishing guide or outfitter? Guides and outfitters who are just starting out might not have the same track record of success or key information about a fishery that can only come from experience. Getting recommendations from friends or family is often helpful.
7. Fishing License Information
Do I need to purchase a fishing license, or will a license be provided by the guide?
8. Standard Gratuity
How much should I tip my fishing guide, on average? Most of the time, you can use the same rule as when you tip in other situations. Give your guide about 20% if they did a good job, or more if you think they went above and beyond to make your trip great.
9. Catch and Release or Keep?
Is your business as a guide based on “catch and release” fishing, or can we keep fish that are legal to keep? Most of the time, the answer to this question depends on the guide and the place. For conservation reasons, many fly fishing guides only catch and release fish. On the other hand, many saltwater bottom fishing captains or guides let clients take fillets home for dinner.
10. Cancellation Policy
What are the rules if I need to cancel or change the date of my trip? When I need to cancel, how much notice do I need to give? Can my deposit be used for a different date in the future?