Charter Tips

By: Pickle
5/8/2023 12:37 PM

As a retired Charter Captain I get a lot of Questions on Outer Banks Charters. Even more important is the many misconceptions and misleading info on Facebook. Just thought I would throw a few important facts and comments your way.
1. The Outer Banks has over 100 Charter Boats in all shapes and sizes. These boats range from small trailered outboard skiffs to 60 ft mega million yachts. All serve a purpose, but their amenities, trip types, prices, experience ranges widely.

2. Knowing what I said above you have to choose from the Fleets sailing out of Hatteras or the Oregon Inlet Area. Depends on where you are staying. Corolla people do not drive 2 hours to Hatteras. From S Nags Head to Corolla its the "Northern Fleet". There are 4 major marinas.

3. Trip Type. Many people do not realize there is quite a few types of fishing. You have Offshore (Gulfstream), Wreck/Bottom, Shark, Nearshore (used to be called Inshore) and Inshore (Sound). Different trips have different prices and different fishing methods. This area would need a book to explain.

4. Your Party. 99% of Outer Banks Charter Boats are licensed by the Coast Guard for a maximum of 6 passengers. Some Inshore (Sound) boats only take 3 or 4. Several questions come up the one big concern is Children. Great Activity, but they need action, no long boat ride. They will get bored. Furthermore you want a full sized boat so they can walk around, have a full private Head and even a sofa to sleep on. Inshore (Sound) boats do not offer comfort, shelter, room to move around and no Mate to help you. Next is Elderly/Disabled people in your party. This should be discussed in detail with your Captain before you book. You are looking for a boat that has a reasonable viewpoint on Weather.

5. Charters are not "Cheap". You want the best Fishing Experience. It's important to choose Trip and Boat wisely. In my opinion deal directly with the Captain. There are high powered internet booking sites where high commissions are involved and the boat looses money. Marina bookings, although convenient, can limit boat choice due to rotations and detailed answers received from a Captain are generally not furnished.

6. Remember that it's called fishing, not catching. Mother Nature (Weather, Fish Availability) has a big control over what you "Catch". All boats have good and bad days. It's consistency in "Catching" that distinguishes a good boat . You can not sink the boat with fish every trip. If you try to place a value on what you catch you are missing what it's all about. It's Sport Fishing, it's the experience. Although you may want to catch that once in a lifetime Marlin your party may have more fun catching deep water Tilefish. Think about it.

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By: Mstaszew
5/8/2023 1:57 PM

6. Remember that it's called fishing, not catching. Mother Nature (Weather, Fish Availability) has a big control over what you "Catch". All boats have good and bad days.


I've had some "bad" days where the fishing was not good, but the experience was still awesome. Seeing sea life and things I'd never see on shore. What's usually made a great day, in my opinion, is having a good mate. Someone who's charismatic, who can read the crowd, and keep things fun and interesting sure helps when the fishing is slow. Usually it's the mate you're interacting with the majority of the trip. I've had some really good mates on trips! Don't forget to tip them well even on the crappy days. They are still working hard if not harder when the fishing isn't so hot.

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