Advice on Booking Your Fishing Trip in Advance - Gulf Shores Deep Sea Fishing Charters

Alabama’s Gulf Coast has some wonderful saltwater fishing opportunites for you and your family. If you choose the right guide or outfitter, you can have a saltwater experience of a lifetime. If you get the wrong guide or charter boat, you can end up with a miserable experience on the water. There is an advantage of booking your charter prior to arriving into town. Waiting until you get in town to book a private fishing charter could leave you frustrated and getting second or third pick of boats. Your budget will also determine what kind of trip you will get and the success you will have on it.​

Most people who are not from the Gulf Coast area, have no idea about where to start looking when searching for the fishing charter of their dreams. Some people wait until they get to Gulf Shores, Fort Morgan or Orange Beach, and then go into a bait and tackle store or a local marina to get “The Best Local Information.” Surprisingly, local information may not always the best information when it comes to booking a charter. Your getting ready to invest a good bit of money for an experience of a lifetime. Not all charter boats are the same, neither is the experience. Even though charter boats do the same thing, theoretically, not all of them are as nice as others. Not all of them have a professional crew. Simply put, you wouldn’t go to a Ryans Steakhouse and expect certified Angus Steak, would you? The people who wait until the last minute or after you get into town, will almost certainly get the leftovers or a lesser cut of quality. Good Charter Boats in Gulf Shores and Orange Beach book up in advance. For those of you who expect more from a charter, don’t need to wait. You need to be educated and speak to the captain directly when booking the trip. Most fishermen lie to try and get you on their boats. Professional Mariners tell the truth about what to expect. Wouldn’t you want someone to take you fishing that gave you realistic expectations about the day ahead?

Orange Beach Marinas - Charter Booking Offices

The people who work at the local marinas work for the marina and their job is to put people on boats. Marinas make their money by taking up to 15% of what you pay as a fee to book the trip. The charter boat pays the fee and it is deducted from their final check each week. Booking direct with a charter captain instead of a charter marina booking office, means you get a better effort from the captain and usually get a better fishing. A few typical questions asked of locals or charter boat marinas are: “Where Can I find A Good Charter Boat?,” “Which boat catches the biggest or most fish?,” and ” Which boat is the best?” Most of these people you are asking advice from, are those who are not on the water every day and have no clue to the level of service you will get. There are over 50 charter boats that operate in Alabama waters each day and it is way to hard for locals to keep up with who’s the best.

Put Them On The Party Boat - Tourist won't know the difference

Charter boat marina employees are mostly nice, but are usually very busy. They are order takers and are only slightly informed about which charter boat is the best for your family. They don’t ask many questions of you other than how many people do you have? It would only be their opinion and I don’t trust only one person’s opinion when I am getting ready to make an investment into a private charter fishing experience. Orange Beach Charter marina booking office employees probably figure that you already know what you wanted and they have very little time to explain to you all of the different types of fishing charters available. It’s like “read the menu, and let me know when your ready to order.” Charter boat marinas give you a menu and a price list. If you are shopping for the lowest priced charter, you will most likely get herded to a Party Boat where there are about 40 people or more on it. It’s very crowded and the fishing gear is limited to bulky, heavy, traditional two hook rigs.

When I buy a car, I go directly to the decision maker and negotiate, not the salesman. Charter Boat marina employees are usually seasonal employees and most certainly do not have any idea of who or what charter boat offers the best service and knows how to catch fish all the time. They do have favorite boats they send people too. They all operate on a “Rotation” but all of us captains know that marina employees will lead you where they want you to go. Charter boat rotation means they try and put you on the next boat available on rotation which is not necessarily the best boat for you. Most of the local marinas, bait and tackle shops all have friends who offer fishing charters. Who do you think they will point you too? I will help you understand the difference in fishing charters offered on the Alabama Gulf Coast and in Orange Beach. Being informed about charter fishing is the single most important factor when planning your saltwater fishing adventure. With a little bit of planning, you will get the fishing charter you will be proud of.

Offshore Fishing Charters - The difference

  • Most offshore fishing charters available in Gulf Shores are 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 hour trips. There are some charter boats that offer 24, 36, 48 and 72 hour trips.
  • There is a direct correlation between the length of the trip and the cost per person.
  • There are three types of offshore fishing boats. Six Passenger Boats, Multi-Passenger Boats and Party Boats.
  • Charter Boat Marinas either sell private charters or walk on charters. Private charters are where you and your family are the only ones on the boat. The price you pay for the charter is for the whole boat for a prescribed number of hours. Walk-on fishing charters is where you call a marina and sign up or put your name on a list at the marina. Walk-on fishing charters are based on a per person rate. They are best described as shared expense trips. A trip becomes a walk-on when you are paired up with others so you can fill the boat up to capacity. The best time of the year to get on a walk-on trip is during the Summer months when marina’s have enough traffic through the charter booking office to get enough people to fill up the boat. Walk-ons are a great way to go fishing if you are by yourself or have a small group.
  • Six Passenger and Multi-Passenger fishing boats offer a full range of charter trips ranging from 4 hour trolling trips to the most common bottom fishing trip. Bottom fishing trips are usually 6 hours to 12 hours in length. Tuna fishing trips are usually overnight to mult-day trips.
  • Party Boats are usually larger fishing boats that carry up to 50 people per trip. These types of boats are great for those on a real tight budget and don’t mind fishing beside other people.
  • The most popular offshore today is the 6 hour bottom fishing trip offered by Six Passenger or Multi-Passenger charters.
  • Depending on the time of year you are in town, there is always something to catch while deep sea fishing in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama.