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Frequently Asked Questions When Hiring A Charter Fishing Boat

 

Q. When should I phone the skipper to make a booking?

A. Not at pub closing time after you've had six pints. He won't be impressed. Not at six in the morning either when he is up and gone; his partner won't be impressed. Be sensible about the time. Once you have made contact the Skipper may ask you, towards the end of your conversation, that you must call the evening before the trip after he has had time to check the weather reports. Usually about 7.30pm is acceptable, but ask him when you've booked your trip.

Q. How much will it cost?

A. The cost of booking a boat will vary according to the type of fishing you want to do. Travelling sixty miles out to sea takes time and diesel and it will obviously cost more than dropping anchor just ten miles offshore. It may also depend on the number of hours you book and if the skipper supplies bait and tackle, this may well be an added expense. The bait will be ordered on your behalf and have to be paid for even if your trip is cancelled. On some trips you can catch your bait (usually mackerel) on the way out to the fishing ground, but remember this takes up some of your fishing time. Generally, a full days ground fishing will cost less, depending on which part of the country you want to fish. Midweek trips may well be slightly cheaper.

Q. I don't know if my fishing tackle is suitable?

A. Confirm with the skipper, when making your booking, that tackle hire is available on the boat, if not, take what you have and the skipper will advise you on its suitability. He may hire you some fishing tackle if necessary.

Q. Can I go on my own or with a friend?

A. Most skippers will take individuals only on certain weekdays but shop around the adverts in magazines or on other web sites. Ring some Skippers in the area you wish to fish. Quite often a fishing party will be short of anglers and the Skipper may well be able to fit you in even at very short notice. Don't forget that charter sea fishing is fun and it's the people you fish with that can make your day very special.

Q. What should I wear?

A. You would normally wear a flotation suit with a pair of waterproof boots if it were an ideal world. If not, then aim for plenty of layers to keep you warm. Try for a waterproof top layer which will also keep out the wind. It is definitely important to wear a hat as most of your body heat is lost through your head. It also keeps the sun off your head. Make sure your headgear stays on your head as items, such as baseball caps, can get blown away. Even in the summer months take extra clothing as it is always cooler out at sea. You can always take off some clothing.

Remember too, that no matter how many hours you fish, the number will still equate to a fraction of those that the Skipper spends at sea and usually he does it all within the same area. Listen to him or his crewmen because this is their area of expertise. Where you go to fish may well be a different fifty miles down the coast, but they will know what works best. Watch what others do on the boat and how they are faring. Never stop learning.

Q. Do we need to bring food?

A. If you want to eat - YES, bring a packed lunch and snacks. Hot drinks are supplied FREE on board. Any other types of drink please bring with you.

IMPORTANT - NO ALCOHOL IS ALLOWED ONBOARD WHATSOEVER!!

Q. Are children allowed on the trip?

A. Please discuss this at the time of booking. It depends on their age and their ability to quickly adapt to the use of safety equipment etc.

Q. Do we have to wear life jackets?

A. Not necessarily, however, if the skipper requests the wearing of life jackets, they must be worn. If children are allowed on the trip then they will have to wear safety equipment at all times.

Q. Can we be picked up from another location, such as the Queenborough jetty?

A. Arrangements would have to be made at the time of your booking to see if it were possible, however, timings do start from Rochester Pier in front of Rochester Castle.

Q. Is there anything else?

A. Yes. Any medical conditions that may impact on the trip must be declared. For example, epilepsy, a physical disability or a diabetic person on insulin. These types of condition will not stop you going on the trip, however, the skipper must be aware of them to enable him to handle any situation and to inform the coastguard in an emergency.

Q. What sort of tide do I need?

A. The right tide varies according to the sort of fishing you wish to do. If you want to fish over wrecks for conger, you need a small tide so you get longer periods of slack water, when it is easier to get the bait down to the bottom. If you want to fish the gullies in the sandbanks, you will want big tides so the sands dry right out at low water and all the fish move off onto the gullies.

Q. Can I keep the fish that I catch?

A. You can keep all the fish you catch as long as they are of a suitable size, however, ask yourself how many fish you want to kill each month. If you fish to fill your freezer then it will be more cost effective to go to the supermarket. Angling is a sport, there is nothing wrong with taking a fish home every now and then but please be sensible.

Q. I'm a novice boat angler will this be a handicap?

A. Angling is gradually becoming more like other sports and there are now plenty of qualified angling coaches around the country. Many skippers are more than happy to teach you the right method to catch fish. They can teach you what techniques to adopt and which tackle and bait to use for maximum effect.

Q. What happens if the fishing trip is cancelled?

A. Trips only usually get cancelled by the skipper due to illness, bad weather or boat problems. Remember, what is a days fun to you is the skippers livelihood. If he has to cancel due to bad weather, don't have a go at him, he does not want to cancel because he is losing money.

If the trip is cancelled then the skipper will do his best to book another date for you as he does not want to lose your custom, but if a suitable date is not available, then any good skipper will refund your deposit. Ask him, at the time of booking, how much notice he needs if you need to cancel the trip, this should give him time to take another booking.

Q. What to do next...

A. Choose a date then give the skipper a call or send an email. A deposit will be required to officially confirm your date. If no deposit is received then that date will become available to other clients. Remember that the total number in a fishing party is 8.

To Sum Up

When booking a fishing trip consider these five important questions:

1. Book a date, time and the location of boarding. Ask about parking facilities.

2. Confirm the cost and ask about the latest time to cancel along with any costs that cancelling may incur.

3. Confirm with the skipper what day and time to next contact him to confirm with him that the trip is still going ahead.

4. Ask about fishing tackle hire should yours or a member of your party feel that their fishing tackle may not be suitable.

5. Give him your contact phone number(s).