If you’re in charge of arrangements for a bachelor party, team-building event or family vacation, you’re reading the right blog. Nothing beats Louisiana charter fishing for adventure, sportsmanship and just plain fun.
There are numerous ways to go about it. The versatility of charter fishing is a major selling point, but budgeting for trips can be a challenge if you’re new to the sport.
Here’s a guide to everything you should consider and what you can reasonably expect to pay.
When you start doing your homework, you’ll think that charter fishing prices are all over the map. You’ll wonder what the difference is between a $400 excursion and a $4,000 one.
You can’t go by the first number you see. For one thing, individual charter boat captains set their own competitive prices. One captain might charge $2,000 for up to six guests. Another might start at $700 for two people and tack on $200 per additional passenger. You have to do the math the way they do it before you can comparison shop.
What’s more, there’s a wide range of experiences to choose from. A pricier trip might turn out to be a bargain when you consider what’s included.
These ballpark figures will get you started. They are the average prices for inshore saltwater trips:
As you can see, there are usually price perks for groups.
Again, that price range is typical for inshore fishing. Offshore trips are considerably more expensive because they take more time, require more fuel and may involve specialized equipment; there is also a somewhat greater risk than with inshore fishing.
For those reasons and others, expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $2,500 for up to six people on an offshore charter. Fuel is not usually included in the price of offshore trips, and it can run from $1,400 to $1,800.
In general, the cost of charter fishing in freshwater is less. The trips are shorter, and the fishing is easier; you might catch something within minutes of shoving off. Depending on where and how long you fish, $400 to $700 could get you a nice outing for two to four people.
Other factors that affect cost are outlined below.
Naturally, charter fishing prices go up the farther you travel and the longer you stay out.
When you’re pricing trips, “half-day” usually means three to four hours. “Three-quarter day” usually means six hours. “Full day” is typically eight hours.
What kind of fish do you want to catch? That should definitely figure into your decision about trip length. Redfish, yellowfin tuna, marlin and swordfish are in deeper waters that take time to get to. Structures farther out in the Gulf, like oil platforms, attract even more deep-sea species like amberjack, grouper and red snapper.
Besides travel time to your destination, a large, hard-fighting game fish could keep you busy for a while.
If you can round up some friends, you might get a group discount. If it’s just you — or you and a significant other — you’ll do better to pay by the head than pay a flat rate for up to six or so passengers.
Remember that charter fishing prices don’t include licenses/permits for everyone onboard. Costs and state requirements vary depending on the type of fishing you do.
For standard fishing trips, basic equipment is usually included in the price. Examples include rods, reels, tackle, lures and, in some cases, nets. The charter captain will advise you ahead of time if you need to bring a specialized rod, say, at your own expense.
Your captain will have safety gear like flares, fire extinguishers and first-aid kits on hand. Most boats are stocked with adult life jackets, but you might have to supply your own youth or infant jackets. Ask when you book the trip. You’re probably on your own with items like sunscreen, raincoats, bug spray or a change of socks.
Fuel surcharges are almost always added on, especially for offshore fishing trips.
You usually get what you pay for in life, and charter fishing is no different. A trip might seem expensive until you consider the amenities.
A heated/shaded seating area, cold storage for a homemade ham sandwich, and clean toilets are well worth the price. Even bottled water adds up, and some captains provide an unlimited supply. Some even provide cold beer. Ask what’s included and what you’re allowed to bring in the way of refreshments.
Charter boat captains and crew members are notorious showoffs. Most are happy to clean and fillet your catch provided you “ooh” and “aah” over their skills.
A tip of at least 20% of the trip price is standard. If your captain can tell a good story or sing shanty songs on key, consider giving more.
You can typically find decent lodging for $50 to $150 per person per night. If you insist on five-star meals, an open bar, a hot tub, Wi-Fi and ESPN, you’ll pay considerably more.
When you book lodging, watch out for unreasonable cancellation fees or outrageous parking rates.
At Louisiana Charter Boat Association, our seasoned charter boat captains can help you plan an excursion that you’ll never forget. We’ll tailor the trip to your guests, your expectations and your budget.
Contact an LCBA captain today to book an epic saltwater or freshwater fishing adventure.
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