Top 10 Things To Consider When Booking A Hilton Head Fishing Trip
1) Do your research online. Select a handful of captains that you're interested in and start the "narrowing-down" process.
2) Cheapest is never best. Typically, the cheaper guides are the ones that are the least experienced and are known to cut corners. When it comes to taking people fishing offshore, its never a good idea to go with a cheaper boat. You never know which corners were cut. Prices are going to vary depending on the size of the vessel. For example--My 27ft boat is going to be approximately $50 dollars more than a 21ft boat. The majority of the charter boats on Hilton Head are between $450-$600 for 4 hours.
3) Choose the captain, not the boat. It's always nice to have a boat with a full kitchen, air conditioning or one that does 60mph, but if your captain is a little grumpy it can ruin a perfect day. Call the captain, ask questions, feel it out. Having a great boat is important, but it shouldn't be a deal breaker.
4) Tripadvisor! Out of approximately 50 charter fishing companies on Hilton Head, only about 15 are on it. They're legitimate reviews that can never be erased. Read the reviews. See what people are saying. Read what they were catching. Just having your business listed on Tripadvisor speaks volumes on the captains integrity.
5) Beware of the infamous "3-Hour Evening Shark Trip". This is one of my most frequent asked questions. If you have a family with small children, this might suit you perfectly. However, if your aspirations are hooking a monster 8-10 foot shark, this probably is not the charter for you. Typically, the largest sharks each day are caught in the mornings or early afternoon.
6) If you're at a hotel or resort, don't go where they recommend without doing a little research. The majority of resorts/hotels have a list of vendors they speak highly about for an annual fee. Being on the "vendors list" at any hotel is a simple process that doesn't require any skill level, experience or accolades. Unfortunately, this way of doing business is a little tainted due to the "money under the table" aspect.
7) Splitting a charter with another group may be easier on the bank account, but it can have a disastrous outcome. Some groups get violently sea sick where they need to come in early. We also sometimes have requests for a particular species, while the opposing group wants a huge shark.
8) If this is your first time fishing, start with a 4 hour charter. You never know, you might just not like it.
9) If you have a party of 6, try and stay away from boats 23ft and under. Just because we can take 6 people doesn't mean it'll be comfortable.
10) Dont book on the convenient location of the marina. Some of most popular marinas on Hilton Head are more than an hour away from the fishing grounds. It might be an easy walk from your condo to the boat, but if you have to spend an hour traveling to the fishing spot, its going to cut into your fishing time tremendously. A 4 hour charter doesnt mean 4 hours of fishing. You're on the clock as soon as the boat departs. Be sure to ask how about travel time, to and from the grounds.