10 tips To booking The Best fishing charter

So, your on the Alabama Gulf Coast in Orange Beach or Gulf Shores and you want to go charter fishing.  There are 10 very important tips we feel you need to know, in order to get the best fishing charter.  


There is an old saying, "Beauty is in the eye of the beholder."   This especially holds true in charter fishing.  If you have ever been deep sea fishing or bay fishing, you have some general knowledge about how to judge or grade your experience.   Some anglers judge the best as "catching a lot of fish."  Some think a trip is successful if they "filled the cooler."   There just as many, if not more who judge the success of their trip by "having a good experience."    So, one's perception on what is good or the best can be decided by any of the above scenarios, or a combination of all three.  None of which are wrong.


Below you will find necessary tips to consider before deciding which fishing charter is best for you and your family. You are welcome to visit our frequently asked questions page for more detailed information about fishing charters in Orange Beach.

Tip #1:  Time of year You want to go fishing

The best fishing trips in Orange Beach are usually during the summer and fall months.  This is because the water is warm and there are many different species available to target and catch.   The winter and spring offers great fishing opportunities also.  Even though the water is cool during the winter and early spring, there are always reef fish to catch offshore and inshore fish to catch.   As a rule of thumb, come fishing when you are in our area.  We will tell you what species are available and give you our best.

Tip #2:  Your Budget affects the quality of your trip!

The amount of money you budget for your fishing charter has a huge affect on the quality of your trip and the fish you can catch.    The best fishing charters that require a bigger budget, are private trips.  This is where only your group is on the boat.   Budgeting for a private charter is best, if you want a quality trip, catch bigger fish and more of them.    Those who do not appropriately budget for their fishing trip may find themselves wanting more.    Some people want a 4, 5, or 6 hour trip.  These trips are significantly less expensive than the 8, 10, 12 hour trips or longer.    Many fish species that are larger, pull hard or taste great are usually not as plentiful on short trips as they are on longer trips.    When you invest in a fishing charter, you are buying time and fuel.  The more time you invest in fishing, the more fuel the boat burns and the distance you go offshore affect quality.







There is no such thing as good service and low prices in charter fishing.  Charter fishing is a service industry, not a fishing industry.  You are not buying fish when you go on a fishing charter.  Instead, you are buying an experience.   Many people who have not budgeted for the best fishing trip, end up falling prey to those charters that sell cheap prices.  Now if you don't care about receiving good service, by all means go as cheap as you can.   Because we offer good service and our customers expect it, we had rather you budget for a better fishing charter.    



Tip #4:  Read the Online Reviews before booking your trip!

If you want the best fishing charter, you need to read the online reviews about the charter boat before you invest in a trip.  Don't just read all of the 5 star reviews.  Instead, read the 1, 2, 3 star reviews and find out how and why that charter deserved a lesser of a review.  As mentioned above, charter fishing is a service industry.   Those charters who offer the best service, have the best reviews.   Those who sell low prices to people who have not budgeted are usually the ones who complain the most.


The only trusted reviews can be found on Google Reviews, Trip Advisor Reviews or Yelp Reviews.

WARNING:  There are brokers websites (****booker.com) that are full of their own reviews or promote low price charters.  This means their reviews are managed in house and can be manipulated.  Any review that is not from a third party, reputable site is suspect in our opinion..

Tip #5:  Comparing charter boats!

Charter boats are either 6 passenger or multi passenger (inspected by the US Coast Guard).  Most of the deep sea fishing charters in Orange Beach are 6 passenger boats.  They range in length from 36' to 46'.  Most inspected vessels  are 44 to 52' in length, but a few are 65'.   Just because the boat is inspected, doesn't mean they offer a better service or catch better fish.    When deciding which boat you want to charter, we suggest you choose one that has air conditioning, clean restroom, well maintained engines, painted decks, safety rails, newer fishing tackle, etc.   If speed is important, look for boats that run fast.  Most diesel engine boats run 7 to 12 knots.  Some run faster, but those are few and far between.  Outboard charters can run faster, but they lack on comfort. 



Tip #6:  Choose The right captain and crew!

There are some really good fishing guides, captains and crews in Orange Beach and Gulf Shores.  There are some really bad ones too.  How do you know which one is right for you?  The time a captain has been in business is irrelevant when it comes to providing good service.   The number of years the captain has been in business can have a huge effect on the quality of the fish you catch.   More time on the water usually means the captain has plenty of places to fish.     It does not matter if the captain is a good fisherman or has a gazillion world records.  The sign of a good captain and crew is their ability to teach you how to catch fish.   You will know you are on the right charter boat if the captain and crew are helping you learn how to catch fish.  You will know you are on the wrong boat if the captain or deckhand do all the fishing.    Then after they hook the fish, they pass you the pole and let you reel it in.    The best captains and deckhands are servants.  They don't have ego's or have anything to prove.


Tip #7:  Choose Inshore/bay fishing or Offshore Boats!

Inshore charter boats are usually have open tops and or are center consoles.  They range from 22 to 26' in length.  They usually have no restrooms or a way to get out of the sunshine.  They run very fast but don't ride very smooth in rough seas or bays.

Offshore charter boats are either open cockpits - single story (captain sits at same level as anglers do) or they are two stories tall.  On larger boats, the captain sits higher than the customers or up in the wheelhouse.   Offshore boats are 36' to 65' in length in Orange Beach.   Offshore boats have restrooms and 99% of them have air conditioning.

Tip #8:  Choose a 6 Passenger or Multi Passenger Boat!

6 passenger boats can only carry 6 passengers max.  All inshore boats are 6 packs and about 90% of the offshore boats carry 6 passengers.  6 passenger boats are not inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard.   The best 6 passenger boats keep and maintain their vessels at U.S. Coast Guard Standards.  Many 6 passenger boats, well, not so much.

Multi passenger boats are inspected by the U.S. Coast Guard each year.  The coast guard issues them a certificate of inspection.  That letter tells them how many passengers can come aboard the boat.

Choosing a multi passenger boat if you have 6 people or less is ok.   If you have 7 or more people, you must choose a multi passenger boat.   7 people or more can't choose a 6 passenger boat.



When looking online, look for detailed pictures of the boat and the tackle you will be using.  The best charters keep their boat in immaculate condition and their fishing tackle is like new.   If you arrive at your charter and things don't look neat, nice, clean, well maintained or new looking, beware.   Any fishing charter who takes care of their boat will happily show you their engine room.

Tip #10:  Book Direct to Get The Best Fishing Charters!

Do your research and find a charter boat's business website and make your reservation.  This way, you are dealing directly with the captain who will be taking you fishing.


All to many times, people are lured to big super websites with a lot of charter boats listed on them - that you can book.  These are brokers.  They book charters, but consumers need to know that the broker is making them pay a deposit - which is actually a commission.   You may not think a broker effects the quality of your trip.  We are here to tell you that any time you book through a broker and not direct, it's going to cost you big time.   15% to 30% commissions prevent captains from giving you their best.

The best charters in Orange Beach let you book direct!