If you’re dreaming of a fish safari, there’s no place better than Florida. The Sunshine State has more fishing charters available than anywhere else, and the increased competition means you can often get amazing deals. Here’s a list of ten that should suit just about anyone.
1. The Starlight Fleet, Fort Lauderdale
These guys have been around since 1976, so they’re doing something right. They specialize in big boats and a party-like atmosphere. If you want something more private, you can shell out a bit more and get that, too. They book up quick, so get your reservation well in advance.
2. Key West Fishing Connection, Key West
This is an outfit where the owner takes you out, which is usually the best way to ensure a good experience. They specialize in blue water and tarpon fishing, although they’ll take you out for sharks, too, if that’s your thing. Catch them when they’ve had a cancelation and get a great deal.
3. Good Hit Sportfishing, Fort Lauderdale
These folks will take you out anywhere from four to ten hours, and will pair you with people who know the ocean. They’ll also let you chase just about any species you might be interested in. They list sharks and swordfish on their website, but will also take you out for mahi-mahi.
4. Always Something Fishing Charters, Daytona Beach
This one is kind of neat, because it’s a small operation that offers a personalized experience. It’s also right outside Daytona Beach, so it’s easy to find something to do after the fishing trip. The captain has an unpronounceable name, but knows his stuff.
5. Fishing Headquarters, Fort Lauderdale
These folks offer both inshore and offshore fishing with the promise of the biggest fish for your buck. They specialize in eight-hour excursions that pack in as much as possible. You’ll have to book early with this outfit, as they fill up fast and rarely have cancellations.
6. New Smyrna Fishing Charters, New Smyrna
This charter service offers inshore and offshore fishing with a family feel in the environs of New Smyrna. This is a great pick for birthday or special occasion outings. They can provide some sort of fishing trip twelve months of the year, so it doesn’t matter when your anniversary comes around.
7. Hang ‘Em High Sport Fishing, Crystal River
These guys will take you river fishing or out into the Gulf, if that suits your fancy. They even offer scallop tours. If you want to shell out extra, they’re more than happy to take you out for a full day or an extended trip. This one’s worth it just to see their boats.
8. North Florida Fishing, Jacksonville
Here’s your chance to check out Northeast Florida, for a change. Captain Dan Schurr will take you around St. Augustine, Amelia Island, and Fernandina, all the while sharing his thirty years of fishing experience. This is a real old-school kind of charter service, and the sort of thing everybody should try at least once.
9. Peacock Bass Miami, Miami
As the name implies, these are the people to see when it comes to peacock bass. They’ll take you out fishing from shore or from boats, and some of the action might be in a canal right outside your hotel. There’s something intriguing about fishing in and around a big city like Miami. If nothing else, it’s easy to grab a burger if the fish don’t bite.
10. Double D Charters, Miami
This outfit specializes in the big stuff, all the way up to tuna, if you want. Double D is an owner-operated charter, so the guy on the boat with you is the guy who has some skin in the game. Smaller operations like this often know the water best and give the best experience for the dollar. Book early and enjoy a truly big catch.
To Sum It Up
When it comes to choosing a fishing charter, it’s best to start small and work your way up, if you can. Go out with a company for four hours and see how it goes. If you have a good time, book a longer and more extensive charter down the line. In many cases, you’ll find that you will want to come back year after year if the operation is good and the fish cooperate. Good luck, and good fishing.