The number one thing to watch out for, are the charter brokers. A charter broker is a company that books trips for a commission, typically about 20%. Either the consumer or the guide have to pay it. The reason I say to avoid them, is because they’re not local guides, and don’t know anything about our fishing. It’s hard for a person on the other side of the state or even out of state to give you accurate information on local fishing. They’ll tell you anything to get you booked and a deposit. Then the guide will have to explain to you that it’s not the right time of year to target that species. They also advertise they have the best guides in the state. However, not to many guides I know want to fish for 20% less than the next guy. The easiest way to spot a broker is if there is more than one guide on the site, “light tackle fishing fleet”, or “our guides”. When you book a trip with Back For More Charters, you’re booking with me. When you ask, what will be fishing for or directions, you’ll be talking directly to me. No middle man, just me.
The next thing to watch for is the “no fish no pay guarantee”. I personally have never had a charter when we got skunked. We always catch something. However, when they guarantee you’ll catch a tarpon, you better read the fine print. No guides I know of, will guarantee you a tarpon. If you read the fine print, it’ll say you’ll see a tarpon. Getting him to eat, setting the hook, and landing the fish are up to the angler. Tarpon are a very tough fish to figure out. I’ve had days when we’ve seen over 500 and not got a bite. I probably do as much tarpon fishing as any guide in the Miami/ Fort Lauderdale area, and seeing fish is never a problem. It’s getting them to eat and landing them.
Another thing to look for is the words “sport fisher”. Not always, but most the time it means trolling. I fish people from all around the world, and I know this is their least desirable method of fishing. Most people like to fish with lighter rods and have a pole in their hand. Opposed to trolling extremely heavy tackle. With the mate doing most the work in setting the hook and hand lining the fish the last 50 feet.
Finally, something else to look for, but is harder to figure out. Make sure you book with a “Full-Time guide” I’m a full time guide. This is what I do to support my family. Probably less than 20% of the guides in south Florida are full time. Most are fire fighters, police officers, or retired. I would ask, that’s the only way to find out. Some are good fisherman, some are not. Their rates are typically a little lower, and their local knowledge is much lower. If I’m unavailable or we need more than 1 boat, I will always recommend another full time guide for you.
Thanks and I hope you find this information helpful.
Capt. Gavet Tuttle