Without a doubt booking a charter can be one of the most expensive things you can do following your passion for fishing.
Having the guiding hand of an experienced captain and crew can make or break your experience out on the water.
Booking a shark fishing charter is normally one of the most expensive types of charters available especially if you are target Mako or other large species offshore.
Offshore rates per day are usually well over $1000 so a lot of caution and prior planning should be made on your part to ensure that you have the best time possible.
Shark Fishing Charters
1. Do Your Research
The internet has transformed almost every single business in the world and fishing charters are no exception. The majority of charters these days should have a website where you can learn all about the boat, captain and crew.
However, any negative reviews will ever be displayed if it is on the boats own website.
If you can try to look the boat up on one of the numerous online booking websites. Here you will find ALL of the reviews of the boat both good and bad.
If you can try to also look at some local fishing forums, a lot of these forums will have a charter section or thread and you should find some pretty honest reviews.
Facebook groups can also be a great place to find the best shark fishing charters as most people are quite vocal with their assessments and will happily share pictures of their day out and catch.
Be very careful when walking down a dock looking for a shark charter boat as it can be very easy for a captain to talk you into their boat pointing out all of the good things whilst hiding any of the negatives.
2. Choose the Right Captain
Any charter boat is only as good as the people that work on it and the captain is THE most important person on the boat.
The captain sets the tone for both how the crew behave and perform. Ultimately you are trusting this person with your safety.
This is where doing a lot of research up front will pay dividends. It's easy enough to judge the boat from a few pictures but you can tell very little from how competent the captain is.
3. Choose the Right Boat
Although a new expensive boat will not guarantee success it may tell you just how seriously the captain takes his fishing and it a new boat is dirty and not looking perfect then it is normally a pretty good reflection of badly the boat is run.
Conversely an old boat may look shabby and a little worn out but with the right captain and maintenance they can be superior.
Make sure the boat is of a suitable size and power for where you are planing on going fishing.
Any kind of offshore fishing needs a large boat with powerful engines(preferably two engines).
It should have all of the required safety equipment that is required by law and the equipment should be well maintained.
4. Offshore or Inshore
This is one of the biggest decisions you will likely make when booking a shark fishing boat as it will not only affect the price considerably but also how long you will be out fishing for.
A half day rate for inshore shark fishing can start for a little as $150 per person. This will of course depend on the kind of distance traveled and how long you are fishing for.
Offshore fishing however is normally a full day out and full day rates are well over $1000. Bigger boats have much bogger running expenses especially fuel bills and all of this will be factored into your bill.
5. Charter Rates
Shopping around is extremely important and you should never just book the very first boat you come across.
With lots of charters charging over $1000 for a full day it really pays to look up at least 5 to 10 different charters and see how their rates compare to each other.
Always make sure you can book with a credit card in case the charter is cancelled or any other issue arises.
7. The Tackle Onboard
Tackle is a big issue on board and being stuck using badly maintained gear can be a nightmare.
Shark gear is heavy and heavy gear needs to be well maintained. Shark fishing reels take an absolute hammering on a charter boat as they get heavily used and abused in a year than the average weekend fisherman's.
A good shark fishing rod needs to be an offshore boat rod that is rated at least 50 to 80 lbs.
Make sure that there are sufficient shark rods and reels onboard and that all of the equipment used when fighting a large shark is up to the job.
Fresh shark bait is also a must and the quality of the bait onboard will say a lot about the how good a charter boat it really is.