How to Have the Best Maine Deep Sea Fishing Experience
Welcome to the first of a several part blog series about how to have the very best charter experience in Maine. Many of the tips will apply to fishing in other states, as well.
I'll be honest, there are lots of good charter boats in Southern Maine. Whether you're staying in Kennebunk, or Old Orchard Beach, Portland or Falmouth, there are lots of good options, even if you don't end up fishing on the Rita B.
One thing all the best charter boats have in common is that they book up early. I can't tell you how many times people contact me smack in the middle of prime season looking for a charter the next day. In many cases I don't have an opening in the next week, especially if they're looking for a full day trip. What's worse, all the people I would usually recommend are also booked for the foreseeable future. I can't fault people for asking, sometimes I'll have a cancellation or a last minute opening and it works out well. So if you find yourself in that position, looking for a last minute charter, don't hesitate to contact various charter operations, looking for that last minute slot. That brings up another unfortunate reality, most charter captains are a one man show. The captain wears all the hats, and as a result, when it's really busy and they're all booked up, it's more than likely that your calls may not be returned. It's nothing personal, it just means they're booked and when they get home, they're focusing on spending time with their families and preparing for their trips the next day.
Ok, so I should book in advance, but how far in advance?
I would say if you want a high demand day like a weekend or a holiday, you can't possibly book too far in advance. Most fishing charters in Maine start their seasons in May, so any time January-April is probably your best bet. Another way to promote success is to book on a weekday if at all possible. Weekends are crazy on the water, with lots of competition from other recreational boaters and anglers.
Virtually all charter companies will require a deposit, but the ones I'm familiar with have fair cancellation policies, as well. Definitely familiarize yourself with the cancellation policy before you slap down a deposit.
Speaking of cancellation policies, if you're looking to book a fishing charter, read every inch of the charter operation's website. You definitely want to know what you’re getting in to. Every Maine fishing guide is different. Some are catch and release only, some are fly fishing only, some only fish for stripers, some do a little bit of everything. Some have big boats, some have skiffs. The key is to find the trip that’s best for you. Next Post, we’ll discuss things to bring on your charter, and why they’re important.