What to bring on your Charter
In the last post, I mentioned how important it is to read every inch of the guide's website to get a feel for how they operate and what they're all about. Remember that the person who is taking you on the charter WANTS YOU TO HAVE A GOOD EXPERIENCE. I find it difficult to communicate all the information via phone call, so I created an extensive FAQ page. All guides do things a little bit different; so if you've fished with one guide and they encouraged you to bring a large cooler, don't assume another boat has space for it.
Like so with so many things, communication is the key. That said, try not to OVER communicate, especially in the heat of the season. While guides expect a certain amount of correspondence with clients, you don't want to start off your relationship on the wrong foot by playing 20 (unnecessary) questions. So after you've read through whatever materials are available on the charter company's website, if you have any questions ask away. I can't speak for all guides, but I do find that I prefer communication via email or text. For one thing, It's easier to answer those types of communication when it's convenient. Also, I often refer to a text or email thread to double check details such as where we're meeting or how many people are in the fishing party.
There's a saying that the only stupid question is the one that doesn't get asked. While there is some truth to that, it's also worth noting that your guide takes people of all abilities fishing every day, and likely has a system for most things. For example, if a fishing license is required, the guide will tell you.
Here's a list of the basics to bring on nearly any fishing charter in Maine:
Medication to prevent sea sickness
foul weather gear/rubber boots
Should I bring my own equipment?
This is a good question. Sometimes people have an attachment to a special fishing rod and want to take every opportunity to use it. However, that's a perfect example of a question for your guide. I can think of several occasions where that special rod took up valuable space in a rod holder for the entire day because it really wasn't appropriate for the given type of fishing. On larger party boats, where you but tickets and share the boat with dozens of strangers, there is sometimes a rod rental fee, or the boat's gear is the bare minimum for fishing. I don't know of any charter boats that don't include all fishing gear in their price.
Respect your guide's personal space, especially in the morning. I don't know any guides who encourage clients to board their boats without them there, or before they're ready. If you happen to show up significantly early for your trip, the captain and crew are likely getting ready for you and it isn't helpful for you to be there. Imagine showing up a half hour early for a dinner reservation and when the host tells you your table isn't ready yet, heading out back to hang out in the kitchen. That's basically what it's like. It is the pet peeve of every guide I know to arrive to their boat in the morning and find it already occupied by their charter clients for the day. I personally advise people to show up on time, not more than 15 minutes early. If you find yourself extra early, maybe take a walk to get a cup of coffee. There isn't an extensive ticketing process on a charter boat like there is on a party boat, so boarding and the safety discussion take very little time.