What's Biting: Get schooled on a charter

The extended Alabama Red Snapper season closes on Friday. Do you want to go trolling around the nipple or elbow area? The water more closely resembles pea soup than cobalt blue. Conditions like these make for a great time to go on a charter trip.
It may seem counter-intuitive to charter a boat when the fishing is less than ideal. I think it's the best time. When I go on a charter, my goal is as much about learning as it is about catching fish, and usually both go hand in hand.

Our charter fleet here is made up of some of the best fishermen in the world. They produce for their customers on a daily basis. They are pros who know how to adjust and adapt when the fishing gets tough. There is so much you can learn from captains and mates if you are observant and ask questions. Aside from asking for the GPS numbers to the private reef you are fishing on, anything fishing-related is fair game.

[caption id="attachment_5300" align="alignright" width="300"]Charter Fishing Learn from the best by fishing on a charter boat.[/caption]

"I think a lot of our guests that are boat owners or fish on someone else's private boat take what they learn with us and apply to their fishing trips. I hope after fishing with us they catch more fish when they go on their own,” said Captain Casey Price of Lady D Charters.

The mates on boats have a wealth of knowledge to share as well as the captains. They are the ones in the cockpit, rigging baits, tying knots, and doing everything you need to do when not fishing on a charter.

"Almost all of the mates I've worked with truly enjoy customers who want to learn while they are on the charter," said Price. "A lot of times, it's just one little tip or one specific technique that we do on our boat that they can take back to their boat and help them catch more fish."

If there is something that you'd like to learn to do, there is no better place to learn than on a charter boat. Maybe you would like to try deep dropping, or learn how to kite fish. Possibly you would like to learn how to target bottom species other than red snapper. Think about what you want to improve on when you go fishing, and tell your captain that's what you'd like to focus on during your charter. Not only are they great at catching fish, but most are also great teachers as well.

Learning from charter boats isn't limited to just the day of the charter either. Having the ability to call or stop by and see a captain or a mate when you need a fishing report is a tremendous resource. I have a few 'go-to guys' that I can always count on to give me the best information about conditions offshore.

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Jim Cox
Jim Cox (1328 Posts)
Jim Cox is an avid inshore, offshore, and big game fisherman. He has twice qualified for the prestigious IGFA Offshore Championships in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. He is the past president of the Mobile…