Oct 13, 2022


By Coty Perry

If you are considering chartering a boat in and around Tampa Bay, there are many things to learn and pay attention to. Any experienced angler would tell you that chartering a boat is an excellent way to learn a lot in not much time, especially if you don’t have many fishing skills.

There are some aspects of Tampa boat charter fishing that are universal. This short guide will help you prepare for your fishing trip ahead of time and help you understand what to be aware of when on your boat.


Before the Trip
Before you begin your trip and step into your boat, there are some things to focus on to make your trip successful.

Research Charters

The first thing to do to prepare for chartering a boat is research charters in your area. Many websites are available for you to find a charter and read about what makes them the best. You can also find information on what a typical fishing trip with them is like, and you can read about the boat's captain or guide and crew.

Your guide and crew are vital because they will determine how well your trip goes. Figure out where you want to go on your fishing trip and find a charter that will work with you to go to your destination. Some charters only remain in the bay and surrounding canals, while others are deep sea.  

Ask Questions
You must talk with your captain or guide as soon as your outing is planned to establish expectations. Ask questions about the boat, motor, equipment, and experience.

You should discuss with your guide what fish you want to target, what you want to get out of this charter, and if you'll keep the fish or practice catch and release.

Asking questions and openly communicating with your guide will help you to pick a charter that works well for you. Once your guide or captain understands your expectations, they will be able to ensure your trip suits your needs. 

Policies and Inclusions
Discuss with your guide their “onboard policies” to ensure you are fully aware of what the rules are and what is and is not acceptable. If you smoke, you might find it acceptable to smoke on the boat, and your guide might find it unacceptable. The same things apply to food and alcohol.

Discuss with your guide what they will allow you to bring on the boat. While most guides allow food on the boat, some do not, so it is essential to know what is included in your guide’s onboard policies. Some everyday things to ask about and if they are included are alcohol, smoking, gear, fuel costs, and food. 

Prepare for the Trip
To prepare for your trip, you will need to bring some items with you. You should bring:

  • Extra water bottles
  • Sunscreen
  • Comfortable sneakers
  • Sunglasses
  • Medication for sea sickness
  • Coolers for food and drinks, if allowed
  • Extra clothes
  • Bag or backpack

These items are good to bring to ensure you stay comfortable the entire trip. The sun can feel rough when out on the boat, so sunscreen is a must to bring with you. While you might not think you will get seasick, it happens to many people who are out on the water for a long time.

Sea sickness can sneak up quickly on you, especially if the water gets choppy due to bad weather. Bring a backpack or a small bag to put all the essentials in to ensure you stay comfortable and prepared for the trip.


While You Are On the Boat

Once on the boat, you will meet the captain/guide and the crew assisting you during your trip. Some boats only have your guide and one deckhand, while others have a large team with food, cooks, servers, and other anglers.

The captain/guide will explain the plan for the day and the safety measures that should be taken. He will also explain what type of fish you are going after and where the boat will go. Many charters can fit a group of 10 to 15 people on the boat, so you might not be the only one there.  

The Drive
You will not spend the entire time fishing. You will typically be away from the dock for about six hours. Your return time will vary depending on the trip's success.

You will usually spend a good portion of your time traveling to deep waters if you go deep sea fishing. While the drive can seem like you are losing time, you can use this time to ask more questions you might have and learn more about the fishing you will do.  


It is essential to have realistic expectations for your fishing experience. Many factors play into how well the fish bite. It can depend on the time of year and how the weather is. Even if you don’t catch any fish, it is essential to remember that you are there to have a good time.

You are out on the water, learning new skills, and are surrounded by friends and family. Your fishing experience can depend on the type of fish you are fishing for, where you are fishing, and the techniques your guide suggests.

Inshore trips are popular for anglers with little experience, as they take place in sheltered and calm waters. Inshore fishing is excellent for anglers with children because smaller fish are often on offer.


Chartering a boat can sound overwhelming, but it isn’t as long as you prepare ahead of time. It is essential to research charters, ask questions, understand policies, and prepare for your trip ahead of time.

Once it is time for your Tampa boat charter, you just have to make it through the long drive. Then, it’s time to go fishing! Chartering a boat is a great experience, and you will enjoy your time on the water.


If you’re looking for an experienced local charter Captain Sergio Atanes has over 45 years of experience fishing the local waters of West Central Florida and has been operating as a full-time captain since 1980,


For more information about how Tampa Yacht Sales can help you find the boat of your dreams contact Shane Faunce at (813) 906-0888 for more information or view our current listings.


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