Booking a fishing charter is not inexpensive so it pays to do homework before laying out your money.
When spending good money on a day of fishing you want to hire a fishing guide who will maximize your enjoyment. Many clients are new to fishing and not certain what to expect.
But everyone booking a guide knows one thing for certain: They want to have a memorable trip.
Capt. Mark Becton releases a tarpon.
As in any profession, there many guides who are great at what they do and others just out for a payday.
Before booking a guide, speak directly to the one you are considering in advance of the trip before locking into a charter date. This will help ensure you and your guide are on the same page thus helping your guide give you a memorable day on the water.
Some questions to ask:
n Is your guide a specialist? Some guides specialize in fly-fishing, others use live bait only and some use only artificial lures.
n What style angling will be employed? Some guides like to fish drifting while other guides enjoy poling to fishing spots and some prefer to anchor fish.
n What tackles will be used? Some guides use spinning tackle while others prefer fly-fishing tackle.
All styles catch fish but different angler skills are required with each so take these variations into consideration before booking a charter.
Some anglers sit and relax while fishing others stalk the fish. Talk with your guide about their preferred methods and see if they fit your style.
If you have any special needs or special requests voice those in advance as well.
Capt. Mark Becton, a Florida native, has been fishing guide since 1998 and is a member of the Boca Grande Fishing Guides Association.
Becton said he uses spinning and fly-fishing gear as well as a secret ingredient.
"A positive attitude goes along ways on my boat," he said.
Deal-breakers: "A bad attitude, littering and keeping too many fish."
Be prepared to laugh, learn about the ecosystem and improve your angling skills on charters aboard his 17-foot mangrove skiff.
Becton spends a good amount of the time on a charter poling from the platform in the stern of his skiff quietly going from one fishing spot to the next while not disturbing fish before getting within casting range.
Becton said he squeezes every ounce of fun out of each and every one of his charters, which brings happy repeat customers year after year.
His three young sons keep Becton in tune with what it takes to make a child happy on a fishing outing.
"Kids, especially young kids, need simple action " he said.
Becton often gives young anglers rewards on his boat consisting or dollar bills.
He has no problem with children playing in the bait well with the minnows. He said young anglers have fun touching the bait fish, giving them names and finding out which ones will become that day's lucky bait.
Dolphins, manatees, eagles, ospreys, pelican and other wildlife creatures are an added bonus to fishing charters.
Becton said he hopes to be a fishing guide for years to come.
"Just when you think you have the fish figured out, you realize rather quickly that the fish still have a lot to teach us," he said.