Choosing the Best Hatteras Fishing Charter

A lot of first-time Hatteras visitors think that choosing a fishing charter is as simple as stopping by a marina, going down the charter price lists and then choosing the least expensive boat that has an open date for the day that they have available to fish. This method has been used often and unfortunately this practice also tends to diminish the quality of the charters that are going to be available. If our chartering customers don’t have certain guidelines, how can they expect a fair competition among the boats for their business? Next time that you are looking or a charter why not take the time to do a little research? Here are a few things to consider.


The Marina: Remember, not all marinas are the same. Here is a list of questions that you should ask yourself before choosing where you want to charter a fishing trip.

  • Does the marina look well kept and clean with plenty of secure parking?
  • Is the marina convenient for you?
  • Is the marina’s atmosphere a place that you would be proud to take your family or is their a lot of loud music, horseplay and drinking going on?
  • Does the marina have a convenient ship’s store with fairly priced extras like coffee, lunches and non-alcoholic drinks available for your trip?
  • Does the marina have professional fish cleaning facilities at a fair price?
  • Does the marina have an organized and professional booking desk to handle your purchase?

Just look at it this way, the more relaxed you are with the professionalism and atmosphere of the marina the more relaxed you can also be with the captain and crew that would choose to fish out of a well run marina.


The Charter Boat (and tackle): Too much emphasis is often put on the size of the boat and not nearly enough consideration is given to the boat’s actual condition. I have been offshore on various boats of all sizes and have learned from personal experience that when it is rough offshore it doesn’t much matter how big the boat you are on is, it’s still going to be rough. As an example, an expensive charter on a massive 65’ charter boat in 6 foot seas with a poorly maintained diesel engine bellowing black smoke in your face all day long can be a very miserable experience.

If possible, take the time to walk up and down the docks and look at the boats before you charter. Try to look past the glamour of your offshore fishing charter and try to see the not so obvious things that will determine your level of enjoyment. Soon, you will be going on an unforgettable experience that will take you many miles into the Atlantic Ocean so try to answer these questions about their equipment first.

  • Is the captain professional and personable?
  • Will he be congenial enough to talk with and entertain his customers or will he simply sit on the bridge and bark orders at his mate?
  • Is the mate clean, congenial and personable?
  • Is this a professional crew that is committed to providing you with the fishing experience of a lifetime that you have every right to expect or are these just a couple guys that are here to take your money and then try to catch a fish or two?

An offshore charter is NOT about catching the most fish! It should be an experience that should be enjoyed to the maximum (fish or not). Try to choose the crew that you feel will make every effort to make your day unforgettable and then also catch a few fish to make it even better.


The Price: I wasn’t going to even put this on my list but let’s face it these fishing charters are expensive and it is an important consideration. At most marinas the price is set by the captain and is determined by the boat’s length. That’s a shame because some of the best charter businesses are not the biggest boats. The larger boats have to charge more for their charters because they use more fuel and have larger maintenance expenses.

In the case of a charter don’t perceive that if it is more expensive it has to be better. If you do your research by asking the questions above you will be more likely to find the right charter for you.

You are about to go on the experience of a lifetime. Don’t short yourself by choosing the wrong charter. I know one man that actually pulled aside a customer getting off the boat that he was about to charter and asked the man to be honest about their day’s charter. When he found out that a large fish was lost because one of the reels didn’t have enough line on it and the captain spent all day screaming at the mate, the man decided that wasn’t where he wanted to spend his money. He ended up chartering at another marina with a captain and crew with a reputation for going “overboard” to make the guests feel comfortable and was very happy with his choice.




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