If you live in Louisiana, it is safe to say fishing is one of your favorite pastimes. It comes as no wonder considering Louisiana has the best fishing in the world.
This fishing destination possesses bountiful river deltas that provide a diversity of inshore fish species.
Louisiana fishing is so great that a lot of people spend money on expensive boats, marine accessories and fishing tackle in their pursuit of speckled trout and redfish.
Every year, thousands of anglers flock to the Sportsman’s Paradise to fish and experience its great outdoors.
Often, you can see trucks with boats in-tow rolling down the interstate towards their destination.
And of course the locals enjoy their own boats, fishing under their own power.
Perhaps you are one of these people, partaking in the quest for speckled trout we all love and enjoy.
But at the end of the day it costs money to engage in this passion. It even costs more to own a boat. It is a running joke that the word “boat” is really an acronym for “break out another thousand”.
If you have owned a boat, you know what I am talking about. It can be frustrating to prepare for a fishing trip, trailer your boat to your favorite marina, pay to launch it, pay for bait, and go through a lot of hassle just to not catch anything.
Sure, you may catch a handful of fish, but when you read of people limiting out on trout, don’t you want to as well?
Plenty of people with the best intentions have obtained boats just to get a crash course in reality and bubble-bursting.
You have to trailer the thing, which requires you to be skilled to safely do so.
Just to trailer it you need the appropriate truck or SUV.
Many times it happens that people find out the hard way that their vehicle cannot recover a boat without slipping down the ramp.
It also occurs that people are abruptly taught that perhaps the brakes on their vehicle are not strong enough to stop the vehicle and the boat they are pulling in enough time and distance.
But it does not stop there!
Trailering a boat, especially down the highway, causes wear and tear to assault your truck, your trailer and your vessel.
Flat tires, worn out bearings, corroded studs, and shorted taillights are all just the tip of the iceberg.
An obvious solution is to keep the boat on the water at a slip or shed near the marina.
But now it’s susceptible to theft and rising water.
Of course, you would then have another bill to pilfer your pockets. Is it worth it?
Mull over all the items that broke on your boat that require hundreds, if not thousands, to replace.
Hatch handles and locks, hinges, the GPS, radio, the list goes on and on.
When it breaks you will consume more time and money to get it fixed.
Think about the devastating effects of saltwater and then think again how much you are exposing your vehicles to it.
If you’re just pulling your boat out of the water and not freshwater rinsing anything, then rest assured knowing that a ticking time-bomb is waiting to explode next time you go fishing.
Not only does all your equipment need to be freshwater rinsed, it also needs other types of maintenance.
These maintenance procedures are outside the scope of this article, but consider that hubs and joints need to be greased, the engine needs flushing, your anchor line needs cleaning, and the bilge needs to be purged.
The people that make it look easy have been doing it for years. In fact, those people took the time to learn from the pros that run watercraft for a living.
Even if you can foot the bill to run your own boat, can you manage the risk associated with it?
The marsh is beautiful, but it can be unforgiving.
Consider the wild, open expanses of the Louisiana marsh.
It’s easy to get turned around even if you do have a GPS.
Think about all the underwater obstructions out there lying patiently to rip the lower unit off your motor and leave your family stranded.
Do you have a radio? Have you tried using it and how do you know it can reach for help? These are all tough questions to have answers for.
Leave your boat stored for extended periods of time and bad things will happen to it.
The battery will die, animals will make the center console their home, fuel will go bad and that motor will refuse to start while your friends are waiting at the dock.
Now, add up all the costs and judge for yourself if it’s really worth to fish on your own.
For some people, that monthly average ranges from $1,500 to $3,000.
How much fish do they have to show for that? I can tell you how many fish can be shown for a charter at a mere $500: a whole cooler.
The value is obvious, though the price may initially disinterest people.
But what they need is a frame of reference, and the facts are there. It costs more time, money and hassle to run your own boat if you don’t have the years of experience to make it worth it.
Perhaps it’s the challenge that really interests you, but even then you can still benefit from booking a charter and learning from the pros.
Let’s look at some of these benefits. Not all of them are so obvious.
When you book with a great charter, you’re paying a flat rate that will cover your typical expenses.
This usually includes items like fuel, bait, and ice, but also covers any equipment that may be damaged along the way.
Lost tackle and broken equipment would normally gouge your personal fishing enterprises, but not with a professional charter.
With a fishing charter you are protected from those surprise expenses.
Fuel prices are no longer your concern, regardless of how much fuel is burned you are still paying a flat rate.
Your fishing experience will no longer require getting up earlier and prepping your equipment.
The livewells will keep the bait alive and the rods will be squared away. The gas tank is already full and the motor is purring quietly. Now you can leisurely walk across the street and hop in the boat.
All the kinks and snags in a fishing operation have been straightened out by a licensed and experienced guide who fishes every day. Anything Murphy’s Law will throw at you will be deflected.
Is it a neap tide? Don’t worry about it, that’s the captain’s job. Just make sure you learn how he defeats it and be sure to enjoy reeling in your fish!
The streamlined experience keeps on giving.
When you get back to the dock, you won’t have to worry about performing preventative maintenance on any equipment.
In fact, if your hand isn’t skilled at cleaning fish then know you will have a captain that does. More likely than not, he can speed clean those fish with laser precision.
You will receive your freshly-bagged fillets and then enjoy the ride home. The captain takes care of the rest of the work.
When you book with a fishing charter, you will not be spending idle time on the water.
You will be catching fish. Nor will you need to do any second-guessing or attempting to game the conditions. You will be there to enjoy yourself and learn the tricks of the trade. So get straight to the good part and learn how the captain got there. It will benefit your dollar a lot more than aimlessly trolling down a stretch of unknown shoreline.
It’s a known fact that the marsh can be a dangerous place. Do you know every shortcut, how to stay out of the wind and where all the shallow water areas are? No? You can bet that your favorite charter captain does. When you take the time to reserve a fishing charter, you will see how much more peace of mind you will have. You will be riding with a gentleman that knows the area and knows it intimately. Even if you fish on your own, it is still the ultimate bang for your buck to learn safe routes and locations of underwater obstructions.
When you purchase a fishing trip from a professional charter boat captain, you are getting so much value for your dollar you will end up with extra money to put into your passion.
Spend that money on new electronics or fishing tackle. Can you say “Power Pole”? Or spend that money on lodging in order to make more perfect your fishing experience.
Who doesn’t like waking up and walking across the street into their boat? Who doesn’t like catching more fish and keeping more money in their pocket?
Benefit From The Captain’s Knowledge
Whether you plan to fish on your own or hire a charter captain, you always profit learning from the man who fishes on the water regularly.
A good charter captain won’t hold back the Fountain of Knowledge. In fact, you would be at a disadvantage to not pick his brain.
He knows what different navigational lights mean, how to safely traverse the open waters and, of course, how to boat fish even under the toughest conditions. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to make a list of questions before you go on the charter.
What kind of boat does he recommend? Why do trout move offshore during the summer?
Contemplate the idea that when you pay for a fishing charter, you are paying for more than just catching fish. You’re paying for priceless knowledge, too.
When you’re learning from a pro, the value is endless.
At the end of the day, reconsider how much you spend to get out on the water and go fishing, then compare that to how often you catch.
If you’re paying a loan for your boat to sit in the driveway then you are doing yourself a disservice.
Stop wasting your time and your hard-earned dollars, book with a charter today! Get out there and enjoy yourself!
Devin is the founder of Louisiana Fishing Blog and enjoys exploring new fishing spots on Louisiana's coast. He prefers using artificial lures and casting tackle, but won't hesitate to break out a popping cork when the time is right.
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