Do you love to fish? Do you love the outdoors and know where all the best fishing spots are? Then you should learn how to start a charter fishing business! It’s hard work, but fun at the same time and potentially very lucrative.
A strong knowledge of fishing and boats is of course essential for learning how to start a charter fishing business, but it doesn’t take long to learn what you need to know. It’s a good idea to go on one or more charter fishing trips of your own to get ideas and see how it’s done. You’ll also be scoping out your competition at the same time to see what they do well and which shortcomings you can capitalize on. And you’ll get a good idea of the going rates for charter fishing services in your area.
What You’ll Need to be Successful
You do need some equipment to start a successful charter fishing business. This includes at least one boat of 25 feet or more; fishing equipment, like poles, lures, knives, etc.; a cooler or refrigerator on the boat for cold food and beverages; a bait container; life vests for the maximum number of people on the boat; a fire extinguisher; and a good two-way radio. It is also a very good idea to have a great GPS system, even if you feel you know the area very well.
In order to be authorized to take paying passengers on your boat, you will also need a captain’s license. These are issued by the US Coast Guard. There are preparatory classes in boater safety, CPR, and first aid that you can take to get ready for your captain’s license exam.
The only other licensing requirements, beyond what the state requires for the boat itself, will be a business license. And of course you will want to make sure you have good insurance that covers your business in case of accidents and injuries.
More than anything else, what you will need to successfully start a charter fishing business is an in depth knowledge of fishing in your area. Clients will be paying you to know your stuff, and they want to go home with fish and great stories to tell. If you can deliver that, you’ll be in great shape.
Make yourself an expert about where to find the fish and how to catch them, and about how to handle your boat well too. Your client’s should be 100% comfortable that they are with someone who really knows what they’re doing.
Another factor that is key to your success in the fishing charter business is price. You don’t want your prices to be too high, but you do want to make sure you’re making a healthy profit. Be sure to take into consideration all your expenses when setting your pricing; then compare with other charter fishing companies in the area to make sure you aren’t priced too low or too high.
As you gain a reputation for being the best at what you do, you’ll be able to charge more, and you might even consider purchasing more boats and hiring other guides to work for you. If you love to fish, this is a business that can grow into a money maker, while letting you do what you enjoy most!