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What’s Up with the Cost of Your Charter?

On most charter boats, up to six can go out… yet if you look at our rates you’ll see our rate is for four people, additional for a fifth and sixth passenger.

We went to this pricing structure in 2021 for a few reasons and it’s not uncommon in the industry, but uncommon in our harbor.

So… what are those reasons?

  1. It’s just more comfortable. While our boat is a great size, we run with a captain AND first mate. No matter how you look at it, the quarters are close even when you’re outside. A rod goes off and you need to get to it quickly… sometimes two and three rods are going off. It’s just easier to manage with four or fewer passengers. But if you have six, it’s doable and been done hundreds of times.  But Captain / First Mate Rickey likes to jump around and cheer for the fish – and four gives him room to dance, with soft-soled shoes of course.
    1. Six people is 50% more than four people which means 50% more use/wear and tear on everything (I knew that statistics class would come in handy!)
  2. Do you know what B.O.A.T stands? Have you met my husband, Captain Kevin?
    1. Break Out Another Thousand
    2. PERFECTIONIST (and let me tell you ladies, those husbands are not cheap!)
  3. But seriously, there are so many costs that go into running a charter boat like:
    1. Slip Fee
    2. Fuel – have you seen the cost of that lately? We USED to be an average of $150 for one trip. I don’t even want to speculate on this year (insert crying emoji here).
    3. Maintenance – you think your car needs oil changes frequently? Imagine two 454s with frequent oil changes and other maintenance – this means 16 spark plugs, two sets of plug wires, two cap and rotors, FILTERS, so many FILTERS, oh and all that oil!
    4. Insurance
    5. Boat registration like plates on a car
    6. Registration/fees/inspections with Indiana AND Michigan
    7. Ice, meat (bait)
    8. Rods, tackle, reels – did you know one little shiny spoon is $7.99! and fisherman love to have 50 of each in case for some reason that spoon is hot that day and every rod and every rod of every other man seems to need one… and fishing line including copper and lead… they may as well make them of gold… sigh
    9. Paying captain and first mate
    10. Boat Cleaning – oh wait, that’s free because that is me
    11. Credit Card fees
    12. Off season things like towing the boat, shrinkwrap and storage
    13. Boat prep – paint and buffing
    14. And well if anything breaks or goes down, it’s simply not cheap. See BOAT meaning above.
  4. Fire Drill is built for comfort and safety. We have SeaDek flooring so it’s like standing on a nice floor mat. We have three Simrad screens to help find the fish, have radar for detecting things nearby and weather radio for those storms that pop up on a whim.
  5. We have Rickey! This guy has been fishing since before my husband and I were born. A true fish whisperer.
  6. But Captain Billy Bob from Acme Charters is cheaper
    1. Cool! You do you. DO NOT feel bad if our rates are not in your wheelhouse. We all have a budget. That’s why I drive an old Jetta station wagen with a dent from Bambi’s dad and not a Land Rover. If you need help finding a good captain within your budget, give me a shout. I’m happy to help. I also know personalities so can typically suggest who works well for you. Also, there are smaller boats in nearby harbors who cost significantly less because they cannot hold more than 3 or 4. The boats are still good size, they just may not have bathrooms but the captains are top notch fisherman and they are great options for couples.
  7. Our fishing trips are about the experience. Sure you’re out there to fish, but it’s about being out with the people you enjoy. Some have a fishing trip as a bucket list. They may only do it once in a lifetime… it’s often hard to get people together on the same day… so they save up for that one big trip.
  8. And I’m ending on my favorite number -8! I just want to say DON’T GO INTO DEBT for a fishing trip. If $100 more for a trip with us doesn’t work for you and will cause you to break out the credit card over cash in hand, let me suggest someone. At the end of the day, just get out on the water, let the shore sail away from you and hey, fish on!!


Want to catch fish? Listen to the Crew

Increase your odds of getting the fish in the boat by letting the crew guide you.

The rod hits with a fish but shortly after you’re on the rod you lose the fish. Bummer. You try again. It happens again. Your buddy loses his fish. What is going on?

There could be a few things. The fish could have a soft mouth and get off the hook. But the best first place to start is to listen to the crew.

Often we see charter passengers doing things we know will cause them to lose the fish. The crew is there to coach and teach you to get that fish in the boat. It doesn’t always happen, but there are a few key ways to help ensure you’re more likely to get that fish than to lose it.

Listen to the crew, not your buddy. You’re out salmon or trout fishing while trolling Lake Michigan. Now is not the time to act like you’re bass fishing. We had some trips in late summer where 9+ fish were lost. That’s enough to drive First Mate and Captain Rickey crazy! He starts getting anxious. He always gets fish in the boat! But the customers kept listening to a friend about how to reel. Once the next fisherman was convinced not to “set” the hook and how to reel correctly, they were slaying them!

DO NOT STOP the line from going out. Time and time again we see folks thumb the line or mess with the bail on the reel. If the fish wants to run out some line, let them. You ever watch Wicked Tuna and you hear them yell, “It’s a Screama! They’re taking out line!”? That’s alright even when you’re not tuna fishing if you’re fishing for salmon and trout on Lake Michigan – you want that fish to get tired. As long as you’re reeling correctly, you can have good odds of getting that runaway fish in the boat.

Get on the rod as soon as the rod goes off. Know who is next up for when the rod hits. There isn’t time for you to decide who is going to reel in the next fish – in just seconds, that fish can swim around and jump off the line. Get on the rod and get reeling!

You or your friend or family member spent hard earned money to go out on a charter. We’ve also spend hard earned money replacing/upgrading/repairs rods and reels, keeping lines and leaders fresh, putting on sharpened hooks and invested in lures and meat rigs. Make your day out of the water worthwhile and listen to the crew!