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There’s no need to skirt around it – FishingBooker is a commission-based platform. It’s our only source of revenue and it hinges on the successful bookings we bring our partners. This means our ability to create business for captains is our lifeblood and the reason we are able to thrive as a platform.

Capt. Dale Henderson, owner and operator of Rockstar Charter Fishing.
Capt. Dale Henderson, owner of Rockstar Charter Fishing.

However, there are certain misconceptions when it comes to the commission structure FishingBooker is based on. The most common one is that our partners have to invest a high commission in order to get business from us. And while it’s true that the percentage you invest impacts the ranking of your listing, a high commission is neither a requirement nor a guarantee for success.

To illustrate how it’s possible to get bookings even without investing a high commission, we interviewed Capt. Dale Henderson of Rockstar Charter Fishing. He’s a federally-licensed captain who’s achieved success with FishingBooker on two different sides of the U.S. He first did it in California, before moving his charter business to the highly competitive Clearwater, Florida.

In 2021, Capt. Dale received 200 booking requests through FishingBooker. His commission level? Ten percent from the very moment he listed with us. Here’s what Capt. Dale had to say about the commission and his relationship with FishingBooker.

How did you feel about having to invest in a commission when you first joined FishingBooker?

A photo of the Rockstar Charter Fishing federally licensed boat.
The Rockstar, a 32′ Albemarle.

I took a look at the percentages and decided to start at 10% and see how we did. The thing that’s always a consideration is that the commission is another operating cost, right? It takes away from the profit at the end of the day, especially in today’s world.

With diesel fuel being so expensive, I’ve got to make sure that my returns from everything else that I have to purchase or pay for relate to the charters we operate. So we’re taking a close look at the cost of bait and other things we can control. And I may not be able to control the cost of diesel fuel, but I can control the commission I’m paying.

I did have some discussions with FishingBooker early on, and I flirted with the idea of increasing the commission to 20% when our listing was a little bit lower on the page. But I decided to stay at 10% and just work on delivering the best charter experiences that we could for our customers.

What do you feel is the biggest benefit you get out of being listed with FishingBooker? 

The biggest benefit is fairly simple. FishingBooker is really our primary marketing tool. So by investing the 10% with FishingBooker, I don’t have to invest as much in other forms of marketing. 

And it’s not just dollars, right? It’s also time. It takes a lot of time to, for example, go to hotels and hand out pamphlets, and I’ve got to pay to get the pamphlets printed. And you can start your own website, but you’re just not going to have the traffic that FishingBooker has. So it really boils down to FishingBooker providing the majority of our marketing horsepower.

In 2021, you received 200 booking requests from us, what percentage of your business do you get from FishingBooker now?

An angler holding a Barracuda aboard Rockstar.
A customer aboard Rockstar Charter Fishing, holding a Barracuda.

Right now, I would say we get 90 to 95 percent of our bookings from FishingBooker. Obviously, we do get direct calls as well, especially the longer we’ve been doing this and the more the people get to know us locally.

We started in California and then moved the business to Florida. FishingBooker made it really easy to do that. Even though we changed locations and the species of fish and whatnot, the transition was very seamless for us. And it worked very, very well. It took a little bit to get back up the rankings, but FishingBooker did a great job of helping show our customers that, hey, it’s still the same high-quality charter experience.

What about returning customers? Has being listed with us helped you increase how many customers return to fish with you?

Absolutely. We get a lot of repeat business and a lot of repeat bookings that go through FishingBooker. I think it’s a testament to trying to deliver the best charter product to the customer. If they have a good experience, they’re going to want to come back.

Another thing that happens is that not only do we get repeat business, we get referrals. I’ll get a lot of charters where the client will say “Yeah, my cousin or my friend or whoever fished with you, you guys did a nice job for him, so we came directly to you.” That happens on a regular basis.

So at what point did the bookings really start flowing in?

A customer aboard Rockstar back in California, posing with a Calico Bass he reeled in.
One of Capt. Dale’s customers back in California, posing with a Calico Bass.

Admittedly it takes a little bit of time. In California, Long Beach, we had a different, bigger boat. What you have to do if you’re going to list is make sure you have nice pictures on your listing that show the experience customers can expect.

You should also work with FishingBooker to try to get the best explanation of your trips so it excites the customers. And you should look at what your competition has listed – what pictures they have, what their descriptions are saying.

Finally, you gotta be cognizant of what your price point is. In our case, we’re not the cheapest, but there are reasons for it. We run offshore, we’re twin diesel-powered, and our boat has a full-size walk-in bathroom. So my point is – be cognizant of your competition’s price points and do your best to remain competitive yet profitable.

Is there anything else you’d consider to be an important element to your success on FishingBooker?

Absolutely. There are a couple of things…

Communication

A group of anglers posing with fish they caught aboard Rockstar.

We try to respond immediately to the customer’s request to book. Right now, we’re not using the Instant Book feature because it’s become sort of difficult to manage the schedule. My wife helps me run the business, so when we get a request from a customer to book, we check our calendar to make sure we’re open and that the weather looks decent. Then we accept the charter as quickly as we can because we don’t want to leave the customer hanging.

Next, we’ll immediately send the customer a message thanking them for booking with Rockstar Charter Fishing and telling them they’ll be receiving a text with more detailed information about their trips. We respond to them so that they know we’re actual people, right? So they have a level of comfort.

After that, we’ll send them another text that gives them a full explanation of where we’re located, what to do when they arrive at the marina, where to park, what we provide, and what they should bring.

The Expectations and the Experience

A group of customers Shark fishing aboard Rockstar Fishing Charters.

When the customer arrives, you want to make sure you greet them, bring them to the boat, and help them on board. We’ll give them a nice safety briefing, set the expectations for the trip, and make sure that everybody feels comfortable. 

Then we do the best damn job to catch them some fish. But you know, fishing’s fishing, it’s not always easy, so I’ll make sure to talk to them about the local area, make everyone feel welcome. We get a lot of people from outside Florida and outside the country so it’s a good opportunity for us to be ambassadors for the local area.

You just have to show the client that you’re trying your very best. I can’t ever think of a time we went out there and didn’t catch anything, but some days the fish are literally jumping in the boat and some days they’re harder to find. So you want to make sure they enjoy the entire experience. It’s not just about fishing, it’s about the entire experience of the expedition.

Getting Customers to Come Back

A pair of anglers swimming with a Goliath Grouper they reeled in.

If you do a nice job for customers and they’re happy, you might want to suggest trying a different kind of fishing if they come back. We get folks that want to see smaller fish to begin with. Then we’ll say “Hey, maybe next time we can go out a little bit further. You can go out for six hours instead of four. And we can fish for Grouper, Sharks, or anything you’d like.”

Most guys know this. You always have to be ready to have kids on board and folks that have never fished before. And you got to make sure that your involvement with the client is based upon their skillsets. 

So with somebody that’s never fished before, I’ll often help them hold the rod, help them understand what it feels like when the fish bites, and what to do. And then, once they feel comfortable, let them go on their own. Then they feel proud and they feel happy that they learned a new skill.

What else does FishingBooker provide?

An infographic illustrating a few things captains get when investing a commission on FishingBooker.

Capt. Dale has already mentioned marketing as the biggest benefit he gets out of being partnered with FishingBooker. However, if you’re new to the platform or considering making a listing, here’s a rundown of what you get when you join FishingBooker regardless of the commission percentage you choose:

  • Online advertising: A chance to tap into clientele you normally wouldn’t reach. Each new customer you get through FishingBooker is a potential returning customer for you.
  • Business management: A dedicated app full of tools to help you manage your calendar, your bookings, and to communicate with clients. Besides the app, our Customer Service team is available around the clock to assist you.
  • A chance to grow your online reputation: FishingBooker’s review system offers customers an easy way to find out just how great of a service you provide. And the reviews will be tied to your listing whether you change your boat or move to a different part of the country.
  • Keep track of your documents: We only work with fully legal charter captains and fishing guides. Once you’ve verified your listing with us for the first time, we’ll keep track of the expiration dates on your documents and send you a reminder before they expire. This way, you’ll always know when it’s time to renew your licenses.

High Commission: An Investment but Not a Requirement

We’ll mention it again, the commission does influence how high your listing shows up in the search results on our website. So playing around with the percentage you invest, especially early on, can be beneficial. However, many captains, including Capt. Dale, have managed to thrive without doing this. Instead, they took it slow, concentrated on providing great service for their customers, and ultimately built successful businesses. And you can too!

How did you like Capt. Dale’s advice? How do you ensure you’re reaching as many customers as possible? Let us know in the comments below!

The post How 10% Commission with FishingBooker Gets Me 200 Trips a Year appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Marko
Title: How 10% Commission with FishingBooker Gets Me 200 Trips a Year
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/how-10-percent-commission-gets-me-200-trips-a-year/
Published Date: Wed, 20 Jul 2022 10:28:10 +0000

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Outdoors

Fort Lauderdale Party Boat Fishing Guide

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Home to over 100 marinas and the largest yacht fleet in the world, Fort Lauderdale is all about living it up on the water. There are numerous ways to experience the “Venice of America.” For anglers, party boat fishing in Fort Lauderdale is a sure-fire way to meet people, have fun, and reel in some prized catch.

An aerial photo of Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Why hop on a party boat? Well, it’s an affordable way to fish these waters for those going solo or in a small group. This part of Florida offers some of the finest angling on the East Coast. On a shared charter, you’ll get to experience it in all its glory without stretching your budget.

So if you’d like to learn more about how all this works and what you can expect while party boat fishing in Fort Lauderdale, stick with us. We’ll cover the species you can catch, when to go, and how to prepare for your trip. When you’re ready, read on!

What to Expect When Fishing on a Party Boat

Party boats are designed to take big groups of people, whether on a fishing trip, a booze cruise, or any other kind of water activity. These boats are way bigger than your typical center console, averaging over 50 feet in length. Because of this, they’re generally capable of taking anywhere from 20 to 50 anglers fishing.

A photo of a party boat in the middle of a fishing tour near Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Fishing trips on this type of boat are normally shared. This means you’ll be booking a spot on the boat and sharing the adventure with other fellow anglers. If your group is large enough, you’ll usually have the option to book out the whole vessel. However, this only pays off if you’re planning a corporate outing or a similarly large event.

Aboard party boats, you can expect to find plenty of shade and seating. Most of the time, these vessels will feature plenty of amenities, including toilets, enclosed lounges, and even a bar where you can buy drinks and snacks. Also, you’ll usually either be provided with the fishing gear, or you’ll get the option to rent it on board.

An angler holding a rod aboard a party boat, with more fishing rods behind him.

Four and six hour fishing trips are the most popular options when it comes to party boat fishing in Fort Lauderdale. These will give you enough time to reel in some fish and have fun before moving on with your day. However, you’ll also see some charters offering longer shared trips, which will give you more time to chase after offshore trophies.

What fish are biting in Fort Lauderdale?

Compared to most other places, party boat fishing trips in Fort Lauderdale are kind of unique. Why? Because you can encounter pelagic fish within a few miles offshore when it’s their season. This means you don’t necessarily have to hop on a long trip to get a taste of what it’s like to fight some serious game. Of course, there’s no shortage of food fish either. Have a look at what you could hook into while fishing these waters…

Snapper

Whether you’re hopping on a party boat as a beginner or a seasoned angler, fishing for Snapper never gets old. There are several species of these fish lurking around Fort Lauderdale’s reefs and wrecks. Among others, these include Vermillion, Mutton, Yellowtail, and the famed Red Snapper.

An angler on a boat, holding a Mutton Snapper.

While Red is certainly the most prized type of Snapper, the truth is that all of them taste great.
So no matter which one you hook into, you can consider it a treat. You’ll usually find Snapper fairly close to shore, although bigger specimens start showing up once you move a few miles offshore.

Grouper

With taste to rival our previous entry and a fighting disposition that’s sure to get your adrenaline pumping, it’s easy to see why anglers love Grouper so much. Like Snapper, there are multiple Grouper species you’ll get to target while party boat fishing in Fort Lauderdale. Most often, these will be Red, Black, and Gag Grouper.

A group of anglers posing with a Black Grouper caught while party boat fishing in Fort Lauderdale.

Occasionally, you might even hook into a Goliath Grouper. These underwater giants will offer you a battle for the ages, however, you’ll most likely have to catch and release. No matter the species, Grouper like to hang out around underwater structure. Since all you need to do is drop the bait down to the bottom, even novice anglers can fish for them.

Mahi Mahi

This part of the East Coast is one of the few places out there where you can hook into pelagics on half day trips. Mahi Mahi is one such fish that you’ll sometimes get to target while fishing aboard a Fort Lauderdale party boat. Granted, you won’t see them every trip. But they often come within a couple of miles of shore during summertime, so you’re likely to get your chance then.

A man posing for a photo with a big Mahi Mahi he reeled in.

Besides their unique looks, Mahi Mahi are also among the fastest-growing fish in the ocean. This means hooking into big ones – or “Gaffers“, as they’re known – isn’t all that uncommon. You’ll usually find Mahi Mahi around floating grass or debris which attract them. Another telltale sign captains often keep an eye out for is birds congregating above water.

The best part about fishing for Mahi Mahi is that, even though they can get big, they’re still very beginner-friendly. The fight they put up is exciting but they’ll generally get tired before you do. Also, let’s not forget to mention that these fish make for excellent table fare no matter how you cook them.

Sailfish

Although you definitely can’t consider Sailfish to be a common catch on party boats in Fort Lauderdale, it’s certainly possible to reel one in! The reason why they make the list is because you can often encounter them within two or three miles of shore. This means there’s no need to travel far, you just have to get on the water when they’re passing through and get through.

A pair of anglers holding a big Sailfish that was caught while fishing in Fort Lauderdale.

Compared to the other fish we’ve mentioned so far, Sailfish are a whole different ball game in terms of difficulty. They’re one of, if not the, fastest fish in the ocean, clocking speeds exceeding 65 mph. Sailfish also have the acrobatics to match their quickness, and will often jump out of the water during the fight and put on a brilliant show.

Since Sailfish are such tremendous fighters, they’re a species more suitable for seasoned anglers to target. If you want to sharpen your skills before trying to catch one, we recommend going for smaller pelagic fish first.

And Many Others!

We’ve named two bottom fish and two pelagics so far but there are many other fish you’ll see while party boat fishing in Fort Lauderdale. Along the different reefs and wrecks, you’ll see species such as Amberjack, Barracuda, and Triggerfish, among others. If you see schools of Rays or Whale Sharks, you could also check if there are some Cobia following them.

Two fishermen on a boat, holding a big Amberjack.

As far as pelagics go, Blackfin Tuna and King Mackerel often swim a couple of miles offshore. This puts them in range of most party boats, giving you a chance to occasionally hook into some. So it’s all about what’s biting at the time of your trip.

When to Go Party Boat Fishing in Fort Lauderdale

This part of Florida’s east coast is a year-round fishery. As long as the weather is good, you’ll always be able to get out on the water and catch something. So if you’re wondering when you should take that fishing trip, the most correct answer would probably be as soon as you can.

Anglers lined up, fishing over the side of a party boat.

With this in mind, most species are subject to regulations, so your targets will vary over the course of a season. The Grouper season, for example, is closed between January and the end of April. However, winter and early spring are great if you’re aiming to catch a Sailfish.

The peak season starts around May and lasts until the end of August. This is when you’ll have the chance to reel in all kinds of bottom fish, as well as the likes of King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, Tuna, and more. Summer is also when the Red Snapper season opens, making it the best time to visit if you’re eager to put these fish in the cooler.

Of course, there’ll still be plenty of deep-dwelling fish to reel in even after summer passes. You’ll also see Mahi Mahi bite during fall. Finally, as the waters cool down and December rolls in, it’ll be Sailfish season once again.

Types of Party Boat Trips in Fort Lauderdale

We’ve already mentioned that half day fishing charters are what most anglers go for when booking a trip aboard a party boat. These usually last for four hours, making them suitable for all kinds of anglers, beginner to pro. On half day trips, you’ll often see families with kids, people learning how to fish, as well as tourists who want to get in on the local action on the boat with you.

A photo of the Flamingo party boat during a fishing trip in Fort Lauderdale.

Although half day trips may seem like the most basic option, there are various reefs, wrecks, and other spots close to Fort Lauderdale you can explore within four hours. Depending on what’s biting you might be bottom or drift fishing for Grouper, Snapper, Triggerfish, and Grunt. Or, you could do some trolling for Spanish and King Mackerel, Mahi Mahi, and even the rare Tuna.

If you opt for a longer, 3/4 day trip, you’ll just have more time to put fish in the cooler. Since you’ll be spending up to six hours on the water, you’ll have a better chance to see larger pelagics such as Wahoo and Sailfish. If not, you’ll still get to target all the fish we mentioned in the previous paragraph.

A man and a woman on a boat, holding a big Wahoo they caught.

Large party boats usually don’t offer shared full day trips. They can be tough to fill and not everyone can handle being on the water for eight or more hours. However, there are some captains in Fort Lauderdale that offer such adventures aboard their yachts or center consoles. These shared trips are usually limited to small groups and will give you the opportunity to go offshore and target big game species such as Marlin, Swordfish, Sailfish, Wahoo, and more.

How to Prepare for a Party Boat Fishing Trip

A group of anglers fishing on a party boat.

Before you’re ready to set out on your very own Fort Lauderdale party boat fishing trip, there are some things you should bring along. But since the boats already feature plenty of amenities, the list is pretty short. Take a look…

  • Sun protection. Even though there’ll be shade on the boat, protecting yourself from the Florida sun should be one of your main priorities. Lotion sunscreen is preferable on boats compared to spray so make sure to apply some before the trip and bring the bottle along.
  • Comfortable clothing. Another great way to shield yourself from the sun is to wear a breathable, long-sleeved shirt. Pair that with some shorts, rubber-soled shoes, a hat, and a pair of polarized sunglasses, and you’ll be set. It’s also a good idea to bring an extra shirt, just in case things get messy and you need it.
  • Snacks and drinks. Keeping your energy up and staying hydrated is extremely important when you’re fishing. So make sure to bring water or sports drinks and pack a few snacks to tie you over. Sometimes the boat might sell these, saving you the trouble of remembering to pack them.
  • Motion sickness medication. Since you won’t be going very far offshore, seasickness is not a huge issue on Fort Lauderdale party boats. However, if you’re not sure you can handle the open waters, it’s still wise to take it. Remember, party boats normally won’t turn around if someone gets seasick while you’re on the water.
  • A small cooler and some cash. Once you’re done reeling in all that fish, you’ll need a cooler to transport it home. Also, there’ll be a deckhand, or several, on board helping you throughout the trip. For their efforts, it’s customary to leave a cash tip.

Party Boat Fishing in Fort Lauderdale: An Adventure That Fits the Budget

A photo of Fort Lauderdale at sunset with several docked yachts visible.

If you’re looking to get a taste of what it’s like to fish in Fort Lauderdale without breaking the bank, party boats are your ticket to reeling in all kinds of fish. Sharks, reef dwellers, or pelagics – whatever you choose to hunt, it’s all within the realm of possibility out here. The potential these waters hold is almost unmatched, and the only missing ingredient for an adventure is you.

Have you ever fished aboard a party boat in Fort Lauderdale? Which fish species would you like to catch? Hit the comments below and let us know!

The post Party Boat Fishing in Fort Lauderdale: A Handy Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

 

By: Marko
Title: Party Boat Fishing in Fort Lauderdale: A Handy Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/fort-lauderdale-party-boat-fishing/
Published Date: Fri, 29 Jul 2022 12:01:00 +0000

 

Did you miss our previous article…
https://www.mansbrand.com/8-top-spots-floridas-fall-snook-opener/

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Outdoors

8 Top Spots Florida’s Fall Snook Opener

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Fishing for Snook is a way of life in Florida. This species is one of the all-time favorites of inshore anglers, and it only makes sense, considering what they have to offer. Snook are outstanding fighters and they’re delicious, which is a winning combo in any game fish. These qualities mean that they get targeted a lot. But to leverage that, there are two yearly closures to ensure their population stays strong. While closures are necessary, Snook season openers are a reason to rejoice – and now, one is upon us.

A close-up of a Snook fish being held outside the water

The Snook season will reopen on September 1, and it’s a big deal for Floridians. Up until then, these tropical beauties are strictly catch and release. But, after the season opens, anglers are allowed to keep one per day! This means you get to keep your trophy catch and turn it into a tasty dinner. No wonder the Snook opener is practically considered a public holiday. 

So where do you go to catch yourself a nice Snook? Keep reading and we’ll share some of the most productive Snook fisheries to explore.

Best Fishing Spots for This Fall’s Snook Opener

Port Canaveral

We’ll start our tour on the Space Coast. Port Canaveral is a known fishing hub, and Snook is one of the leading catches, here. The main reasons for this are the sheer variety of places where you can target them, as well as the size the fish reach in these waters. The proximity of the prolific Sebastian Inlet doesn’t hurt either.

An aerial view of Port Canaveral

As September rolls around, you’ll see Snook chasers all over Port Canaveral and further south, around the inlet. The reason is that the fish come closer to the shore, so they’re even more accessible. You can go after them right from the beach, which is one of the main upsides that draws anglers in. There’s also a lot of Snook in and around the Indian River, so not only have you got a chance of landing a big one, but you can also take your pick of fishing grounds.

Port Canaveral is easy on the eyes. Whether you come for the stunning beaches or you’d like to explore NASA’s hometown, you’re in the right place. Hang out with manatees in their sanctuary, then spend the afternoon surfing. If you’re a bird lover, don’t miss the Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge. Mix in warm late summer days, lounging on the beach, soaking in the sunset, and you’ve got yourself a vacation.

Vero Beach

In our exploration of the best spots for the fall Snook opener in Florida, we move further down the east coast to Vero Beach. If you’re looking for a place where you can be laid back and add some good fishing into the mix, this is it. There are many fish to catch here, but Snook is a summer and fall favorite.

An aerial view of Vero Beach, Florida

What makes Vero Beach one of the best Snook fishing spots this time of year? For starters, early fall is the best time to go after Snook in these parts. As bait fish comes closer to land, the big fish religiously follow their food, which is exactly what you want. Then you’ve got the Chamber Canal, which boasts excellent action, especially for trophy fish lovers. Of course, the Indian River lagoon is always at your disposal. You can also explore the many jetties that serve as Snook congregation spots and even go kayak fishing around the mangroves.

The appeal of Vero Beach lies in the fact that your stay here can be as active as you’d like. You can get some sunshine on one of the beaches and combine it with Snook beach fishing. After that, you can visit local museums or head to the nearby chocolate factory with your family. Outdoor enthusiasts will love the Archie Carr National Wildlife Refuge, while Jaycee Park is the perfect place for a picnic at the end of another relaxing day in Vero Beach.

Jupiter

We’re not talking about going to another planet to find good fishing. Jupiter is a beautiful beachfront town on the Treasure Coast that offers a lot of strong Snook action. Come in time for the Snook opener and you’ll see firsthand just how much of a fighter these tackle-busters can be.

An aerial view of Jupiter, Florida

Jupiter Inlet is the main reason Snook love to hang around the town. The place where the Loxahatchee River meets the ocean is a fishing epicenter. Big Snook come here to feed and spawn, and they stick around all through the summer and the fall. There’s even a “Jupiter rig” specially made for Snook fishing, that’s how good the action is. Night fishing is particularly strong because Snook are ambush predators. They get more reckless under the cover of darkness and they’ll attack your setup with wild abandon. 

When you’ve had your share of fun on the water, Jupiter has a variety of activities for you to try. This is a great family vacation spot for people who love animals and nature. In the Loggerhead Marinelife Center, you can check out the aquarium and hang out with sea turtles. Beaches are always at your disposal, and thrill seekers can even go swimming with Sharks. Whatever your taste for adventure is, chances are, Jupiter can accommodate.

Dania Beach

As we travel further south, we can’t sidestep Dania Beach – aka Broward County’s First City. Dania Beach is one of the hidden gems on our list of best spots for the fall Snook opener, and the fishing potential here is off the charts.

A sunset behind Dania Beach Pier from the beach

If you prefer to fish from land and don’t want to hassle with boats, Dania Beach will meet your angling needs. The local fishing pier is 900 feet long, jutting into the ocean, and ideally situated for memorable fishing moments. Here, feisty Snook venture into shallow waters looking for food. This makes them easier to spot and target from the pier, especially in the fall months. You might be surrounded by fellow anglers, but don’t worry, on Dania Beach Pier, there’s plenty of Snook for everyone.

While this sunny locale can often fall under the radar, Dania Beach is well worth your attention. Its beaches are clean, accessible, and simply beautiful – so much so that they’ve been awarded for it. You can easily spend a day in the Secret Woods Nature Center, walking trails and drinking in nature in all its splendor. Antique lovers will get lost in the Antique and Arts District, and you can round up the day with a beer tasting in a nearby brewing company.

The Everglades

There’s no talking about the Florida Snook opener without mentioning the Everglades. Now, we know that Everglades is huge and it would take years to explore it all, but don’t let that overwhelm you. You can access the park’s rich waters from different sides (Naples, the Keys, Islamorada, Everglades City…) and you better believe it will be worth the trip.

A bird taking flight in the Everglades

The Everglades is probably the best spot in the Sunshine State to look for monster Snook (also called Leviathan Snook). Since this is a tropical species, the park’s ecosystem and water temperature are the perfect home for Snook year-round. Some of the best fishing grounds to check out in the fall are Whitewater Bay and Ten Thousand Islands. These wetlands and mangrove-stacked shorelines are teeming with Snook of all sizes. You can go fishing with a guide or set out on your own with a kayak, it’s up to you.

If you’re craving some peace and quiet that can only be found in nature, the Everglades is the destination for you. No matter how much time you have, there’s something for you to discover and admire. You can spend days hiking trails like Gator Hook Trail or bike through the Shark Valley. Stargazers should venture into the Big Cypress National Preserve from where you can see the most beautiful night skies.

Sanibel

We’re now officially moving to Florida’s Gulf Coast, and Sanibel is our first stop. Located on its namesake island, Sanibel offers great access to a variety of Snook fishing grounds. This is the main reason it’s on our list of the best spots for the fall Snook opener. The fish you get here might not be the biggest on record, but that’s ok. What Sanibel Snook sometimes lack in size, they make up for in numbers.

An aerial view of Sanibel in Florida

Sanibel has over 20 miles of gorgeous coast rimmed with mangroves and grassy flats – the perfect Snook habitat. This is where young fish come to eat and grow, and where fishing flourishes pretty much year-round. With the coming of the fall, the inshore waters become clearer, and you can chase Snook around mangroves, flats, and passes. Backcountry fishing is the name of the game as temperatures drop, and the game is good.

From what you’ve read, you can probably guess that Sanibel is almost like an oasis. This is a small island away from the everyday bustle, where you can take a beat and enjoy yourself. There’s no need to rush. Take things at your own pace – Sanibel is good like that. Walk around the Botanical Gardens, hike the Bailey Tract, or make the most of your afternoon sun-gazing and collecting shells on Blind Pass Beach.

Gasparilla Island

For a lot of people, Gasparilla Island might be synonymous with the Boca Grande and incredible Tarpon fishing. While that’s absolutely true, Snook have earned their place on the must-catch list of local and visiting fishermen. This barrier island is surrounded by fantastic fishing waters and the Snook here aren’t shy. They’ll fight you stubbornly for every inch of your line!

Boca Grande Lighthouse on Gasparilla Island with a beach in the foreground

So where do you go to find Snook? Well, you can’t really go wrong. Gasparilla Sound is a good starting point because a lot of mid-sized and big fish congregate around the channels. Gasparilla Pass is just as good – a lot of Snook come through here in the fall on their way back to the shallow waters. And the Boca Grande Pass is just as productive. Finally, surf fishing for Snook is a treat. The bite is almost constant around underwater structures and when there’s a lot of bait fish in the surf.

As for things you can do around Gasparilla Island, well, the sky’s the limit. You can spend your days on the beach and check out the many shops in Boca Grande. For a more active vacation, try your hand at water sports like kayaking and paddle boarding. You can also visit the Cayo Costa State Park, which is small, secluded, and as close to paradise as you can imagine.

Venice

When a city is located next to a “Snook Alley,” you don’t need to think hard about what you should target. Venice is the final stop on our list, but that doesn’t make it any less important. On the contrary, the waters of Venice Inlet are among the favorite playgrounds for Snook and anglers alike.

A view from the water of Snook Alley in Venice, Florida

There’s no better place to go after Venice Snook than the famous Snook Alley. Huge numbers of these fight-ready fish live along this section of the Intracoastal Waterway. The action is on every day of the year, and night fishing is some of the best you’ll find in Florida. Having a Snook do their acrobatics while you try to land them in the dark is a special kind of adventure. Fly fishing can also give excellent results if you’re into trying something new.

When you’re not battling Snook, Venice will provide you with everything you need for an enjoyable vacation. Lose yourself in the beauty and architecture of the city’s downtown or stroll down the fishing pier against a fabulous sunset. Take some time and go to the lovely Caspersen Beach or dedicate a day to hiking in the Oscar Scherer State Park. If you’re up for exploring nearby cities, Tampa and Sarasota are just a stone’s throw away.

Florida Snook Opener – Exciting Times Ahead!

The Snook opener is upon us and, while there are many many great destinations to target them in the Sunshine State, these eight are the best of the best. All that’s left to do is pick your favorite spot, get your gear at the ready, and hit the water for battle. Happy Snooking!

What do you think about our choice of spots? Did we miss something? Do you have a favorite that’s maybe not on the list? Let us know in the comments below.

The post 8 Top Spots for Florida’s Fall Snook Opener appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Andriana
Title: 8 Top Spots for Florida’s Fall Snook Opener
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/fall-snook-opener-florida/
Published Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2022 13:35:00 +0000

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How to store your boat: A complete guide

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We’d all love to be out on the water 365 days a year. But unless you live somewhere tropical, that’s not possible. Most captains around the world are forced to take a break during the off-season, and part of that includes storing your boat. Other charter operators have to store their boats between trips, too. In fact, this can be one of the most important aspects of making sure your business runs smoothly. 

A view across a marina with boats in the water either side and a boat storage unit full of boats in the background

That’s why we decided to help you out. We’re here today to let you know all about the best ways to store your boat. Whether for a few months or just a few days, we’ve got you covered. We’ll take you through storage options, tips for maintaining your boat, and much more. So without further ado, let’s get started!

Where to Store Your Boat

Choosing how and where to store your boat is the first thing you need to decide on. Some smaller boats may be suitable for storing on a trailer, and even bigger ones if you have the space. But a lot of the time, you don’t want to lose time lugging your vessel to and from storage. Some captains keep their boat in the water, some in private storage, and some pay to have it taken care of. We’ll go through the pros and cons of these options below.

In the Water

We’ll start with the easiest option – keeping your boat in the water. This is often the preferred option for larger vessels, and for those captains who have a marina spot secured year-round. But it’s also convenient no matter what size boat you have. Why? Well, you won’t lose any time hauling your boat to and from the dock or storage facility. In fact, you can even use your boat to hang out even if you’re not going out fishing!

Boats in a dock covered with blue and white covers on a sunny winter's day

Despite this, there are obvious downsides to storing your boat in the water – especially if you live in an area that’s prone to extreme weather conditions. Exposure to rain, wind, and even UV lighting is harmful to your boat, meaning more maintenance when you get back up to full speed. Don’t forget, you’ll also have to clean up any algae, barnacles, and even bird droppings if you leave it out in the water. 

Also, if you’re planning on leaving your boat untouched for a while, you’ll want to make sure the marina is secure, Even then, safety measures won’t be as tight as in storage facilities. But more on that later. 

On a Slip Lift

Thankfully, to protect against some of the wildlife that can cling to your boat, slip lifts can be very convenient. These get your boat out of the water but are still in the marina in a convenient location to get back out when the time allows. Indeed, some marinas even have their own slip lifts for you to use. This means you can just rent them out and take advantage right away.

An offshore sportfishing boat is lifted out of the water with a slip lift in the marina

On the flip side, you’ll have to factor in the cost, no matter if you’re using your own or a marina’s slip lift. Be warned, they don’t come cheap. Installing one yourself can also take some work! You should also be aware that, in areas with high winds, slip lifts may not be the best solution for storing your boat. Read on to find out some more suitable options. 

Outdoors (Off the Water)

As we mentioned earlier, many captains like to store their boats at home. Sure, if you have a large driveway, there’s nothing stopping you. But that’s not the only option, There are also open-air self-storage facilities, similar to parking lots for boats. Both options are solid, with you being able to keep an eye on the boat yourself at home, while someone else will do it in storage. You can also usually be able to get it back on the water when you please.

A group of boats covered and out of the water covered by snow

If you settle on either of these options, we suggest you take considerable effort to cover your boat. This protects against the weather conditions, as we’ve mentioned above, but also can help protect against burglars or wild animals such as rodents and raccoons that can make themselves at home in parking lots. Still, leaving your boat out in the open air will always carry some risk. And you’ll still spend some time and effort moving the boat to and from the water. 

Indoors

The way to protect against all the issues mentioned above is to keep your boat indoors when you’re not fishing. Of course, if you have a garage big enough, there’s no reason you can’t keep it in there. Although we’re sure you might need to do some work to persuade the rest of the family! Otherwise, there are covered boat storages that can protect your boat from the elements and wildlife, too. But these come with a hefty price tag. 

A house with two large garages, one of which has a boat inside

There are self-storage facilities and dry-stacked options all across the country, and both offer the same protection as a garage. While we don’t need to repeat that they aren’t the easiest to reach from the water, safety comes with a price. And there are other considerations, too. 

Dry-stacked storage, for example, sometimes limits the number of times you can visit your boat or take it out of storage. It can also get busy if you’re putting it in and taking it out when everyone else has the same idea. That means you may have to wait to retrieve your boat. As for self-storage facilities, these are the most expensive of all the options above. And spaces are at a premium. If you find one, great, but they may not always be available. 

Tips for Storing Your Boat

Now you have an idea of where you’re going to store your boat, let’s get down to some of the finer details that will help keep your boat safe when you’re not fishing. We’ll start with some universal tips for pretty much every time you take your boat out of the water. If you’re interested in a comprehensive guide to boat maintenance, check out this article

A man cleans a boat with a power jet
  • Rinse your boat. This is especially important for saltwater vessels. Wash it down with freshwater and a light dash of soap. It can be just as important on freshwater boats to get rid of algae, barnacles, or any dirt, too. 
  • Inspect the vessel. The last thing you want when you get back out on the water is to find a dangerous fault with the boat. You should see to any small cracks right away. Check for damage on the body of the boat, along with ropes, decks, hooks, and wires to make sure nothing is leaking or damaged. And don’t forget the engine!
  • Flush the engine. Speaking of your motor, you’ll want to make sure it’s clean when putting the boat away. Flushing it with a chemical solution to get rid of any sludge or gunk is a must. Drain the chemicals back out before replacing the oil, and siphon out any gas if you’re likely to be out of action for a while. 
  • Cover the boat. We’ve mentioned uncovered storage solutions, but there’s no need for your boat to be completely naked. Even a light cover to protect against UV rays and bird droppings is vital, no matter how long you’ll have the boat out of the water.

In addition to all of the above, there’s more to consider when storing your boat for a longer period. This is especially true during winter or any time of year when the weather conditions can get rough. 

A shirtless man in the water dries a boat that's been lifted out of the water
  • Dry your boat. After giving your boat a wash, you’ll also want to thoroughly dry it. This protects against dampness, in case your storage isn’t dry enough. (We do suggest picking a dry spot, much as for fishing gear). This is also important to protect against ice damage too if you’re living in colder climates. 
  • Use antifreeze through your water systems. If your boat is likely to be exposed to colder conditions, run some antifreeze through your water systems. This will protect them from freezing and further damaging your boat. 
  • Charge and test your battery regularly. This is vital if you’re likely to be out of the water for a considerable period of time. Take it out of the motor and charge it early on. Then, we suggest testing it at least once a month to make sure everything is still in order. 

One other thing is a must if you’re keeping your boat on a trailer, and that’s to make sure your tires are fully pumped. The last thing you want is to have to try and get some air into those tires when the boat is already on top!

Storing Your Boat: Because She’s Worth It!

Sportfishing boats pack the marina in Los Sueños, Costa Rica, with mountains in the background

This concludes our guide on how best to store your boat. Of course, there’s a whole load of other factors to take into account, depending on your local conditions. And, as we’ve said plenty of times above, how long you want to keep the boat inactive. But with these general tips, you’re already on the right track to keeping your boat healthy. That means a better fishing performance for more time. She really is worth the effort!

And now over to you. What are your best tips on how to store your boat? Anything you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

The post How to Store Your Boat: A Complete Guide appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Rhys
Title: How to Store Your Boat: A Complete Guide
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/how-to-store-your-boat/
Published Date: Tue, 26 Jul 2022 11:15:00 +0000

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