To have A Great Fishing Trip Be Sure You Ask The Right Questions

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Let me introduce myself, I am Captain Bill Van Wormer, I have been guiding fisherman on Lake Ontario since 1987 and over the years I have heard many stories about clients who booked fishing trips that didn’t live up to their expectations. I am going to share with you what you need to ask before you book your trip.

If you have any questions or you want to reserve a date to go fishing with me send me a email or give me a call at (315)402-9556


Lucky Dutchman II's Captain Bill

Captain Bill of Lucky Dutchman Charters

1. Is the Captained licensed by the US Cost Guard? How long has he had his license and how much experience do he have fishing on their chosen body of water both professionally and before they started chartering. Does he fish full time or only on weekends. Before you book you need to be comfortable with your captain and crew. There are a lot of good young captains that haven’t been a captain for very long but they have been fishing for most of their lives. To be a good captain they have to be a people person and they also need to have a love of fishing. If you like the answers that you received about the captain’s competency then the next thing you need to know about is the boat.

2. Ask about the boat. What size is the boat? Does it have an enclosed head (rest room). Does the boat have liability insurance and does it have the required safety equipment to be in Coast Guard compliance? You also should ask if it has all the necessary electronic equipment to catch fish such as Fish Finders, Speed indicators, Global Positioning System. If you only have a couple of people in your party then a 22 to 24 foot long boat should accommodate your party, but if you have a larger party then you might want to look for a boat that is more in the 26 to 30 foot long range.
3. How long will the trip last? Some captains sell their trips by the number of hours such as 4 hours, 6 hours, 8 hours or more and some captains sell full or half day trips with a full day usually being 8 hours and a half day being 5 to 6 hours. Some trips are from dock to dock and some are fishing hours. You need to know which it is, dock to dock or fishing hours before you book your trip.
4. What about catch and release? Some captains will do catch and release and with some captains it is your limit of fish or your hours which ever comes first. It is nice to know what the policy is before you land your limit in the first few hours on a eight or nine hour trip will you have to quit, or will you get to catch and release, or can you fish for something else till your time runs out.
5. How many people can go on the fishing trip? Most all of the charter fishing captains on the great lakes have what is know as a six pack license and with that license we can carry six passengers for hire. It doesn’t matter if you are fishing or just along for the ride we are limited to six passengers on the boat. Usually most fishing charters are priced from one to four anglers and most captains charge extra for any additional passengers over four. But their are captains that don’t charge for the extra people, ask what the policy is.
6. Can I bring along my favorite rod and reel to fish with? Generally the charter boat provides all of the rods reels and tackle you need to catch fish and usually because of the high demands that trolling on the great lakes places on tackle it is better to use the tackle the captain provides.
7. Are children welcome on the tip? Some Captains are family friendly and some are not, so be sure to ask first. In New York all children under the age of twelve must wear a life jacket whenever they are on the open deck. If you have children under the age of twelve it is best to bring your own children life jackets. Because the commercial off shore life jackets that the Coast Guard requires that charter boats carry are not very comfortable.
8. Do you need a New York State fishing license? All anglers over the age of sixteen must have a New York state license. Licenses they can be purchased at Walmart stores, most sporting good stores, on line at or by phone at 1(866)933-2257
9. Ask if there is a mate on board? and if you will be involved in the fishing or will you just crank the fish in after it’s hooked. When there is a mate he or the captain steers the boat and the other one usually does the rigging. But it is always more fun if you are allowed to help out when you can.
10. What should we bring with us? You should have a New York state license, clothes that match the weather, rain gear, a hat, sunblock, sunglasses, water, and lunch. All beverages should be in cans as glass bottles can be a hazard on a boat.