This page is to help you narrow down your options while choosing a fishing guide at St. Simons Island or Jekyll Island.
There are a few things that you need to decide when choosing a fishing charter and the task can be a bit intimidating, especially if you have never booked a guide before. Some things to consider are;
- What do you want to catch?
- How long do you want to go out?
- How many people are in your group?
- How much does it cost?
- How far in advance should I book?
- Is my guide capable and does he understand what I want to do?
- Do I want to catch fish that I can eat or am I mostly concerned with having a great experience?
There are two pages on this website that are more than likely going to help you figure out the answers to these questions.
For general information click here.
For Frequently Asked Questions, click here.
I will also try to provide you answers below.
What do you want to catch?
This question is probably one of the toughest ones you have, but it shouldn’t be. The short answer is that you should target whatever is best at the time of your trip. I know that sounds simple, but sometimes what is hot at the time isn’t something that you are interested in. Some fish are available nearly all year long while others are seasonal. That is why I recommend booking a “best bite” trip. As your fishing guide, I will target the most appropriate species according to your goals. If you are wondering what type of fish you might encounter while you are here, I recommend clicking here and reading my blog post about the most commonly targeted fish for each month.
How long do you want to go out?
This is an easy one. I do a 4, 6, and 8 hour trip as well as a 2 or 3 hour kids trip.
If you book a 4 hour trip you are giving me just enough time to hit a couple of spots. If it works out and the fish are in the first couple of places we stop I look like a hero and everyone is happy. However, if the fish aren’t cooperating, I don’t have much time to switch gears and try something different. Some trips, like shark fishing trips, are easily done in 4 hours. If I feel like you can get your goals accomplished on a short trip I will definitely let you know.
6 hour trips are my favorite. It gives me enough time to adapt if needed, but it isn’t such a long day that you get burned out. For $100 more you just can’t beat it. I highly recommend a 6 hour trip if you are serious about catching some fish.
8 hour trips are mostly for hardcore fishermen (and fisher-women!) but they give you the absolute best chance of catching a lot of fish. With 8 hours I am not limited by distance or time and if I need to run 30 miles to get to the best fishing I know I can do that without wasting too much valuable fishing time.
2 and 3 hour kids trips are designed to get the little ones out there and keep them busy reeling in fish. Younger kids may not have the attention span to stay out for 4 or 6 hours and that is why I offer these short trips just for them.
How many people are in your group?
This is a common issue when folks call me to see about booking a fishing trip. Here on the island, we don’t really do big parties all on one boat. The party boat concept just doesn’t lend itself to the type of fishing that is available here.
Also, due to Coast Guard licensing, most fishing guides here are only able to cover up to 6 paying customers.
I try to keep my groups to 4 people or less. Sometimes I can push it to 5 or 6 people if we are doing a kids trip or shark fishing, but if what we are going to do involves a lot of casting, it is best to keep your group down to 4 or less. If you have a larger group I can always tap into my fellow guides in the area and use multiple boats to make sure everyone gets out.
The bottom line is that the smaller your group is, the more options we will have. Of course, I will advise you at the time of booking as to what the best options are according to the size of your group.
How much does it cost?
The prices below cover 1 to 2 anglers. For additional anglers add $50 each. Please note that it is best to keep your group to 4 people or less in most cases. There are exceptions when as many as 6 anglers is OK such as Shark fishing, Bull Red fishing, and Kids trips.
4 hours: $550
6 hours: $750
8 hours: $1000
Kids trip pricing covers the first 2 anglers. Add $25 for each additional angler. Maximum of 6 anglers total.
2 hours: $350
3 hours: $425
The prices above include all rods, reels, tackle, bait, ice, bottled water, fishing cleaning, and licenses. You really only need to bring your food and anything you want to drink besides water. If you plan to keep take fish home with you, it is a good idea to leave a cooler in your vehicle to transport your fish in. We’ll have a cooler in the boat for you to put any food or drinks in. If you prefer to bring your own cooler, it’s best to bring a small one in order to save room in the boat. It’s probably best to just bring anything that you want to keep cold in a bag and transfer it to our cooler.
How far in advance should I book?
This depends on a couple of different things. One, is what time of year you are coming, and the second is how flexible your schedule is.
If you are planning to come down for Spring Break or summer vacation you should consider booking at least a month ahead. From late March through Labor Day weekend I am typically booked every day, so the sooner you book, the better chance you have of getting the day that you want.
If your schedule is flexible, you may be able to get a day on short notice. If you only have one or two days that you can make it out, you should consider booking well in advance. There are, of course, times that you can book one day in advance and I will be available, but I wouldn’t risk it as this usually only happens in the winter season or when there is a last minute cancellation.
To give you an idea, as I write this it is mid February, and the first 2 and a half weeks of April are booked with the exception of 2 days. I can do multiple trips per day if my first trip is a half day, so most people that call for early April will only be able to book afternoon trips more than likely.
Is my guide capable, and does he understand what I want to do?
This is a big one. There are some excellent guides here and most truly want to do a good job. The problem is that we are not all the same. Some are great fly fishermen, while others focus on deep sea fishing. Some, like myself, offer broader choices while others only do one type of fishing.
What’s important is that you find someone that can offer what you want and has the boat and equipment to get it done. I am not an offshore guy. I do venture offshore from time to time when the weather allows and there is a reason to go, but I focus on fishing within 15 miles of land and in the inshore waters. There are other guides that focus on offshore, but rather not fish inshore.
Some ways to make sure your guide can deliver what you want is to make your goals very clear. You don’t have to know exactly what you want to catch, but it helps if you can explain the experience that you want to have. Some ways to do this are to tell him things like;
“I want to catch big fish and I am not concerned with catching anything small.”
“I want to catch fish that I can eat.”
“I want to catch (insert species), is that a viable option right now?”
“I can’t handle rough water, can we fish inshore?”
“I want to sight fish.”
If he can give you an answer that satisfies your goal, you are probably good to go. Most guides don’t want to disappoint anyone so they shouldn’t offer to do something that they can’t do successfully. The more information you give us, the better we can serve you.
Do I want to catch fish that I can eat, or am I mostly concerned with having a great experience?
*************** I’m sorry that I have to add this section to this page, but due to recent events, I’ll be very specific about our stance on Redfish harvest. I must point out that we are advocates of conservation and the health of our fishery comes before anything else. Sometimes state and federal regulations allow the harvest of certain species even when that species is clearly not as healthy as it should be. For about 5 years now, we have not allowed the harvest of Redfish. While we can still catch Redfish in certain spots, we used to catch them in sizes ranging from 10 inches to 30 inches by pure accident while targeting other species. Now we have to specifically target them and the diversity in size is not what it once was. We do not have a hard and fast policy on any other species but we are not out to fill a cooler. Somewhere around a “meal or two” is enough and we have no intention of keeping 60 Trout or 200 Whiting. Although that would be perfectly legal, it’s probably not ethical. The captain has the final say in what is harvested and if you have any questions you should ask them before your trip.*****************
This ties into the last point. I find that most customers fall into one of two categories; fish to eat, or fish for an awesome experience.
Can you have both? Sure! Some people however, want to catch fish that they can eat so badly that they will ignore awesome opportunities to catch non edible fish.
In 2013 I had a group that wanted to catch fish that they could eat. We were catching some Trout and Mangrove Snapper and while we were moving from one spot to another we came across a school of 100 pound+ Tarpon that were feeding aggressively on a school of bait fish. I stopped to take a look and asked them if they were ready to catch a huge fish. They asked if Tarpon were edible and after finding out they weren’t, decided they would pass so they could catch more edible fish.
I was floored. People travel the world for an opportunity to catch Tarpon and we had them right in front of us in a full blown frenzy and didn’t even make a cast. This is a perfect example of a day that we could have done “a little of both”. They already had some fish for dinner, they could have thrown an experience of a lifetime in the mix too! My guess is that they don’t even remember that meal, but if they had taken a few minutes to hook up with a Tarpon, they would have never forgotten it.
The choice is yours. We can make either option our primary focus, but sometimes hunting for meat isn’t as much fun as catching a few fish that you will never forget. I always like to keep our options open if possible. If something cool is happening at the time, you can believe I will be ready to take advantage of it. However, if you care nothing about catching something extraordinary and rather put meat in the cooler, we can do that.
With all of that being said…
Please feel free to look around the site, read some old fishing reports, and check out the About Me page. There should be more than enough information on this site to help you at least get an idea of what you want to do.
Once again, for detailed information about each type of trip you can visit the general information page by clicking here.
And for Frequently Asked Questions click here.
I hope that we get to fish together soon, and for many years to come.