What Is The Difference Between A Fishing Guide And A Fishing Charter?

A common question many people have is, “what is the difference between a fishing guide and a fishing charter.” For the new angler or someone who isn’t well versed in the fishing vocabulary, the words might sound like they are describing the same thing. While there are some similarities, there are some subtle differences between the two.

Or perhaps if you’re looking to go fishing but don’t have your own boat or equipment.

Either way, you have two main options – hiring a fishing guide or booking a fishing charter.

So what exactly is the difference between the two? While both will get you out on the water fishing, there are some key distinctions that can help you decide which is the better choice for your needs and preferences.

So let’s break them down…

A fishing guide is an individual angler who will personally take you out fishing, usually just you and whoever is in your immediate party. In most instances it’s usually up to 6 people because of federal laws. There are some exceptions based on the license the guide holds.

Guides provide the fishing expertise and handle all the equipment, while also serving as your captain and taking you to the best spots.

Some key benefits of hiring a guide include:

  • Personalized attention – It’s just you and the guide, so they can cater the trip specifically to your skill level and interests. Good for beginners who want to learn.
  • Local expertise – Guides know the local waters intimately and where the fish are biting. They can put you on fish.
  • Gear provided – No need to have your own rods, reels, tackle, etc. The guide supplies it all.
  • Flexible schedule – Guides can often be booked on shorter notice and for whatever timeslots work for you. Half-day or full-day trips are common.

Some potential downsides are that it’s often more expensive per person compared to a charter and you may not cover as much territory in the day.

A fishing charter, on the other hand, involves booking passage on a larger fishing boat that takes groups of anglers out together.

Some key differences of a fishing charter:

  • Group experience – You’ll be fishing alongside other people, which can be fun and social if you enjoy company but less individual attention.
  • Offshore access – Charters are often larger boats that can access offshore fishing spots you couldn’t reach with an independent guide.
  • All equipment included – Everything you need will be provided on board the boat. Just show up.
  • Economies of scale – The per person cost is usually less than hiring a private fishing guide.
  • Set schedule – Charters have set departure times and trip durations, usually full-day or half-day options. Less flexible.

Some potential drawbacks are that you may not get to control where you go or fish if others have different ideas. And availability is limited to set charter schedules.

In summary, the difference between fishing guides and fishing charters is that fishing guides offer a more customizable and private experience while fishing charters are a more affordable and social group option for accessing offshore fisheries.

How do you choose which one?

Consider your budget, preferences for individual or group trips, and where you want to fish when choosing between the two excellent ways to reel in the big catch on your next fishing adventure!

If you want a further breakdown of how to choose the best fishing guide and know what questions to ask them, then you’ll want to check out this article.

Want an even greater experience on your trip? Download our app, FishFin, and view photos and videos of other anglers sharing their experiences on the water.

It’s free to set up an account, find and book guides, buy fishing gear, and MUCH more!

Click here to download now!

Mike Friend CMO for FishFin and blogger at VetTravelAndRec.com for veterans and travel