Fishing charter Homer, Alaska, can mean a lot of different things depending on who you choose to hire. To insure that you end up getting the trip you desire, we advise you to ask each potential charter a series of questions to make sure that your wants and needs will be met.
1) What boat will I be fishing on and how fast does it travel?
This is a really important consideration, since boats that head south from Homer in search of lingcod, rockfish, halibut and salmon have a significant run to make before reaching fish. The faster the boat, the more time you will have on the fishing grounds, and the further the boat can travel over the same amount of time (compared to a slower boat). This allows the charter to access waters further from port which often results in better-quality fish. Additionally, some consideration needs to be taken to the make of the boat you will fishing upon.
Shorter boats with narrower beams offer less fishing space, and it can get crowded and harder to avoid tangling lines on a smaller deck. Additionally, not every boat rides the same, and getting slammed around on big waves isn’t fun for anyone. At Big Dan’s, we’ve got some of the finest, fastest, most-stable boats in the Homer fleet and we seek to exceed your expectations.
2) What gear will I be using and how will we fish it?
Quality fishing gear makes a big difference in enjoyment levels when fighting fish, and generally will result in more fish being caught. Ask each charter what type of rods and reels they use, and the techniques that will be employed to target fish. If you are looking to jig for halibut on your fishing charter, Homer charters that only offer soaking bait should be off your list. Finding out what type of gear being used speaks clearly about how the charter operates. High-quality equipment is needed for reliable success in Alaska, where fish make a mockery of inferior products. At Big Dan’s, we use quality rods make by Rainshadow and high-end reels by Avet.
3) What fish will we target and how long is the charter?
Not all fishing charter, Homer based businesses are equal. Making the assumption that all charters target the same species, catch the same quality fish, and stay out for the same amount of time at sea, may give you some heartburn. First, you’ll need to be certain that a charter will attempt to target all the species you want to catch.
Second, you’ll have to gauge how effective you think the charter will be, because there are a finite number of hours in a charter trip. If a boat struggles to find one species, it may have downstream effects resulting in not enough time to target other species. We strive to target a range of species on most charters. Our skilled captains know how to manage the day so that anglers get options on the range of desired species.
4) What can I expect to catch?
Any charter that makes ridiculous promises should be removed from consideration. Huge salmon and barn-door halibut are always possible, but the odds are far more likely to catch average-sized fish. A reasonably sized salmon, say a king in the 15- to 20-pound range or a coho in the 10-pound class, should be expected. Likewise, promises of triple-digit halibut are hard to backup. Granted, especially on our overnight charters that bring anglers to hardly fished locations, big flatfish are entirely possible. But be wary of promises of big fish.
It’s called fishing, and not catching, for a reason. Also, try and gauge how much time will be spent in search of each species. If you are hoping to sample a mixed bag of species, and end up with a charter captain who is uber-focused on a singular species, then disappointment may ensue. Our goal on each trip is to catch the species we are targeting and to show anglers a great experience catching some of Alaska’s premier saltwater gamefish.
5) What other services are included in my charter?
Find out what else is included on your fishing charter; Homer offers other services if you need them before and after the trip. For instance, is fish filleting included? Does the charter offer snacks, drinks or lunch? Does the charter have a relationship with a fish-processing company that will portion, vacuum-pack, freeze, box and ship your fish? Your fish will last for a long time and taste good if it is properly cared for, cleaned, vacuum-packed and flash frozen.
If you are lucky enough to catch a big pile of fish, then you’ll want to pay careful attention to how the fish are handled. Top charters bleed and ice their fish immediately after catching them, which helps to produce the best-tasting, highest quality fillets. Whomever you choose, make sure fish care is paramount to them. At Big Dan’s, we take this very seriously and want your hard-earned fish to taste great every time you pull a piece out of the freezer.