Have you wanted to book an inshore charter recently but felt overwhelmed by the number of captains out there? Well that’s honestly not a bad problem to have! In South Padre Island, there’s a plethora of talented and fun captains who would love to take you on the adventure of a lifetime. I am going to cover the important questions to ask yourself before deciding which charter to choose.
The first thing I want to cover is the timing of your charter. Inshore charters are FAR more dependent on the weather, lunar activity and atmospheric conditions than offshore/deep sea charters. You’re going to want to try and avoid dates that coincide with large storm fronts. These fronts alter atmospheric pressures put on the fish that can cause them to have lockjaw for the day. You also don’t want to spend your day getting rained on so be sure to keep an eye on the forecast for the days you’d like to do some fishing.
Another important nugget of information to remember is that inshore charters are usually run when the tidal movements are strongest for the best chances of catching fish. Offshore charter captains usually care less about the tides because they’re fishing deep waters where tides have very little influence over the bite. Depending on what day you want to go fishing, the times the captain will want to run the charter will depend on the tides rather than when it is convenient for you. Make sure that your schedule is open on the day you want a deep-sea fishing charter.
Most days have two tide cycles with some only having one. Usually a strong moving tide only lasts a few hours. The best bite of the day usually only lasts while the tide is ripping like this. What this means to you is most inshore captains actually prefer to only run half-day or ¾ day charters. Because travel time to the fishing location on an inshore charter is minimal and a good tide only lasts a couple of hours, there’s rarely a need to fish more than 4-6 hours to get your fill of fun. Paying for a full day fishing charter isn’t necessary with a quality inshore fishing charter captain.
The number of people you want to take fishing is also another important consideration. Most inshore fishing guides will take a max of 4 people fishing with others taking less because stealthy inshore fishing boats typically are less than 20ft in length. While the charter boat might be rated for more passengers, having too many people fishing at the same time takes away from the experience for everyone on board and limits the amount of fish each person can catch as well as the attention the captain can give each angler. Be sure to check the max capacity of the boat you’re trying to charter so that you don’t run into any issues when you show up to go fishing.
Not all South Padre Island fishing charter captains are the same!!! Be sure to choose from ones who are reputable and established in the area like Breakaway Cruises. Many of the best captains are very active on social media and post a lot of fishing reports/pictures of their daily catches. Don’t be afraid to pick up the phone and call them either. They should be more than happy to speak with you and tell you everything you’d like to know about the accommodations they offer. If they are not personable on the phone, chances are they won’t be much fun on a boat either.
Never book a charter from ads on sites like Craigslist!! Like many things in life, you get what you pay for. Many of “no name” captains offering bargains for charters on random classified sites are uninsured and unlicensed to run charters, not to mention novice in the fishing industry and a burden to those who are legitimate. You can easily verify any captain’s insurance by calling their insurance company and asking for them to verify the captain is insured. Be sure to report fraudulent charter captains to the US Coast Guard or TWC.
I hope this information helps you choose the ideal South Padre Island fishing charter for you, your friends, or your family in the near future. Tight lines.