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Hi,

I am a part time charter skipper based in the Thames Estuary and would like to ask anglers opinion of charter boats in general.

I am sure you will agree, angling is no longer cheap, and I would like to try and offer a service to the angler, which is seen as value for money, fair and reasonable.

I currently offer anglers the chance to book the boat, book the boat with tackle and some bait included and I also offer individual days once a month.

Can you suggest any other options that you would like to see offered, any suggestions to make your trip enjoyable, any ways to improve charter angling in general - all comments will be treated in confidence.

Kind regards

Gary
www.preludecharters.co.uk
 

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Hi Gary,
I have for many years fished on charter boats and in the last few years crewed for my mate, It;s difficult to put your finger on any one thing that makes a good charter boat many little things make the difference in the end, I ditched one charter boat cause he was always late and hungover, I think the main things are always be cheerful, red hot kettle, maybe a few chocy biscuits, if you;ve got an oven onboard heat up the pies for them, soup in the winter,friendly advice on rigs, not like some "your not using that crap on my boat" when wrecking letting them know when the wreck is comming up etc. seeing what they're doing wrong if they are;nt catching and everyone else is. just the friendly approach and putting them on the fish is all you can do mate, for some there is just no pleasing them and they know it all anyway look after the real beginers and they will always come back just because you took time with them. (by the way the reply to "your not using that crap on my boat" was you get on with scrubbing the decks or what ever you do and leave me to do the fishing, by a certain gentleman who is britains no1 boat fisherman. seriously mate do your best, for most it will be great, for the minority it will never be enough what ever you do. oh! the other thing decent hire gear.
good luck mate stay safe.
 

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Cheers gusangus,

I guess I am trying to offer something that I would like to have offered....if you see what I mean.

At the end of the day, if I have arranged to charter a boat for the day - I would want to use that boat for the day, this includes the galley, toilet, cabin etc.

Generaly I have two rules on the boat:
1. Break it and you have bought it!
2. If you block the toilet - you unblock it!

I must say, one of the things that I find can be difficult is trying to advise people to use lighter tackle. I always suggest options but it is difficult to get people to accept a change to their usual practices - however, once someone has caught something on lighter tackle they very rarely use heavy gear again.

I always try to encourage people to try different things as I believe there are no "hard and fast rules" when it comes to fishing.

It is great when I get anglers on board that are receptive to change and adapt to the shallower waters that we have around here.

The best buzz I get is when I return from a trip and we have had a laugh (- often at my expense!), it is not just about catching the fish, it is making sure everyone is safe, comfortable and feels part of the "crew".

Cheers for the advice.

Gary
 

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To give a comparison - but mention no names, the following are two charters I have been on in different parts of the country.

Charter 1 (North Sea)
Hired the boat, and took the tackle and bait option for a few extra pounds. Rod was the stifffest 80lb class thing a few quid could buy. Reel was the cheapest nastiest Alvey reel I have ever seen (priced it later on the internet at £8.40). There was barely enough line to reach bottom 60 ft away on most of the reels. Terminal tackle was 4oz leads with a single budget Aberdeen hook - not even a swivel in sight, just the lead tied on with a long tail to tie the hook on. Bait was squid or squid, cut into the tiniest pieces imaginable. Fishing was poor and the kettle was never boiled, toilet was the sea. Skipper spent most of his time speaking with his mates on the radio.

Charter 2 (Bristol Channel)
Hired the boat and took the tackle and bait option again. Rod was a nice 12-20lb job. Reels were good quality Penn's. Hooks were good and we even had a swivel to stop the spin. Leads were even heavy enough to hold bottom. Bait was squid, mackeral and sandeels and was plentiful. Kettle was always on, skipper couldn't do enough to help, and even cleaned our fish including skinning them (now that impressed me) Had a great day out with every minute of the charter used.

Guess which of the above charter boats will not get another booking from me?
 
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