If you’re vacationing in Wilmington or other coastal areas of North Carolina, you may be considering an offshore fishing charter as part of your trip. It is possible to go fishing on your own, but if you’re unfamiliar with the area, your chances of returning with a hearty catch are pretty slim.
Choosing from one of many good offshore fishing charters in NC dramatically increases the odds of your coming back with at least something.
Remember, every area is different, so what may work in your usual fishing spots may not work so well in coastal North Carolina.
Before you throw your line in the water though, you will need to find a quality offshore fishing charter to take you to where the fish are. There are several ways to find a charter that will put you on the right spot and do it safely and comfortably. In the end, you’ll remember your trip for better or worse, so it pays to do a little research.
(Check out “6 Considerations for Finding a Spectacular Fishing Charter” for characteristics all good fishing charters share regardless of location).
If you’re new to NC offshore fishing charters, you may not know where to find a high quality charter that will work tirelessly to show you a good time. Continue reading for 6 places you can look for the right offshore fishing charter for your coastal NC vacation.
- Tourist Agency or the Local (NC) Chamber of Commerce
Just about any established offshore fishing charter will be registered with their local tourist agency or Chamber of Commerce. Any businesses listed with these organizations are quite reputable. They will often have several options to choose from, which is why you should clearly understand the characteristics that ALL good fishing charters share.
Most businesses will agree – word-of-mouth from a happy customer is one of the most effective methods of advertising. Many fishing charters in NC, be they offshore or inshore, hardly need to bother with marketing and advertising since they’re always booked on word-of-mouth referrals. Your friends and family will also be able to give you their unvarnished opinion of the trip they took.
- Google/Yahoo/Bing search
Just about every reputable fishing charter will have some sort of website or digital presence. These sites will provide an overview of the captain’s boat along with some pictures, plus pictures of their latest catch. Remember though, the captain has every incentive in the world to exaggerate the numbers of fish caught on the last trip, so don’t solely rely on the captain’s pictures or even testimonials from previous customers. However, if they’ve invested in a good web presence, you can be fairly certain they’re not a fly-by-night outfit.
- Trip Advisor, Yelp and other review sites
Online review sites like Trip Advisor, Yelp, Google or Yahoo Reviews generally provide a more honest assessment of the captain, his boat and the quality of prior trips. Besides the positive reviews, you’ll also be able to see comments from any unsatisfied customers. Obviously, if any NC offshore fishing charters have a lot of negative reviews on sites like these, you will want to steer clear of them. However, one or two poor reviews out of several shouldn’t necessarily disqualify the charter.
- Fishing forums
Besides review sites, forum sites like NC Angler and others will provide an honest assessment about a particular offshore fishing charter. Forums are different than review sites since the members on the forum are generally seasoned anglers themselves. They will know what a good offshore fishing charter is like and be able to provide background information on the area before you pack your bags for your trip.
- Booking agency or hotel concierge
If you’re short on time or simply want someone else to do the leg work for you, consider using a booking agency or even a hotel concierge. Reputable offshore fishing charters in NC often have arrangements with local hotels to offer exclusive savings to their guests. Since the reputation of the booking agency or hotel is on the line as well, you likely will not be disappointed.
If you’re considering a fishing charter, you need to do careful research. Since offshore fishing charters are not cheap, you don’t want to choose one carelessly. Not only will you wind up wasting several hundred dollars, you may be putting you and your family at risk if the captain and his boat are not up to par.