A fishing charter can provide an excellent way to fish in some of America’s most popular waters. The experienced crew on a charter boat knows where and when to find the best catches, and you will find that your results are much better. You will also avoid the hassle of transporting your own boat to the destination of choice, carrying all of your own equipment, and wondering which bodies of water you are allowed to fish in if you book a fishing charter.
One thing that you must do when enjoying the services of a fishing charter is pay attention to the size limits on the fish you are catching. No charter company wants to get in trouble because you catch fish that are under the minimum limit. To make sure you can stay within the state’s guidelines, learn how to properly measure fish before you leave.
To measure the fish, lay it on its side on a flat board and close its jaws. If you are measuring the total length, measure from the fish’s snout to the very end of its tail fin. If the fish is just under the minimum (or than your former record catch), you can squeeze or rotate the tail to get a longer length.
For fish with forked tails, you will need to measure the fork length. Again, start at the tip of the snout, but this time measure to the fork of the tail. Some regulations ask you to measure the lower jaw fork length. In this case, start at the tip of the discus fish collecting lower jaw, measuring to the fork on the fish’s tail. This measurement is used for fish, like the swordfish, that have excessively large top snouts. If you are instructed to measure the carcass length of your fish, start measuring from the back edge of the gill opening. Measure to the tail fork.
Sometimes you may question whether or not you have measured your fish properly. The staff on board most fishing charters will be more than happy to help. If you doubt whether or not the fish meets the minimum guidelines, go ahead and throw it back, taking your chances on your next catch.
Once you have measured your fish and are certain it meets the minimum requirements, make sure you check on the minimum per-day catch for that particular type of fish. You will need to adhere to these guidelines as well, and the staff on board most charters will insist on it. If you catch a fish that is of monumental size after filling your quota for that particular species, you can throw back one of your older catches, provided it is still living, in favor of the larger catch. Or, take a picture to prove your bragging rights, and throw the big daddy back for someone else to try their hand at catching.
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