How to Review Charter and Lodging Costs
Like with everything we purchase, we always pay for what we get. With Lake Erie charters, the daily cost for the charter doesn’t really vary that much between different services. The actual cost difference per angler is usually only a few dollar’s difference, no matter who you fish with.
What can be different between various charter services is:
- The size, the age and the condition of the boat. Boat and bathroom cleanliness. Having “up-to-date” electronics on board. Having “back-up” electronics, can be important, if needed. The quality & condition of the fishing tackle.
- Some services have multiple Captains. Some are experienced & others are not. Unless you know who you will spend the day with, you may not be happy with who you meet at the dock that day. Remember that very few Captains actually fish full time. Many guides only fish a day or two a week and work only part of the season. Experience & expertise does matter!
- Some services won’t let people use the boat’s bathroom, if needed.
- Fuel surcharges have been needed on rare occasions. All services have different policies on how they handle this topic, if necessary.
- Some boats are docked a distance from the main lake and others have to deal with bridges that delay navigation from the dock to the lake. Most anglers prefer to be fishing and not spending long periods of time just getting to and from the lake.
- Location is always important. Some services are west of Port Clinton and therefore get little to no island protection. This can be important on the windy and rougher days. There are fewer cancellations for those who dock near the Lake Erie Islands, which begins around downtown Port Clinton and extends eastward throughout Marblehead. Having Island protection, can give us much calmer water to fish, when it’s windy.
- Ohio’s vacationland is generally considered to be the Port Clinton, Catawba and the Marblehead areas. This area offers the most recreational ambiance as well as providing all sorts of options for lodging, retail stores, grocery stores, restaurants and lounges. From a fishing perspective, the area is the most convenient to fishing the Canadian waters of the lake and it offers a longer fishing season than most areas of the lake. Prime locations might cost a little more to be there, but it is worth it!
- Charter services that are in the more rural areas to the west of the downtown area of Port Clinton, have fewer options for lodging. Many furnish older mobile homes that have few amenities. These more rural locations don’t have much to do in the area if you are here for longer than a day. (IE: Lack of restaurants, bars, retailers, etc.)
- Some services still run 2 charters a day. That means the fishing day will be shorter and they must watch the clock to be on time. Your time on the water is less.
- Some charter services only offer trolling trips for walleyes. Normally this means that once the boat & the first mate hooks a fish, they rotate anglers as it’s time to reel one in! Generally, you will wait in the cabin till it’s your turn. Some charters strictly drift fish & cast for walleye. Each angler needs to hook & catch their own fish, using light tackle. Others prefer to drift fish & cast, but have trolling equipment on board as an option. In this situation, there’s seldom a first mate on board. So if trolling becomes part of your day, plan on being actively involved with the process.
- Some services accept credit cards. Many do not. Some provide written confirmation of your reservations. Others do not. Very few charter services are set up as Corporations or as LLC’s. Hardly any services have registered their business name with the State, as a business entity.
As you consider various charter services, pick the one that best meets yours needs.