Many of you reading this want to go fishing in Florida, but you just don’t have the gear or the know-how to do it. Your best option in this case if you don’t have the time to learn yourself and to buy the right gear is to go with someone who offers a fishing charter service. This is a great idea that isn’t very expensive, even for inshore charter fishing tours if you can find some friends to go with you and split the cost.
Answer: It can cost anywhere from $10 for all day fishing gear rental and up to several hundred dollars for a half-day of fishing on a chartered deep sea fishing boat in any coastal city.
There are many ways to go about learning to fish in Florida by using guides and other creative options. We’ll list them below and the current rates for 2022-2023 and you choose one to start you off. Deal? Let’s go!
How Much Does It Cost to Rent Fishing Gear?
In Pass-a-Grille beach (St. Pete Beach) west of Tampa on the coast you can rent rods at Merry Pier for $15 for half-day or $25 for a full day of fishing at the pier. This includes a shrimp bucket and a dozen shrimp. You can also get a pier fishing license that is good for the day for just over $3. Kids under 16 don’t need any license.
At the Sunshine Skyway Fishing Pier in South St. Petersburg near Tampa they offer fishing for $4 fee to pull your vehicle onto the pier and another $4 to fish per adult. Other fees for kids fishing are $2 for kids 6-11 and kids 12 yrs and older $4. Kids under 5 are free. The $4 fee for adults includes your Florida fishing license good for 24 hours. There are 2 piers. North Pier: 11101 34th Street South, St. Petersburg, FL 33711. North Pier Bait Shop phone 727-865-0668. South Pier: 7901 US HWY. 19 South, Palmetto, FL 34221. South Pier Bait Shop phone 941-729-0117.
Newport Fishing Pier has rental gear available, though we couldn’t find the price, I’m sure it’s quite affordable. Location: 16501 Collins Ave, Sunny Isles Beach. Cost to fish is just $5 per angler and $2 per non-angler per day. There are places to put your rods and reels, fish-cleaning benches/tables, and a restaurant and bait shop where you can rent fishing rods and other gear. Open from 7 am. to 7:30 pm. most days.
Cocoa Beach (on A1A highway)
A1A Outdoors has surf rig rod/reel rentals for $25 per day and $15 for each additional rod. They also rent fishing carts and other gear. They have fishing rigged kayaks available for $45 for a half-day and $65 for a full-day of fishing. Cocoa Beach Pier is closed for fishing by the way (because of COVID-19. Awaiting reopening.
At Hart’s Landing in Sarasota they rent fishing poles for $10 per day and a bucket for $3 per day. They also have kayak rentals but the rate is not listed on the website. Smart!
The George Crady fishing pier in Jacksonville has rod and reel rentals for an undisclosed rate. Address: Fernandina Beach, 12157 Heckscher Dr., Jacksonville, Florida 32226. Phone: 904-251-2324.
How Much Does It Cost for a Largemouth Bass Fishing Freshwater Guide?
Freshwater charters for bass fishing or other fish usually run far less than deep sea fishing charters because the gas used is less. Couple that with the current price of gas and a lot of fishing excursions will be charging more than normal because gas prices are so outrageous.
Keep that in mind! One thing usually not included in the fees is the fishing license. If you’re over 16 years old you’ll need a $17+tax in-state resident license. Or a 3-day permit ($17), 7-day ($30), or 1 Year ($47) for out-of-state (non-residents of Florida). Food is also something that may not be included, make sure you verify! Alcohol is probably OK to bring, but make sure you verify first.
Typically Included for Freshwater Trips:
- Cancellation Option: 1 day in advance
- Weather: 100% refund if cancelled
- Ice Cooler and bottled water
- All fishing gear (rods, reels, line, hooks, sinkers, artificials, etc.)
- Live bait is usually available but you’ll pay extra if you insist on it
- Boat and Fuel
On Lake Tarpon by Tarpon Springs and Tampa (Florida’s West Coast)
A 4-hour charter to catch largemouth bass, crappie, and bluegill on Lake Tarpon can be found at a number of providers at the regular rate of around $350 with Captain Mike Morse. An 8-hour trip will be $475.
On Lake Okeechobee just West of West Palm Beach
A 4-hour bass, crappie, bowfin, and bluegill fishing trip on Lake Okeechobee will run you around $300 and an 8-hour trip will be around $425 with Captain Brian Brown.
How Much Does It Cost for a Flats Boat to Take You Inshore Fishing?
Inshore fishing just means close to the shoreline. You won’t be hitting deep water, but there are plenty of fish you can catch close to shore like Snook, Tarpon, Red Drum (Redfish) Black Drum, Speckled Sea Trout, Flounder, Sheepshead, Jack Crevalle, and the occasional Spanish Mackerel, Pompano, or even some other fish. There is a lot of variety with inshore fishing.
Inshore Fishing Trips Usually Include
- 100% Refund if cancellation more than 48 hours advance
- 100% Refund if cancellation due to weather
- Ice Cooler and bottled water
- Guide and Licensed Boat Captain (Certified)
- All fishing gear including lures
- Flats boat and fuel
- All Fishing License requirements included
- Fishing Chairs
- Life Jackets
- Fish Cleaning
- Livebait may be available for extra cost
Food not included, and alcohol is usually permitted – verify. Hotel pickup is not offered, use Uber or similar service.
A 4-hour trip is currently $400 and the 8-hour is $700. This is with Captain Mike Morse.
Captain Mike Gore charges $650 for 4-hours and $850 for 6-hours. This is for 3 people fishing. Add $50 for another person.
Michael Anderson out of Medeira Beach charges $450 for 4-hours for 2 people with additional $50 for each person up to 4. So $550 for 4 hours for 4 people. He charges $850 for 8-hours for 2 people. $950 for 4 people for 8-hours.
Captain John O’Hanlon charges $475 for 2 persons for 4 hours and $825 for 8 hours. Add $50 per person up to 4 anglers total.
In Fort Myers
Captain Jay in Fort Myers offers a great rate for inshore fishing. $60 per hour, 1-2 people for 4 hours, so $240. And for 3 people for 4 hours, just $300.
For just 2 anglers, Capt Codty charges $450 for 4-hours and $875 for 8-hours inshore fishing and requires a $100 deposit that presumably is non-refundable if you cancel within a certain number of hours.
In Key West
Captain Kerry in Key Largo has an inshore fishing boat and takes up to two people out at a time for $600 for 2 persons for 4-hours and $800 for 2 persons for 8-hours. Add $100 for another angler.
How Much Is a Deep Sea Fishing Boat Tour for 1/2 Day and Full Day?
Deep sea fishing charters are more expensive because of the gas and more expensive gear used to catch fish. The boats are bigger and more expensive as well. On deep-sea fishing excursions you can expect to catch grouper, snapper, Kingfish, Amberjack, and other pelagic and bottom dwelling species. Fish are bigger and harder to catch. Guides’ experience is crucial in helping beginners.
Captain John O’Hanlon offers deep sea fishing off Tampa and has 1/2 day charters for $475 for two anglers, $525 for 3 persons, and $575 for 4 persons. Full day charters are $825 for 2 persons, $875 for 3, and $925 for 4.
The Spanish Sardine site offers full day charters for 8 hours at the rate of $1,800 per trip for up to 6 anglers.
Captain Jay in Miami offers half day trips for 1 to 6 anglers for $850 and full-day trips for $1,700.
Captain Sig Ozols in Coconut Grove offers 4-hour deep-sea trips for up to six anglers for $650 and 8-hour trips for $1,000.
Captain Steve Wenger does deep-sea fishing off the coast for marlin and other big sport fish. His 4-hour trips are $650 for 4 people with $50 for each additional up to 6 max. 8-hour trips are 1,150 for 4 anglers also for $50 extra per person up to 6.
Captain Simonds offers deep sea fishing charters for $850 for a 4.5 hour trip and $1,500 for an 8.5 hour trip. His rates page does not state how many anglers, but probably at least 4 persons. He distinguishes his charters by emphasizing their rates are based on going where the fish are, not just dead bait trolling at the close spots whether you catch something or not. This is probably one of the better charters.
Captain Art Duplessis offers charters for up to six passengers at the rate of $800 for 4-hours and $1,250 for 8-hours on the water. There is a 50% charge for cancellations within 24 hours of boat leaving the dock.
Majesty fishing offers a FULL DAY group boat fishing experience for up to 40 anglers at a time. Prices are considerably less and the trips are not customizable. Adults 15 and over are charged $120.00. Kids 6-14 years old are just $105.00. Active Duty Military get a whopping $5 discount at $115.00). Non-anglers are charged $60 to go for the ride.
What Should You Bring on a Guided Fishing Charter?
Though you’ll have everything you absolutely NEED for your fishing trip as supplied by the charter you’re on, there is some other gear and things you’re going to be real happy you brought. Here’s a list of things to bring on all guided fishing trips in Florida.
- Wide-brim hat with chin-strap so it doesn’t fly off.
- Food, snacks, Gatorade or juice, beer if you need it. Beer on the water dehydrates and doesn’t help for seasickness. Just FYI.
- Sunscreen, lip sunblock
- Polarized sunglasses to protect your eyes and to see fish better in the water.
- Rain gear. Squalls can pop up anytime and many small boats don’t have enough overhead protection.
- Small plastic bag to keep phone and wallet dry in heavy rain.
- Dramamine or other sea-sickness or motion sickness pills or patches before you go out. It helps!
- Small bills ($5, $10 for tips)
Doing a cheap deep-sea fishing excursion on a bit boat with many people will give you the idea what fishing on the open water is like. You’re rarely sight-fishing, you’re probably just dropping lines deep for grouper or snapper as they are plentiful and the bread and butter of the deep sea fishing charter boat owners. Costs are usually around $100 or less for these trips and they’re great for kids too.