How Much To Charge For A Fishing Charter? 

Fishing from a bay boat

A fishing charter only has one way to collect revenue, and that is by charging the proper amount for a trip. The fishing charter owner or captain needs to do some detailed math to figure out the exact amount of money necessary to keep the business afloat. If you are wondering how much to charge for a fishing charter, here are the things to be factored into the cost. Keeping a close eye on these costs will make you a better charter owner and business person. 

Factors That Impact How Much A Fishing Charter Should Cost 

Here are a few of the main factors that will impact the cost of a fishing charter. These costs will vary depending on the size of your boat and what the local industry is like; here are a few things to consider when working out the details of your fishing charter costs. 


There are two location factors that impact the pricing of a fishing charter. The first is the distance to deep water or the run time to get to the great fishing spots. The second is the area in which your boat is located. 

When it comes to overall runtime, you will need to think about how much of your time is taken up with getting people to the proper fishing locations. 

The other location factor is the area of the country or world where your fishing charter is located. Places like Destin, New Orleans, and South Florida have a ton of competition when it comes to fishing charters, and this will have to play into your pricing. In addition, the weather throughout the course of the year can impact pricing. Try to consider if you have a prime season or an off-season. 


Dockage tends to be one of the higher costs that fishing charters incur. Unfortunately, in some areas, there are very limited spaces for dockage, and this will impact the overall pricing. Pay attention to the local area, look for openings that come up, and calculate what a move would cost from time to time. One of the worst things you can do is stay stagnant and let these costs add up without awareness. 

Bait and Equipment 

The bait comes at a cost, especially live bait. Some fishing charter captains will try and catch their own bait, but this takes time, and in this industry, time is without doubt money. Work out a deal with a local bait supplier so that you can get the best possible costs because of bulk purchases. 

Your equipment is of great value, and although this is typically a large upfront cost, there are maintenance costs here as well. Keeping equipment up to date and ensuring that you have gear that will help your customers get fish on is extremely important. 

Try to rotate your equipment out and update it from time to time; this helps avoid paying for all new equipment at once. When pricing out your charter, think about a part of this cost being equipment rental; any other industry would structure their pricing in this way. 

Fuel Costs

Fuel costs are one of the things that can have you changing the price of your fishing charter from time to time. As fuel costs rise, they will cut directly into your profit. This may be acceptable for a little while, but when the prices get high, there is no way for you to make up the difference. 

Fishing charter owners have been known to add a fuel surcharge when the price of fuel goes above a certain point. This may be a good thing to consider adding to your policies and contracts, as it can help ensure you are not going negative on any of your charter trips. 

Deck Hand

Some fishing charters need a deck hand. Consider your deck hand an employee and ensure that they are adequately compensated for their time spent on the boat. A well-paid deck hand is going to bring much more value than an underpaid deck hand. 

When calculating the cost of a charter, think about billing for the deck hand as a full day because they will help set up and clean up as well. In other words, don’t short yourself by considering the deck hand costs and just four or five hours. 


The competition in your area can greatly impact the costs of your fishing charter. If you are new to the area or to the industry, chances are there is someone there that has been involved for quite some time and offers a very similar product to you. Take a look at what is offered and consider if this will work for you from a cost standpoint. 

If your competition is much lower than what you were going to charge, just make sure that you make your product offering unique. If the pricing is much higher than what you were going to charge, don’t undercut yourself too much. 

Booking and Payment Processor

A fishing charter needs to be able to process payments, keep track of bookings, and potentially have a staff member that manages customer service requests with the calendar. This can all be done by a captain themselves using the HookM charter management software. However, for those that are not associated with HookM which is partnered with Stripe Payment Processing, there could be quite a few additional costs here. 

The problem for charter captains is the time it takes to manage a calendar and take customer payments. With automated calendar management solutions for captains, you will save money and potentially make more profit on your next charter trip. 


Charter owners should be considering accounting costs when pricing out their charter. The accounting costs are not just on a monthly basis but also a yearly basis. You can hire an accountant to do this for you, and it will likely cost thousands of dollars. 

The accountant will help you keep track of your total revenue and whether or not the business is profitable, but this does not come free of charge. With the HookM charter management software, there is no need to hire an accountant for your day-to-day work. 

As trips are booked through the HookM interface, all of the financial details are recorded for you. 

Marketing and Customer Management 

Most charter captains are unaware of their customer acquisition costs. When you get a customer to book a trip, this customer should be considered a lifelong customer. Even if your customer is on vacation, chances are they will be back in your area again soon. 

Hiring a company that handles your marketing and customer management is expensive, and you will have to build this back into the costs of your trips. HookM offers customer management and organization so that you are able to reach out to previous customers and keep your business strong at no additional cost to you. 

How HookM Can Help Cut Costs for Charter Owners and Captains 

As we have mentioned several times in our guide to how much to charge for a fishing charter, the HookM charter management software can help to reduce overall costs. For some fishing charters where competition is important, this reduction in cost can help you compete with boats around you. However, for others, the cost reduction can ensure that you are profitable yet again. Here are a few things that HookM can do that will help make fishing charter management considerably easier. 

No Staff To Manage Calendar

The calendar can be a pain to manage. With customer cancellations and issues with availability, it is very time-consuming for a fishing charter captain to manage this without help. With the HookM software, there is no staff necessary to manage the calendar. Simply put in your available times for trips, and the software will do the rest for you. 

No Manual Payment Processing 

If you want to manually process all your payments, you can, but it’s not at all necessary. With the HookM software, customers can pay directly through the interface, allowing you to keep doing what you are doing. This also makes it unnecessary to have an employee available at all times to take payments. 

Customer Management

Do you need an assistant to keep track of all of your customers and email them when things are slow? You don’t. 

HookM accurately records all customer information and then allows you to access it for future use. Want to do a sale for fathers day? Ready to lower the prices for the season? HookM charter management gives you quick access to everything you need to get this done. 


When it comes to how much to charge for a fishing charter the last thing you want to do as a charter owner or captain is to miss out on money. By paying close attention to the different costs involved with running a charter and making adjustments from time to time, your business can be much more successful. Using HookM fishing charter software can help you save money and ensure that your business runs incredibly smoothly. Charter captains all over the country have started to implement these changes, and they all wonder what took them so long. If you have any questions about the HookM charter management, please contact us today. 

Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin
Share on email
Share on print
Scroll to Top