Bait and Switch Charter Boat Style

Backlash charter boat off the coast of DestinEveryone’s seen an ad for charter fishing with a price that seemed too good to be true.

That’s probably because it was.

Too many people have booked a charter after trusting an ad only to arrive to find out the expedition isn’t at all what was expected. They find a boat that has not been well-maintained, a cabin without AC, and lacking other basic features you would expect on a private charter.

Many of these “bait and switch” boats don’t even have adequate fishing equipment! To make matters worse, these boats rarely take people where the fish are because the cost of fuel outweighs their payment. Thus a trip that was supposed to be a bargain ends up feeling like a rip off.

First-Hand Reports from a Scammed Fisherman

John Latham, a client who had previously booked such a trip said his excursion, “was pure misery.” He goes on, “The trip was a real scam. It was hot and very noisy.” This was the first trip deep sea fishing trip John had booked for he and his 11-year old son. He had hoped it would be a memorable day and that he would enjoy watching his son land a good-sized fish. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened.

A Bad Fishing Trip

On this particular trip, John said, “The charter barely got to what most would even say is deep sea fishing.” For hours, he and his son futilely reeled in tiny, bait-sized fish. “Then my son finally hooked a Red Fish”, John says. To his dismay, the deck hand then grabbed the rod out of his son’s hand and reeled it in! “My son looked disappointed because he did not feel he had actually caught the fish,” John explained.  “It was a real scam compared to how the flyer portrayed the charter. I was best described as a bait and switch.”

Beware Charter Boat Scams

The lesson here: It takes a few hundred dollars in gas for a charter boat to take passengers out and back to really great fishing spots. Nice, well-equipped boats cost a lot to buy and maintain. If you find yourself considering a discounted deep sea fishing charter, ask yourself why the captain can afford such low rates. All too often it’s because the charter guests usually end up paying the price.

Charter Fishing Destin the Right Way!

Don’t make the mistake so many well-intentioned parents make. Expect to pay a reasonable rate for a full-day or half-day charter in Destin and anywhere else deep sea fishing is popular, and always pay close attention to recommendations. If possible, ask to see the boat itself before agreeing on a charter – the state of the boat can tell you a lot about the kind of experience you can expect.


Deep sea fishing can be an unforgettable adventure, but avoiding bait and switch charter scams are the first step to a great day on the water.


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