Frequently Asked Questions

What is a full time fishing guide/captain?
Capt. John Fischbach who is a full time fishing captain/guide, has been making his living on the water pre-fishing and fishing with clients from all over the globe for nearly 25 years.  He receives no part time income from other sources.  Full time professional who is United States Coast Guard licensed and insured.  Many guides who are not full time earn their primary income from other sources such as lawn maintenance, pool cleaning, construction, fire fighting or police officers often working 7 long days in a 2-week stretch, bartenders, etc. Your first question when hiring a guide is how many years have you had a valid U.S.C.G. license and is this your sole income, do you have liability insurance ?

What is included on a charter trip?
An Absolute Florida Flats Fishing Charter includes tournament rigged and U.S. Coast Guard equipped boat, full time U.S. licensed Coast Guard captain, all required fishing licenses, top of the line rods and reels, live bait, artificial baits, tackle, fish box filled with ice and an iced down cooler for your beverages (aluminum cans and plastic bottles-no glass containers), sandwiches and snacks, great attitude and a clean comfortable atmosphere.

Are you a head boat or party boat and will you split charters?
No, No and No! I do private charters, which is just the captain and your group of from 1 to 5 anglers per boat.  For groups of more than 3-4 anglers, we accommodate them with additional top of the line boats and experienced full time guides with longtime local fishing knowledge.  We can accommodate corporate groups to 50 anglers this way. Multiple Boats and Captains!

What should we bring on a charter?
You should bring whatever you wish to eat, beverages to drink, hat with brim (Baseball), clothing suitable for weather conditions, boat shoes or white-soled tennis shoes, and non-marking rubber black sole shoes are ok, hat, NO-SPRAY SUNSCREEN’S PLEASE, lotion  sunscreen’s ok, camera or video camera, and good polarized sunglasses are recommended for spotting fish on the flats. No BANANAS please! (Banana Voodoo). Ask you captain how the story originated.

Do we need to book in advance?
Yes, the best chance for you to get a day that fits your schedule is to call ahead in advance when you know the dates you will be here in the area and available to go fishing.  Although calling on short notice a day or two before can also work at times.  Just call it will only take a minute or so for an answer.

When should I book a Trophy Tarpon Trip?
Even though trophy tarpon are mainly migratory game fish, we book our trophy giant tarpon charters year-round; however deposits do not have to be to us until 3 months prior to the season opening April through July.  We also book these trips daily during the tarpon season, just call the boat phone.  Repeat business in our mainstay and therefore many regular clients reserve dates early.  It is an unbelievable experience that everyone should try at least once.  Deposits for tarpon fishing charters are 50% of the total fee.

Can we bring children on a fishing charter?
Yes, on our fishing trips the age limit is 8 and up.  Children ages 8 and up may need to have adult team supervision with them.  Do yourself a favor and take a kid fishing. If the child is under 90 lbs. let your Captain know as there are special rules and safety equipment required!

Do you have gift certificates?
Yes, gift certificates for all occasions are available.  Such occasions are Christmas, Birthdays, New Years, Business Promotions, Anniversaries, All holidays, Special gifts, relatives or friends from out of state visiting you, business incentives, company sales contests, etc.  GIFT CERTIFICATES ARE GOOD FOR ONE YEAR AFTER DATE OF PURCHASE !!!

How much experience is needed?
None.  We regularly take children and novice to expert anglers and even seasoned professionals.  Often we fish for certain species of fish and use old-time to advanced fishing methods.  We have fun, give you 110% effort and will provide instruction and help you while fishing.  I do appreciate the chance to be your guide on your day of fishing and will help you as needed.

How should I contact you to book a charter?
Easy, give us a call locally at 727-376-8809, or send us an email at If you get the answering machine, know that your call is very important to me and leave a name, daytime and/or evening phone number or cell phone number and I will return you call as soon as I tie up.  To book a charter immediately, call the boat cell phone number at 727-364-3265.  We can also recommend area hotels, motels, Inns and good eateries.

Do you require a deposit to hold our date?
Yes, we require deposits on all of our flats fishing trips, however, full payment is due upon booking during peak seasonal periods. Custom payment structures are implemented at times, such as a minimum of 50% of the base charter rate for half, three-quarter and full day flats fishing trips and 50% of the charter rate on a tarpon fishing trip and 50% deposit of the total rate on all offshore trips. These deposits secure your day on the water and will never be double booked! Please call a day or two before your charter to check departure place, time of departure, updated weather, returning to dock time or any other information you may require. In the event of foul or adverse weather conditions at captain’s discretion (unfishable) and you are unable to book another date, deposits will be returned in full immediately. In the event that you do not show up or contact me to let me know you will not be able to make it inside of the no cancellation period, the deposit amount paid, if by check or credit card will not be refunded, if a credit/debit card was provided then it will be charged the deposit amount plus the 5% of the charter rate credit card processing fee, no refunds. The best times to contact your captain by phone is between 5 PM to 7 PM EST. Phone is fine, texting is best as I always give my clients my full attention through the duration of their charters, and very rarely take phone calls while on charter.

Can I bring beer, wine, liquor/smoke?
Yes, smoking is fine (no illegal substances).  Beer and Wine is best.  Liquor is acceptable but all in moderation.  Drink responsibly. Aluminum cans and plastic bottles only, No Glass containers.

Should I tip the captain?
Yes, if you had a good time, the captain works hard for you and is courteous and helpful.  Gratuities on charter fishing trips are customary, appreciated and appropriate and range from 10% to 20% as the norm especially considering cleaning and bagging your fish catch, extra time and effort spent, etc.

Enjoying your fishing trip and obtaining a complete replica trophy mount!
The charter boats of Absolute Florida Flats Fishing recommend that you have comfortable light colored clothing, a sun hat, polarized sun glasses, camera, sunscreen and your favorite beverages and foods on your inshore fishing trip.  The clothing will keep you cool and comfortable in the sub-tropical sun.  In some of our colder months, warm clothing (layering) may be necessary on some Florida fishing charters.  The hat and the polarized sun glasses enable you to see past the glare on the water, as tarpon, snook, redfish, trout and more are often sight fished.  Non-marking rubber soled deck shoes will help to protect you against falling on wet decks and also protects the deck surface.  Florida flats fishing on light tackle can be quite a thrill and capturing a big game trophy fish is a team effort.  Most experienced anglers usually relax, enjoy the warm sun and let the fishing charter take its course.  Some days the fish will eat the bottom of the charter boat out, but other days you can’t buy a strike (rarely is this the case).  Enjoy the ecological settings of the expansive flats, barrier islands, huge sand bars, beaches and mangrove dotted islands.  When you hour comes and the gin clear, light green water explodes with that trophy fish on your line, savor the moment!

Abundance of certain trophy fish can vary with the time of year because of migratory patterns.  Should you catch yourself a trophy fish, you can consult your fishing captain  or fishing guide.  Modern day charter boats use marine taxidermy that incorporates methods that are entirely different than the old style conventional ways of mounting a slat water sport fish.  Space age resins now available make it possible to create a replica mount for your home, office or den that is virtually maintenance free and will not age or discolor as most skin mounts have done in the past.

*It is not necessary to kill a fish in order to obtain a complete replica trophy mount.

*Most trophy mounts will be a fiberglass replica molded from the same size and species as the fish caught.

*You decision to bring on board or kill a fish does not commit you to order a trophy mount.

*If you decide to mount your trophy fish, I am an agent for Florida’s biggest marine taxidermy service and can give you all the details and contract when our charter boat returns to the dock at the end of the fishing trip.

*Conservation would dictate not wasting a resource.  This method of taxidermy will enable your trophy fish to fight another day, and the thrill of the catch will remain fresh in your memory for generations to come.