View Full Version : Charter Fishing Question . . .

Billin' Time
23-10-2007, 01:01 AM
I think that I've lined up a charter for my trip to Cairns in November. However, I'd like to know if it is customary to tip the captain at the end of the trip. If so, is there a certain percentage as a rule of thumb??

Thanks for your help!

23-10-2007, 05:35 AM
Ive been on heaps of charters never heard of tipping the skipper


23-10-2007, 08:56 AM
The yanks are big on tipping our skippers however in Australia I don't believe it's necessary to tip. They charge you X amount of dollars and that covers the boat, fuel, deckies wages, their wages etc. However if you feel you must tip I'm sure the skippers and deckies will enjoy spending it on another bottle of rum or Wild Turkey ;)

23-10-2007, 09:33 AM
I agree with Leean and Marlin Mike on this. Just give them a cold slab of beer or rum. This is Aus, dont want anymore Yankee influences. With the way things are in this country it looks more and more that we are heading down that track.

I've also never tipped, I've paid hard earned dollars for my trips, unless someone is a silver spoon or inherited money with dollars to spare.

Scott nthQld
23-10-2007, 10:33 AM
Tipping isn't neccessary, and most skippers up here are told not to accept any extra monetary compensation, usually they just appreciate a good yarn. I usually offer some of my catch, especially if the bite is hot and the skipper and deckies don't get any time to do a bit of fishing themselves, this is usually turned down though as I often get told, "I'm sick of fish", as they are on the water a lot more than you or me and often have their freezer's fully stocked.

It also depends on what sort of fishing the charter is doing, in November off Cairns is the start of the giant Marlin season so they often get more out of catching and seeing these sea monsters and watching them swim away to get even more gigantic.

What sort of charter are you going on?


Billin' Time
23-10-2007, 02:31 PM
Sorry - didn't mean to be a bad influence on your skippers . . . just wanted to make sure what local customs were so I didn't offend anyone. I run my own boat in the U.S., so this will be my first charter . . . ever . . . but I figured that it's rather unlikely that I will be in your neck of the woods very often, so why not give it a shot . . .

Signed up for an all day "light tackle / reef fishing" charter out of Marlin Marina in Cairns for myself and the wife. "Reef Runner" is supposed to be a Javelin center cabin boat with a single outboard. Hoping for some small billfish / pelagics action, and maybe a snapper or something edible to bring back to a restaurant in town? Kinda just looking forward to experiencing the water and seeing the sights that us "yanks" only read about in Marlin magazine . . .


Scott nthQld
23-10-2007, 03:34 PM
For an extra tasty feed, you can't go past coral trout, failing that a good red emperor (not too big cos they get tough on the chew) or tuskfish, as a matter of fact just about anything. Throw most of your trevally back unless you like a really strong fishy taste but keep the Gold spot trevally, firm, white, juicy flesh....yum. Most trevally caught on the reefs up here are treated as vermin, unwanted crap, mainly cos we are spoilt for choice and can afford to be fussy.

You can't go past fresh mackeral either, or cobia, though I find it to be a little dry for my liking. I could go on about the tasty reef morsels all day and night so I'll shut up about them now.

I don't know if there are any restaurants in Cairns that will cook up a fish you bring in for you though, as I'm a bit further down the road in Townsville, but being such a tourist and fishing mecca, I am certain there would be one somewhere.

Have fun, and use plenty of sun cream, and make sure you have a nice comfy bed to sleep in after your trip, you'll need it!

24-10-2007, 09:57 AM
You'll have a wonderful time Billin' Time. If you love scuba diving or snorkelling you'll really enjoy yourself. The reefs are spectacular. With regards to tipping the big difference between Australia and America is generally we get paid our wages/salary and don't have to depend on tips to make a living.

The thing about Cairns though is that we often find that the service really isn't up to scratch (or the food) in a lot of places but from what i've experienced it's usually because they're using casual staff in the way of overseas backpackers that flit from one place to the other and don't seem overly concerned about looking after patrons properly. It's spot the Aussie in the Cairns CBD.

It's not all doom and gloom though. It's a beautiful part of the country and hopefully you've got some time to go sightseeing. Get out of Cairns and check out the rainforests, rivers and beaches.

Make sure you go on the Skyrail which takes you over some gorgeous scenery. You end up in Kuranda which is VERY touristy and good for picking up little knick knacks and souvenirs though some of the gear is a little bit cheap and nasty. If you can head up to Mossman Gorge which is to the north of Cairns. It's mostly a rainforest walk but we usually head up there with a loaf of bread and feed the sooty grunter in the river.

I've attached a link to some other tourist places. As an Australian I think a few of them are a bit too touristy but overseas visitors don't seem to mind them.


It will be a bit hot up there (or should i say a lot hot?). Stay close to a swimming pool. Box jellyfish are out and about at that time of year and it can be dangerous swimming along the foreshores and beaches.

I suppose i could have painted the glossiest of pictures for you but as a tourist going to different places myself I always like to know where i should be going and places to avoid.


Billin' Time
25-10-2007, 02:28 AM
Leeann and Scott

Thanks so much for the tips, particularly Leeann's "tell it like it is" review. My wife and I generally do not go for the "touristy" stuff, so your advice is greatly appreciated!



25-10-2007, 09:03 AM
My friends are currently doing the heavy tackle season to the north of Cairns at the moment. Kelly Dalling's got this webpage happening that you may be interested in?



25-10-2007, 09:49 AM
Most good Chefs would be happy to turn your catch into someting delicious.
My advise would be to pick a restaurant with a good reputation( ask around at your hotel) prior to your charter and give the chef a call, just so you are not putting him in a spot.
A little bit of preparation goes a long way and once "Service " starts we have no prep time , its all go, go, go,.If its a good restaurant it will be busy.

25-10-2007, 10:33 AM
Good tip rando, been a chef for years and more than happy to cook a beautiful fresh fish for the customer, just give them notice, dont rock up with a fish when the chef has 50 dockets up and expect him or her to be able to oblige. Most Chefs enjooy preparing and cooking a lovely piece of fresh fish.