FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHERE DO WE BOARD THE BOAT?
We pick up and drop off passengers for the Sally D where she is moored on the west arm of the St. Andrews Marina, 3151 West 10th Street, Panama City, FL 32401. Free public parking is usually available very close to the boat's slip.
DO WE NEED A FISHING LICENSE?
You do not need a fishing license to fish aboard a GoldenRod Fishing Charters boat.
DO YOU PROVIDE FOOD AND BEVERAGES?
GoldenRod Fishing Charters does not provide food and beverages. Please bring your own snacks and drinks in a small cooler, soft sided preferred.
CAN WE BRING ALCOHOL?
Yes, but the captain reserves the right to refuse passengers who are a threat to safety or otherwise disruptive. He also can cut a trip short without a refund or discount if a passenger becomes problematic.
CAN I BRING MY KIDS?
Absolutely!!! We love to take families fishing. Our best memories are fishing adventures we shared with our son and Matthew and their little buddies as they were growing up. It brings us great joy to introduce the sport of fishing to kids. Our light tackle is easy for kids to handle. Nevertheless, we do not recommend taking kids three and under on offshore trips unless it is predicted to be calm and we suggest that you choose the Sally D, which has an enclosed cabin and more shade on deck. Center console boats are a challenge for toddlers and a hardship for infants. Our kids were nearly 4 years old before they truly enjoyed offshore fishing.
WHAT IS AN OFFSHORE BOTTOM FISHING OR DEEP SEA FISHING TRIP?
In this area of Florida, offshore bottom fishing, also known as deep sea fishing, is very popular due to the abundant presence of offshore reefs in the form of natural rocky bottom and artificial reefs from concrete pyramids to old bridge spans. Charter boats go to the reefs and make stops where they believe gulf reef fish are congregated. Anglers equipped with rods and reels will then lower weighted lines outfitted with a baited hook. Depending on what fish is being targeted and what the boat’s electronics are showing, you will be instructed as to how deep you lower the bait. When a fish begins eating the bait, the angler will feel a tug on the line and a bump on the rod, and it’s time to reel. Don’t worry about inexperience, you will have a GoldenRod Fishing Charters pro advising you.
Reef fish include a wide variety of species such as red snapper, white snapper, mangrove or black snapper, lane snapper, vermillion snapper, gag grouper, red grouper, scamp, amberjack, rudder jacks, almaco jacks, triggerfish, sharks, and more. On occasion, these are also good areas to find pelagic species such as king mackeral, cobia, and mahi-mahi. For the pelagic species, the crew will cast out a baited flat line to attract the fish.
HOW LONG IS THE RIDE OUT? HOW FAR DO WE GO?
The more hours you spend on a fishing trip, the more time your captain will have to move from spot to spot finding the right fish for the season or your preferred fighting fish for catch and release. Longer trips allow us to go further offshore to visit grounds less frequented. A typical ride to the fishing grounds is 1 hour and 15 minutes on the Sally D and 45 minutes on the Stuart, these times can increase for trips beyond the minimum lengths. Our boats are federally permitted so we can fish past the 9 mile state waters line, and we usually do. Recent experience at various locations, weather forecasts, and wind and sea conditions are major factors in where your captain chooses to fish. Trips often go as far as 30 miles. Ten and twelve hour trips regularly go even further.
WHAT IF THE WEATHER IS BAD?
If the captain determines that the weather is too bad for fishing an effort will be made to reschedule your trip if possible. If rescheduling is not possible for either party, no charges will be incurred, and 100% of any deposit will be returned.
WHAT DO YOU RECOMMEND FOR SEASICKNESS?
by Kim Whitfield, neither doctor nor meteorologist, just a woman with decades of motion sickness and fishing experience
My father always joked to his nauseous friends and family that there was one true cure for seasicknes: scratch your back on an oak tree. No seasick person ever laughed at his joke, but he made a valid point: once you are on a boat, motion sickness is not curable or preventable by over-the-counter meds. You need to pray for dry land an oak tree.
As an alternative, we suggest that you prepare for motion sickness LONG before your trip begins. My family successfully wards off motion sickness by taking a widely known over-the-counter medicine in its less drowsy formula. I take one pill the night before the trip AND another pill as soon as I roll out of bed the morning of the trip. We have never benefitted from any other nonprescription medication or gimmick from wrist bands, to ginger, to saltine crackers, or B12. None of us has medical training, but the popular OTC less drowsy formula motion sickness pill is what works for us. If you wait until you're boarding the boat to take the pill, you will just throw up the pill, and you are likely to start praying for dry land and an oak tree.
IS ALL TACKLE PROVIDED?
Yes, we carry a variety of tackle to suit the needs of the trip. We proudly offer light tackle, which is easier for kids to handle and provides adults with the thrill of extended action. We have the perfect gear for sport seekers.
IS THERE A TOILET?
Yes, the Sally D has a full-functioning, private toilet.
HOW DO WE PAY?
A deposit by credit or debit card is required to book a trip. We accept Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. The deposit amount on all charters is $200. The balance of the charter price is due at the conclusion of the trip and may be made by cash or credit card(s). Please have your card(s) with you so the captain can dip the chip. A customary tip for the captain/crew is 20% of the total charter price.
WHAT IS YOUR CANCELATION & NO-SHOW POLICY?
You can cancel or reschedule your booking up to 7 days before the trip without penalty and receive a refund of 100% of any deposit paid. Cancelations must be in writing sent to us by text or email. Cancelation between 3 and 7 days prior will result in a charge of 40% of the charter price, less any deposit. Cancelation between 24 and 72 hours prior will result in a charge of 60% of the charter price, less any deposit. Cancelation between 10 and 24 hours prior will result in a charge of 80% of the charter price, less any deposit. Cancelation in less than 10 hours prior and failure to show on the day of charter will result in a charge of 100% of the charter price, less any deposit. If the captain cannot run the trip due to unsafe weather conditions or other unforeseen difficulties, we will try to reschedule you, if unable, no charges will apply and you will received a refund of 100% of any deposit paid. The captain reserves the right to refuse passengers who are a threat to safety or otherwise disruptive. He also can cut a trip short without a discount if a passenger becomes problematic.
WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT GETTING OUR FISH CLEANED?
Once the fishing season is in full swing, there is a fish cleaning service available at the marina. We will assist you in getting your fish to the marina's processor. The cost is ordinarily determined by the pound. If you plan to keep fish, you need to bring a cooler that you can leave in your vehicle while fishing. If the marina's fish cleaning service is not available, the captain can recommend a conveniently located fish market. We are not aware of any do-it-yourself fish cleaning facilities because wildlife regulators want the fish processors to keep track of what is caught.
IS ALL BAIT PROVIDED?
We recommend that our customers purchase live bait only during Red Snapper Season (June 1 to mid-August). We will have cut bait on hand, but we find that live bait increases our odds when trying to catch Red Snapper and Grouper.
As the charter boat heads out to the fishing grounds, it makes a stop by a bait barge standing by offshore with holding pens of live bait. Anglers transact directly with the bait guys. We recommend a purchase of approximately $10 per passenger. You will need cash.
Availability of live bait hinges on environmental challenges such as bad weather. We often tweak departure times to improve our chances of getting live bait.
Please watch our short video of purchasing live bait.