Budgeting For a Family Fishing Adventure

    By Jill Martin

    Most kids love to fish and mine are no exception. So each summer before my boys head back to school, we book a half-day fishing trip with Captain Rob Modys of Soulmate Charters. He fishes out of FishTales Marina in Fort Myers Beach, a short drive from Sanibel where we spend our week’s vacation.

    We literally save all year to fish with Capt. Rob. Not that he’s expensive, but fishing in general can leave scuffmarks on any family’s budget. That’s why we have a "shelling jar."

    Technically, it should now be called a "fishing jar," but when I first started chartering Capt. Rob, it was for half-day shelling charters. He'd take us to the out-islands of Captiva to hunt for seashells on deserted beaches. But now that the boys are older, well, shelling morphed into fishing.

    About the Shelling Jar

    It’s just a tall, clear container (formerly home to pretzels) where we throw our coins, every day. When it gets full, we dump it into the coin counter at the bank. Come vacation time, we withdraw the money we’ve saved (about $500)! We even have money leftover to take Captain Rob to lunch. Another tradition.

    To give you an idea about charter boat pricing, smaller boats used mainly for backcountry fishing (2-4 anglers) range from $350-$500 for a half-day (4-hours). Expect to pay about $900-$1200 for an 8-hour fishing trip on the bigger boats that will take you deep-sea fishing. They're worth every penny, especially when you have a great guide who knows his or her stuff, and is good with kids. (Not every guide is, so be sure to seek recommendations.)

    For more info about fishing in Florida, ask our VISIT FLORIDA Fishing Insiders, Terry Gibson on Florida’s east coast, and Terry Tomalin on the west. They’ll hook you up with all kinds of great advice.

    Now, start that shelling jar! I mean fishing jar! And take your kids fishing – you’ll love every minute of it. And they will, too.