I will share our tips so that you can create a memorable, once-in-a-lifetime fishing experience that will also be safe and affordable. We enjoyed such an experience while deep sea fishing in Cozumel, Mexico.
I highly recommend families with children hiring a private charter. In Mexico, the cost of a private charter is very reasonable. A private charter ensures that your child will get personal attention. If you happen to be in Cozumel, Mexico, we write about the charter company we chose here. The advertised rate for this four-hour charter (including drinks and snacks) is US $550. Since we were there in low season and brought our own drinks and snacks, we were able to get a significant discount. I am sure you can, too. Our deal became sweeter when our captain agreed to shave our price further in exchange for some photos. Don’t be afraid to ask for discounts.
As far as time is concerned, there’s no need to stay out all day. Four hours is long enough to catch fish without over-exhausting children. A lot of private charters will offer you a better price if they think they can take another group out later in the day.
Snacks on the Deep:
Bring lots of drinks and hydrating snacks. This can’t be emphasized enough. It’s hot and salty out on the ocean. Don’t forget to keep you and your child well-hydrated. Even if your tour includes drinks, this is one time where having your child’s favorite drinks and snacks aboard is a real bonus. This is the biggest protection you can have to keep everyone happy and feeling well. Along with that, don’t eat a heavy breakfast before your trip. Keep it light and hydrating. You don’t want to be seasick with a heavy, greasy meal.
Do wear life jackets. At the very least, if your child is under 12 (no matter how well they can swim), keeping a life jacket on is wisdom. In the unlikely event of a boating accident, even a good swimmer can panic. A life jacket, in my opinion, is not optional for young children. For the bigger folks, don’t board unless you are certain there are life vests for all.
Landlubbers (like us) need to be prepared for seasickness, no matter how calm the water. Ginger works fairly well for us. In the morning, I made ginger tea and brought small fresh slices for any queasiness. Nothing works as well to keep our tummies from caving into seasickness as Quease Ease. I carry a bottle in my travel bag everywhere we go. I have used it with success on trains, planes, buses, taxis and at sea. I like that it’s natural and can be used safely for children. Others have had success with sea sick bracelets or Dramamine. Dramamine can have adverse reactions, so I would not suggest your first dose at sea. Whatever your preference, it is easier to prevent motion sickness than it is to turn the feeling around on board. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of sea sick bags.
When I was researching deep sea fishing with children, the only advice I could find was, “kids make good bait.” In our experience, just like all other travel, as long as we were prepared and happy they were also. I had plenty of toddler snacks on board. We excitedly spoke to our children and talked about sea life. They loved the day. I would definitely take my toddlers on another fishing trip. Of course, it goes without saying to keep the little ones in sight. Most toddlers have a God-given sense of danger and will instinctively stay away from the edge.
Don’t forget that it’s appropriate to tip both the captain and his first mate. In many cases, crew members work entirely for tips. They try hard to make you happy. In the case of families, good crew members will do flips to help children have fun. It’s customary to give 15-20% of the charter price. We bring drinks along for the crew members, too. Our deep sea fishing experience for Josiah’s 13th birthday was incredible. Want to read more?
Have you taken a fishing charter? Tell us your experience!