Florida Keys Fishing FAQ | General Information | Main Attraction2020-01-24T18:00:25+00:00
General Information

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Click on a question below to get a quick answer to some of the more frequently asked questions about our Florida Keys fishing charters. If you have more questions always feel free to call us at (305) 289-0071 or visit our contact page.

Why don’t you take more than 6 Passengers on one boat?2019-07-30T21:26:07+00:00

Firstly, the number of passengers that can be carried on a charter boat has little to do with the Captains license. Many of our captains have higher grade license than a six pack. Due to U S Coast Guard Law, almost all Florida Keys charter boats carry a Max of 6 passengers. Passengers include any person going on the charter even if they do not fish.  A baby, or child is consider a passenger.

If a Charter boat is going to be able to legally carry more than six passengers, it has to have high rails around the boat similar to a head-boat or cruise ship. It is impossible in the Fl Keys to experience the many of types of fishing available for customers to enjoy with such high rails, which should be up to your chest, on the back of the boat.  You can only reef fish with these chest high rails, and even that is very hard to do it in the proper manner.

 We suggest that you take out two of our smaller boats, or one smaller boat and one larger boat to get out your group of more than six. These boats can fish very close to each other, often within talking distance.


Do your boats have bathrooms onboard?2020-01-17T18:59:02+00:00

Yes, all 5 of our boats in operation have full bathrooms on board. The Main One has two bathrooms.

What should I bring on the trip?2019-07-30T21:26:37+00:00

We recommend bringing food and drinks and other personal issues (ie. sunscreen, towel, hat, etc.). The charter provides the licenses, rods/reels, bait, tackle, and coolers with ice. Coolers are provided on the boat for the trip but if you have a long ride home you will need one to transport your fillets. We also recommend a Camera to take great photos of your catch! Read more about what is included in your trip here!

What happens to the fish I catch?2019-07-30T21:26:59+00:00

They are all your fish to keep as long as each caught fish meets the current regulations and laws in regard to season, size and catch limit. Once back at the dock we will hang your fish for photos and then fillet and bag them for you. Most customers come for the fun but also to get some great eating food! Some customers prefer to catch, photo and release which we are also happy to do.

Note: We will filet and fill up  one 5 Gallon bucket of pure meat fillets for you which is 50lbs of meat! If you wish to keep more than that you may, but you must take the remaining fish with you as we can not spend 3 hours or more cleaning fish when we should be getting ready for our next days charter. Filleting your own remaining fish at our cleaning tables is also not allowed as per dock owner rules and for insurance reasons.

How do we get our fish home?2019-07-30T21:26:57+00:00

Main Attraction does not pack and ship fish, however, we have an amazing restaurant/fish market in town that we highly recommend http://brutusseafood.com. They can pack your fish to ship or fly with. If you plan to carry-on or check-in your catch please contact your particular Airline first to find out if they will allow it as the rules do vary.

Do I need to Tip the Captain and Mate?2019-07-30T21:27:36+00:00

Industry standard is 20%. On our larger vessels, where there is a Captain and Mate, they split the 20%, and on our smaller vessels, 20% goes to the captain, as he also is your Mate. Think of your Crew like waiters of the sea! The pay structure is very similar but the work is physically grueling as they work long hours and weekends. Our crews don’t just fish, they also catch live bait at sunrise and maintain the boats and fishing equipment.  They rely heavily on tips to make their living and feed their families.

Can we jump in the water and swim?2019-07-30T21:28:14+00:00

Unfortunately, no! First, when chumming the water, it is not a good idea to swim. Sharks and other large species may be present. And second, our boats do not have an egress to get out of the water.

What if I get Seasick?2019-07-30T21:28:30+00:00

We advise our customers who are unsure about seasickness to take a seasick pill the night before the charter and another one hour before the charter. Be sure to read the labels. Certain pills have warnings and not all people should take them, so always check with your Doctor first! These pills do usually work, however, in case of seasickness, the customer always has the option to end the trip early.

What footwear should I wear for my trip?2019-07-30T21:29:14+00:00

Please make sure you wear non skid footwear designed for wet conditions, or boating shoes. Flipflops are not consider boating shoes and are not safe to wear on a boat. (Wear them at your own risk).

Always wear these shoes while on the boat and dock area. Never go bare footed. Our boats do have the aniti skid on the floors, but the floor is always wet or damp. The dock area is always wet.

If you fall, and you are not wearing the proper footwear, there will not be any insurance coverage.

Do you have life jackets aboard your vessels?2019-07-30T21:29:33+00:00

Yes. We keep all of our vessels compliant with Coast Guard rules and Lifejackets are one of the requirements. All boats have them and our Captains will let you know where they are during safety orientation when you first board the vessel.

We do encourage those with little ones to bring a smaller life jacket along with them if they wish to, especially if they want their children to wear one during the trip. The commercial life jackets we have are large and heavy. This is a decision that each parent will have to make. But the side of the boats are high enough wear most small children can not get up on the sides of the boat. In all these years we have not had to use them thankfully, but it is always smart to be prepared.

What time do your trips usually depart?2019-07-30T22:40:10+00:00

These are typical seasonal departure times. Your actual trip will be determined based on weather conditions and livebait availability, all charters should check-in within 24 hours prior to the trip to confirm departure time. To check-in please call us at 305-289-0071 the evening before your charter.

May - September October - April
Day Charter (7 hours)07:00am - 02:00pmDay Charter (7 hours)08:00am - 03:00pm
3/4 Day (5.5 hours)07:00am - 12:30pm3/4 Day (5.5 hours)08:00am - 01:00pm
1/2 Day (4 hours)am07:00am - 11:00am1/2 Day (4 hours)am08:00am - 12:00pm
1/2 Day (4 hours)pm12:00pm - 04:00pm1/2 Day (4 hours)pm01:00pm - 05:00pm
Are there any surcharges I should know about?2019-07-30T21:30:45+00:00

If you wish to Tuna Fish on the Hump there is an additional fuel surcharge of $100. This is because a trip to the Tuna fishing Grounds is a minimum 60 mile round trip.

Do we get a Mate on the smaller boats?2019-07-30T22:30:07+00:00

It is pretty common in the Florida Keys for boats around 30 foot or less to NOT include a mate. Our 32′ Priority the Main Attraction V and our 32′ Seahunter Center Console which comfortably accommodate parties of 4 are operated solely by a Captain. This means if you book a trip on one of our 2 smaller boats, typically your Captain will also act as your Mate. This is a great option for smaller groups, customers on a budget, or customers that simply want to be more involved with fishing on the deck. Some clients even prefer to pitch and hook their own fish and ask the Captain to just drive them to the fish!  If you prefer to have a Mate tending to you throughout your trip or have a group of 5 or 6 people, we recommend you book one of our larger boats that have lots of deck space and include a Mate. When you book your trip with us give us a call to discuss your trip goals and level of experience  with our staff to make sure we find the perfect boat to suit your needs.

Do you organize or offer Split Charters?2019-07-30T23:17:15+00:00

A split charter is when one individual or group requests to join with another group on a charter to split the cost. A split charter at first glance may seem like a great idea to save a few dollars. However, most split charters will be on a larger boat and the cost of the larger boat is higher than just getting your own smaller boat. Splits also get canceled often when one of the two parties no shows after a late night on the town.

If you do not like the people you are splitting with you are stuck fishing with them for hours! You might find your trip cut short because the other party is seasick or you might get grief about wanting to cut the trip short because someone from your group is seasick! You may end up splitting your trip with “rod hogs” or end-up arguing about how to split your catch with the other group, even if you caught a larger portion of the fish. When considering a Split charter you must realize some customers smoke cigarettes, drink alcohol, and use profane language, there have even been cases of customers hitting on the other parties wife or girlfriend!

For these reasons we have 2 smaller 32’ boats in our fleet, perfect for groups of 4 or less. Click here to see your options and our view your choices and or rates. You may read more about the comparison between private and shared fishing charters here.

What is a Reef trip?2019-07-30T21:31:48+00:00

A Reef trip means you are fishing while anchored on the reef, with chum in the water, targeting Yellowtail Snapper, Mangrove Snapper, Grouper, Mackerel, etc. For more information about reef fishing and what you can catch visit our reef page.

What is an Offshore Trip?2019-07-30T21:32:01+00:00

An Offshore trip means you are fishing while off anchor and the motors are always running. This includes sight fishing, trolling, or kite fishing for migratory/pelagic fish that are on the move. Wreck fishing or Deep Dropping are also considered offshore because while the fish live at the bottom, it is far too deep to anchor so the motor must run throughout the trip. You can read more about the different types of Offshore fishing we offer here.

What is a “Combo” Trip?2019-07-30T21:32:18+00:00

A combo is a charter that often gives you a much better chance of catching fish from October-April because it combines several types of fishing in one trip; reef, wreck, and offshore. The Keys is the only place in the world that allows you to experience three different types of on the same charter. It can increase your chances by a huge margin of having a successful charter and more variety in your catch.

The Key to catching fish is to fish the conditions of the day. Fishing conditions are wind direction/speed, current direction/speed,and water color/temperature. Always listen to the advice of your Captain, if he recommends a Combo he is not trying to up-sell you, he only does this if he thinks it is necessary to put together the best catch and fishing experience for your money.

If you decide only to Reef fish that is fine with us, especially if the bite is hot!  However, please understand if the Reef fishing is slow or the conditions are not very good for Reef fishing, then you limit your Captain’s options to catch fish. Yes your captain will try other spots, but most of the time it does not help, because wind and current will be the same through the Reef. By giving your Captain and Crew other options you maximize your potential to put together a great catch!

Can we catch a Mahi, a Grouper, a Swordfish, a Yellowtail, and a Unicorn in a half day?2019-07-30T21:32:37+00:00

This is my favorite question! First off, a swordfish is 30+ miles offshore and each drift can last up to forty-five minutes. Second, Mahi can be anywhere from 10-30+ miles offshore. Yellowtail and grouper are typically found on the reef. So to answer the question, in a ½ day, no that is impossible.  It is always best to book the trip length you are comfortable with and let the Captain read the conditions and see what you have the best chance of catching but you certainly should let him now what your goals are.

How often do your rates change?2019-07-30T21:33:01+00:00

Our rates are based on seasonality. The website reflects whatever the current rates are. If you are scheduling a trip very far in advance you should always confirm what the rates will be when you fish. We do have plans to add additional functionality to our website to view what rates will be in the future seasons.

 ALL rates are subject to change, especially, in the event of an unexpected rapid increase in fuel prices. Please check this website for updated rates before your charter, for the time period you are coming. If there is a sudden and unexpected change to our rates and you wish to cancel your reservation, or reduce your time of fishing to ½ or ¾ days, we would be completely understanding.

What are your Tournament rates?2019-07-30T21:33:14+00:00

Tournament Fishing Terms are as follows;

Call us at (305)-289-0071 to discuss the tournament rates
for each specific tournament.

Minimum rate: $1500 per day + Fuel Costs
Minimum tip for captain: $200
Minimum tip for mate: $200

The customer will also be responsible for the following items if they apply;

  • Dockage
  • Hotels
  • Registration fees
  • Calcutta Money
  • Travel Expense of Captain and Crew



No Fish No Pay Guarantee

We have confidence that our new customers will appreciate the hard work and effort that The Main Attraction Fishing Team does for them, especially on the days the bite is slower. Customers and anglers should realize that while Florida Keys fishing is some of the best in the world every day  is different. Our repeat customers realize this fact. Some days you catch lots of fish and other days the bite is slower. We work very hard and try different things to find what is working on any given day but will also advise you if we believe the bite is off due to conditions. You have the option to call the trip early and come in early and pay only for the time we have fished. Main Attraction likes “CATCHING NOT FISHING”. You should listen to the advice of your Captain as many times we can fish for different species than the original species targeted and still have a good day. But, if The Main Attraction Fishing Team is “skunked”, our “Full Day” fish guarantee goes into effect.

Our guarantee: If we don’t catch fish (“Full Day” trip only), all you pay is a customary tip of 20% of the trip cost to the Captain who will split it with his mate if he has one. This guarantee is intended to relax the anxious angler or new customer on the Main Attraction. It also proves that we will produce fish for you.

Your charter must be based upon a full day (7 hours). There are no guarantees on ½ day or ¾ days trips. The customer must let the captain select the species of fish based on the fishing conditions for that day and what is in season; he is a professional – he knows what’s best, please listen to his advice. He will tell you the truth.

If you insist on fishing for only one type of species despite conditions, seasonality or the Captain’s advice the Full Day Guarantee is null and void. Billfishing, Tarpon, Tuna fishing, customer seasickness and angler error are also exempt from the guarantee. While the Main Attraction is one of the best at Billfishing; (our record is 61 Sailfish in one day trip) a trip focused solely on catching Sailfish can not be guaranteed, it takes time and special techniques to find Sailfish and there is no guarantee once you do find them they will take the bait. If a customer has to come in early or can not catch fish due to seasickness or simply loses fish after fish due to basic angler error the trip will also not be free.

When you board The Main Attraction, all you need to do is sit back and relax. The pressure is in good hands of your captain. He has confidence that the bite will be on soon and he will have you in the right place at the right time to catch your fish. On those slow days is when you really appreciate that you have selected the hard working Main Attraction Fishing Team!!

Cancellation Fees

If you need to cancel your charter(s) for any reason we require 48 hours’ notice. Other Florida Keys fishing charter companies will charge you for the entire charter or at the very least you would lose your deposit. Since at Main Attraction we do not charge upfront deposits for bookings or expect you to pay for the entire charter, we simply have a cancellation fee for last minute cancellations and no-shows. If you cancel within 48 hours of the scheduled trip, we will charge you a cancellation fee of $250 for a half day trip and $500 for a 3/4 or Full Day trip. If you cancel with less than 48 hours’ notice on multiple boats and/or trip bookings the cancellation fee will apply to each separate trip you are canceling. Not showing up for your charter at all without warning is an automatic cancellation fee. Our crews wake up at 4am and spend hours catching live bait and fueling up to prepare for morning trips and to no-show is an awful thing to do to them. If extenuating circumstances arise please contact us immediately so we can determine the situation and try to rebook the boat to avoid the cancellation fee. If you are worried or concerned about forecasted weather please contact us to discuss. The purpose of this policy is not to make you fish in poor conditions, it is simply to offset the thousands of dollars a year in losses due to customers booking trips and canceling last minute or no-showing. If it is determined by Main Attraction personnel that weather or fishing conditions will be a hindrance to the quality, enjoyment, and/or safety of the customer(s) during the scheduled fishing trip the customer will be notified and offered the option to either reschedule the trip or to cancel the trip without penalty. The quickest way to reach us is to call 305-289-0071.

Good Weather Guarantee

We will make the determination if the weather is calm enough, and good enough to fish, and if we believe it is not we will cancel the charter for free. No fees will be charged and any deposits if applicable will be refunded. Normal seas in the Keys is 2-4 foot. If we believe the seas will be higher we will tell you based upon our 40 years experience. Remember the rougher it is the better the fishing often, so it is up to you whether you choose to fish or not. Sometimes seas will be higher than 2-4 feet but might be when the fishing is the best so we will advise you.

A Note About Winter Season Fishing Nov-Feb.

The nice thing about the Keys since it runs East to the West, the land shelters the areas where we fish this time of the year, since the primary wind direction is out of the North. Therefore, the islands, give us shelter from the heavy winds. There can be North winds, 20-30 Kts, but where we fish, the seas will be only 2 foot. Fish always feed better when the seas are a little choppy. It is often harder to catch fish in the Keys when it is still and calm.

Almost all the fish to be caught in the fall and winter are no more than 5-7 miles out, from 30 feet to 100 feet never fishing over 300 feet deep. From the patch Reefs, 3 miles out, to the Reef, which is about 4-5 miles from shore, in less than 20 minutes most days, you are fishing. If the conditions are right we can also have you fishing sunken wrecks about 7 miles out.

During the Winter most baitfish are on the patch reefs, and deep reef, drawing all species to come in to the shallow waters to feed on them. It is a great time of the year to fish. While  Fishing in the Keys is almost always good, the  conditions are what determine the bite. Some days the bite is very good, others it is slower.

As long as you fish with a professional captain with local knowledge and listen to their advice of what species you should target on your day of fishing based on conditions, you should catch fish.


Our rates are based on seasonality. The website reflects whatever the current rates are. If you are scheduling a trip very far in advance you should always confirm what the rates will be when you fish. We do have plans to add additional functionality to our website to view what rates will be in the future seasons.

Also, ALL rates subject to change, especially, in the event of an unexpected rapid increase in fuel prices. Please check this website for updated rates before your charter, for the time period you are coming. If there is a sudden and unexpected change to our rates and you wish to cancel your reservation, or reduce your time of fishing to ½ or ¾ days, we would be completely understanding.

Our Full Day Guarantee!