Let’s talk marketing for a sec. Now, I know what you’re thinking:
“Ugh, marketing. Can’t I just, you know… fish?”
(If you’re not thinking that, you should be.)
I hear you.
But as a wise, old sage once said: “You can’t catch fish… without putting your line in the water.” (I think it was Jimmy Houston.)
Let’s look at getting you some more bookings—and make it as painless as possible.
I promise, we won’t say the word “algorithm” once. (If you want those kind of articles, here’s a good one.)
Get a Website
Whether you call it a website, a “web site,” just a site, it’s the backbone of your online presence.
And despite what all those pre-written podcast ads would love for you to buy into—Squarespace isn’t going to cut it if you want to grow a successful fishing charter business.
Sure, they might be “good enough” to get your feet wet—but think about it this way.
your website is your online storefront. It’s the first thing potential clients see when they search for your services. If your website is an off-the-shelf, cookie-cutter design with minimal functionality, you’ll blend in with the rest and fail to make a lasting impression.
A professionally designed website not only looks sharp, but it’s also tailored to appeal to your target audience—the anglers who are itching to embark on an unforgettable fishing experience with a trusted guide.
An expertly-crafted website will showcase your skills, your knowledge of local waters, and your unique selling points—everything that sets you apart from competing fishing guides. (Hey, we get it—you’re probably buddies with those other guides. But at the end of the day, it’s still your business, and you want it to stand out.)
Now, a good website design for fishing charters doesn’t need to be the digital equivalent of the Sistine Chapel, but it does need to make a good first impression.
For your website launch, stick to the essentials: who you are, what you offer, where you operate, and—of course—an easy way for potential new clients to contact you. A few pictures of happy clients holding their catches won’t hurt either.
Here’s a more detailed list of essential elements to include on fishing charter websites:
- Who you are: Introduce yourself and your business.
- What you offer: Describe your fishing guide or charter services. Explain whether you provide half-day or full-day trips, equipment, the types of fish targeted, and so on.
- How much it costs: Providing pricing for different trips is usually a good idea for fishing guides, but it’s not always 100% necessary. If you do post trip pricing information, just make sure to be transparent about your rates for different trip lengths or group sizes, and if any additional fees or costs might be involved.
- Where you operate: Specify your fishing locations and areas served.
- Contact information: Make it easy for potential trip bookers to reach you. Include contact forms, your phone number, and/or an email address. Preferably all three, so they can choose their preferred method of communication. More advanced fishing charter website development can even integrate calendars/booking apps, which make it even easier for potential customers to schedule trips.
- Frequently Asked Questions: An FAQ section or page on your site is a good way to address common questions customers might have, removing one more “hurdle” to them actually booking a trip with you. By providing this info upfront, you’ll not only save yourself time by reducing phone calls and emails (well, in theory at least), but also show that you’re a knowledgeable and professional guide.
Consider pre-answering common customer questions like:
- What should customers bring? Specify any gear, clothing, food, or other items they need to have with them.
- Do they need to get permits? Explain if clients must obtain fishing licenses or permits themselves, or if you’ll assist in the process.
- Are permits included in the package? Make it clear whether the cost of permits is included in your service or if it’s an additional expense.
- Are there any other fees? Be transparent about any extra costs that customers might encounter, such as parking fees, bait costs, or gratuities.
- Include any other questions you regularly receive. This way, your clients will have all the necessary information before they even need to pick up the phone or shoot you an email—streamlining your sales funnel.
And don’t forget:
- Trip photos: Include at least a few pictures of happy clients proudly holding up their catches. When it comes to marketing fishing adventures, the more of these you can show, the better.
Get on Social Media
Now that you have your website, it’s time to tackle the beast known as social media.
Don’t let all the 12-year-olds on TikTok intimidate you; this is your chance to show off your fish-catching prowess to a wide audience.
Start by setting up a Facebook and Instagram account.
As far as reaching fishermen, you can’t go wrong with Facebook. It’s a versatile way to communicate with your clients, post updates about your trips, and share photos and videos of exciting catches. To make the most out of your Facebook page:
- Create a dedicated business page, separate from your personal account.
- Complete all the required information, such as business hours, contact details, and services offered.
- Regularly post engaging content, like articles, tips, and local fishing news.
- Interact with your followers and respond to their comments and messages in a timely manner.
- Run occasional promotions, such as discounts for referrals or off-season specials.
Instagram is perfect for showing off those amazing catch-of-the-day pics (naturally, the bigger the fish, the better).
To effectively use Instagram for your business:
- Set up a business account, and optimize your profile with a catchy bio and contact information.
- Post high-quality, visually appealing photos that will captivate your audience.
- Use relevant hashtags, such as #fishing, #grouper, #bassfishing, and location-based tags, to increase your visibility in searches.
- Engage with your followers by responding to their comments and direct messages.
- Regularly engage with your audience, share content from other fishing-related IG profiles, and be generous with the likes and comments. (But make them real, don’t just post emojis or generic nonsense. It’s not 2015 anymore. The average Instagram user can recognize spam comments from a mile away.)
Get a GMB Listing
You might not have encountered the acronym GMB (it stands for Google My Business), but it’s the secret sauce that’ll help your business stand out in search listings. (Well, one of the sauces, anyway.)
It’s the reason why some of your buddies’ businesses show up on Google Maps when you search for, say, “fishing guides near me.”—and others’ don’t.
Head to Google My Business, claim your business listing, and make sure it’s up to date with your latest contact info, website link, and trip photos. Now, there’s a lot more to it than that—otherwise we’d all be booked up to November 2025—but this is an essential step that will lay the foundation for local search engine optimization (local SEO) for your fishing business.
Gently encourage your clients who have had a great time on a fishing trip with you to leave an honest review on Google to help build your reputation. This can be as subtle as a quick note on your business card or a friendly reminder in a follow-up email. The key is to make them feel comfortable sharing their experience, rather than pressuring them into writing a glowing review.
Authentic feedback from satisfied customers will speak volumes and encourage even more people to book trips with you.
Email Marketing (Yep, It’s Still a Thing)
Right about now you might be thinking, “email marketing? What is this, 1999?” And that would be an understandable reaction.
But when it comes to the fishing charter niche, email marketing is still a fantastic way for guides to stay in touch with past clients and reach out to new ones.
Collect email addresses on your website and through social media, then use an email marketing platform like Mailchimp or Constant Contact to keep folks informed. Share seasonal promotions, discounts, and fishing tips.
Just don’t make the common mistake that many fishing guides and captains do when they’re trying to get started digital marketing for the first time: bombarding your list with too many volleys of messages in a short period of time—that’s a quick way to get a lot of people to locate the “unsubscribe” button.
Network, Network… and Network Some More
Good old fashioned networking is still a great way to grow your fishing guide business. And chances are, you’ve already done a lot of it before you arrived at this article. Still, it bears reminding.
Join clubs, attend local events, and spread the word about your business among friends and family. As you know, referrals are worth their weight in gold for fishing guides.
But enough “things you already know”—let’s mention a few advanced networking tactics:
- Collaborate with Local Businesses – Why not partner up with a local tackle shop, marina, or seafood restaurant? You can cross-promote each other’s businesses and reach a wider audience.
- Sponsor Local Charities – Suggest a youth fishing tournament, for example, or contribute to an environmental/clean up initiative for your local waterways.
- Partner with Fishing Influencers – Much more on that here.
- Build Relationships with Travel Agencies and Hotels – Both of these often recommend activities to their customers. Why not make sure they’re recommending you? Introduce yourself to these establishments, and offer a special rate and perhaps a small finder’s fee for referring clients. This can be a steady source of new customers, especially if your area is a major tourist destination like Florida, or the South Carolina Grand Strand.
These are just some ideas, but if your word of mouth is good enough, you might not even need to do any of them. Never underestimate the power of a satisfied client singing your praises. A happy client is likely to refer you to their friends, family, and fishing buddies.
Treat your clients well and go the extra mile to make their experience comfortable and memorable. Offer incentives like a discount on their next trip for every referral they bring in, or for posting photos/videos from their trip with you on social media. You know, like this one:
Alright, maybe not every single trip will result in one of your customers landing a leviathan of the deep. But you get the general idea. Encourage them to tag you in their posts and use hashtags relevant to your charter business. This will help you tap into a larger audience and expand your reach, ultimately driving more bookings.
Marketing for Guides & Charters: The Bottom Line
Many business owners are practical people, knowing the importance of making smart decisions that yield results. But fishing guides who own their own businesses tend to be as practical as they come.
It’s clear that marketing online is essential for growing your client base and getting more bookings. But it doesn’t have to consume all your time and energy.
Now that you’ve got the basics down, consider enlisting the help of “digital marketing guides”—like the team at Page One Fishing. We get fishing guides—and with our digital marketing expertise and experience, you’ll have more time to focus on what you do best: creating unforgettable fishing experiences.