Will I need to buy a fishing license?

  • No. Everyone on board is covered under the captain's license.

How do I make a payment? 

  • We require a 10% deposit to book a trip and you may pay with a Credit Card, Paypal, Check (minimum of 7 days in advance) or Cash.

What are the length of the trips offered?

  •  We offer a variety of trip lengths. 
    • 6 Hour
    • 8 Hour
    • 10 Hour

What experience level is necessary to book a charter?

  • None. From novice to expert, we welcome anyone to join us.

How many people can be in my group?

  • Our boat will accommodate up to 6 people but comfortably fish 4.

Are food and beverages included? 

  • No. You are responsible for your own food and beverages. We do provide bottled water and coolers with ice for your food and drinks.  
  • If weather permits, we can use the grill if you want to bring hotdogs or hamburgers.

Are alcoholic beverages allowed on board?

  • Yes.  NO GLASS BOTTLES! Plastic containers or cans only for the safety of everyone on board. Absolutely no under age drinking will be allowed. Drinking can be enjoyable while fishing, but remember that you are being exposed to the sun and can dehydrate faster than normal. The Captain ALWAYS reserves the right to limit the quantity for the safety of all passengers. 

Is fishing gear provided? 

  • Yes. We provide all of the tackle, rods & reels for the trip. We use high quality fishing line and it is changed on a regular basis. You are welcome to bring your favorite rod and reel if you like.

What do we use for bait?

  • The boat will have squid for bait, ballyhoo for trolling & mixed cut bait. Live bait is best for snapper fishing and you will have the option to purchase it if the bait boat is at the pass on the day of your fishing trip. It costs about $10 per person. Sometimes the Captain will have live pinfish or you choose to try to catch bait. 

What kind of clothing should I wear?

  • We recommend you avoid the sun as much as possible. Definitely pack a hat, sunscreen and sunglasses. Depending on the time of year a jacket or windbreaker would be advisable. There is a chance you may get wet! We will have towels on board, but you can bring one too!

What kind of shoes should I wear?

  • Boating shoes or sneakers are great. Please, NO black soles.

What is the cancellation policy?

  • We understand that sometimes things happen. If your trip is canceled by the Captain due to bad weather we will reschedule your trip to the next available date. Cancellations due to non weather related events by you must be made at least 7 days in advance prior to your trip date to receive a full refund or to reschedule your trip to avoid loosing your deposit. Any cancellations within the 7 day window will forfeit the deposit. It can take up to 30 days to process a refund.

Can I have a replica mount made of my fish? 

  • Yes. Captain Jesse will provide you with the information the taxidermist will need to recreate your spectacular catch! 

How much of a GRATUITY or TIP is considered customary?

  • If you had a great trip and are happy with the service provided, 15-20% of the trip cost is standard. A six-hour charter is equivalent to a ten-hour workday, when you consider preparing the boat, tackle, and equipment for the day, handling the charter, cleaning the catch, travel time, cleaning the boat and preparing for the next day. It is LOTS OF HARD WORK. Tips are not mandatory but are certainly appreciated.

What type of Charter trips are available?

  • A. (Near shore Fishing) is mostly done in the intracoastal and around bridges or near the pass. Near shore targeted species are Redfish, Trout, Cobia, Shark, Mackerel. Type of fishing: sight fishing, cast and reel with live and cut bait, trolling artificial diving lures and jigs.

  • B. (Offshore Fishing or Deep Sea Fishing) is mostly done in 50 feet + of water on the gulf side around offshore reefs and wrecks. Targeted species are Mahi Mahi, Wahoo, Tuna, Marlin, Sailfish, Snapper, Grouper, Cobia, King Mackerel and sharks. Type of fishing: bottom fish with live and cut bait or trolling with lures.

  • C. (Shark Fishing) often times a night trip and can be done in the bay or the gulf. Type of fishing: chumming, cut bait and bottom fishing.
  • D. (Specialty Trips) We also offer Dolphin Cruises, Special Engagements, Sunset & Champagne, Burials At Sea & Special Requests. If you are looking for a nice, fun and relaxing time with your friends or loved ones, we offer many non fishing boat trips. Please contact us if you are interested in a special type of trip. 

What are some of the most important things to bring with me?

  • Be sure to dress for the season! During the summer months shorts & t-shirts are a good idea. Sometimes a light wind breaker and a poncho for any unpredicted rain showers. Wear a hat, bring sunscreen & polarized sun glasses can also be important. Boat shoes or tennis shoes with non marking or white soles. Please avoid flip flops and bare feet for safety. Prepared food, snacks and drinks are advisable. Although we have plenty of dry storage, we do recommend a small water resistant bag to put all your personal items in.  For more detailed information please see our What To Bring page.

Is there anything we are not allowed to bring?

  • No glass bottles.
  • No Illegal Drugs.
  • No GPS devices.
  • No Weapons.
  • No Fireworks.
  • No Bananas! 

Is smoking allowed on the boat?

  • Fire is a hazard at sea. However, when the boat is idle Captain Jesse will permit you to smoke at the back of the boat. 

Will I get sea sick? 

  • If you or anyone in your party has ever experienced sea sickness before then we recommend you bring something to try and prevent it. There are many over the counter medications that help with sea sickness and we recommend you take it at the very least, 1 hour prior to boarding the vessel. If you are concerned, please seek the advice of a physician prior to your trip.

Will we get stopped by the Coast Guard or Fish and Game?

  • We do get stopped and boarded occasionally by both agencies and always comply with all requests and regulations. It is to ensure the safety of our passengers as well as to ensure that the survival of our Gulf Coast Fish populations stays healthy by complying with all of the state and federal guidelines issued. Captain Jesse is U.S. Coast Guard Licensed and U.S. Insured & CPR certified.

How soon do you recommend I book my charter trip?

  • We suggest you book your charter early. Most top ranked guides book charters months in advance, and they require deposits to secure dates. Please be sure to review the cancellation policy. Often times we can arrange last minute trips but we recommend you book as soon as you can to secure your desired fishing date. We recommend booking at least 2 weeks in advance.

Are children allowed to go on the trip?

  • Absolutely! Our Captain loves to share the joy of fishing with young anglers.  Please inquire if you have a special circumstance. Be sure to mention if small children or persons with special needs will be fishing so we can try to accommodate everyone. Please note that all children weighing less than 90 pounds will be required to wear a life vest at ALL times. No exceptions.

Do we get to keep all the fish we catch? 

  • As long as the fish meet the minimum size requirements and the season permits, you can keep the fish you catch. Captain Jesse will happily clean the fish for you before you head home so we recommend you bring a cooler for cleaned fillets. The only fish we won't land on the boat are sharks and billfish like Marlin or Sailfish for the safety of everyone aboard the boat. Fish taxidermy is done by using pictures and measurements we will take for you to provide them to recreate your spectacular catch!

Can I release my fish?

  • Yes, as long as you specify to the the Captain that it is your preference, otherwise all good eating fish will automatically be thrown on ice. You are not required to take the fish home if you don't plan on eating it. The Captain and his wife love a good fish taco! 

Am I guaranteed to catch fish?

  • Unfortunately, No. If fishing was guaranteed it would be called "catching." The Captain will do everything in his power to put you on fish. If one type of fishing isn't producing the captain will try to change it up. We've never been skunked yet!  The only guarantee with Gulf Life Charters is that you'll have a memorable time!

Is it safe?

  • Yes, the Captain is federally licensed by the United States Coast Guard to take up to 6 passengers fishing.  For communications we are equipped with a VHF radio, a cell phone, and an EPIRB. Captain Jesse will go over important safety instructions at the beginning of the trip about where to find life jackets,  fire extinguishers, and what to do in case of an emergency.  You can enjoy your trip knowing that you are safe and secure at sea, Captain Jesse's number 1 priority.

Why do fishing charters cost so much?

  • Maintaining and operating a safe, properly rigged quality fishing boat is expensive. There are many costs that one never sees on a fishing charter. For example: fuel, charter insurance, dock fees, bait & ice, quality tackle, boat maintenance, and many other factors are involved much like any other line of business. You get what you pay for in charter boats and we strive to keep our costs down to give you the best value in the area. Overall, the excitement of chartering and catching fish is well worth the expense.

Pensacola Beach, Florida 

with Captain Jesse Johnson

Gulf life charters

World Class Guided Fishing


Choosing a Fishing Charter out of all the great ones available can be challenging. Gulf Life Charters recognizes this and wants to do everything possible in order to make your decision easier. We've answered many of the most commonly asked questions to help you understand how we do things so that you can feel confident in your decision to book with us. Your safety is Capt. Jesse's top priority followed by his desire to ensure that you have a memorable fishing trip with lots of smiles, laughs and stories to take with you to last a lifetime.


We're outfitted to help you create a memory you won't soon forget!

Things to know before your trip