If you don’t have a boat of your own and you want to go fishing on the Gulf, party boats are a great option. Sure, they can get crowded. Yes, they’re slow and often roll around in a big sea. But a day of fishing aboard one is inexpensive, they rent gear in case you don’t have the appropriate tackle, and party boat captains tend to know where the good fishing spots are. Use these tips, to boost your catch the next time you board one.
- Go on a weekday. The biggest drawback to party boat fishing is that on weekends, the boat can be quite cramped. If you fish during the week, however, there will be a vastly reduced crew and problems like finding a spot at the rail, tangles with other anglers, and finding a seat during the ride out and back are suddenly solved.
- Bring your own fresh bait. Bait as a rule is supplied on party boats, but often it’s a day old, or may be a less expensive variety that doesn’t work quite as well. If you know there’s a favored bait for a particular species you want to catch, hit the tackle shop and grab some before you board the boat.
- Same goes for gear – if you have it, bring it. The tackle on party boats tends to be well-worn, and one-size-fits-all.
- Grab a spot at the rail near the stern of the boat. That’s where the transducer is, and the captain is sure to want to see the structure he’s positioning the boat over on the fishfinder. The stern may or may not turn out to be the hottest zone on the boat, but it’s almost always a safe bet for some level of action.
- Use slightly heavier gear and a bit more weight than you otherwise might. Since there are always lots of lines drifting out off the sides of the party boats, tangles are fairly common. By keeping your line as vertical as possible you’ll have fewer tangles. And by having a heavier rod and reel you can horse up smaller fish before they can swim in circles around someone else’s line.