By Josh Boyd
Vacation Elation: Deep Sea Fishing Without Deep Pockets
A yearly vacation is among one of the most highly anticipated events of the year for many. With life’s daily stresses that are so prevalent in today’s fast-paced world, a temporary escape is often just what the doctor ordered.
A trip to the beach is an increasingly common venture for a substantial number of families every year. With 95,471 miles of American shoreline to choose from, the possibilities are all but endless for would-be beachgoers. It seems these days that every coworker and family friend that you encounter is planning for an upcoming beach getaway, and for good reason.
The pure beauty and splendor of our nation’s beaches is undeniable to those who have ever laid witness to their glorious sight. There is something to be said for the total sensory experience that can be enjoyed when admiring a coastal sunset to the accompanying sounds of the surf crashing against sandy expanses of shoreline.
However, as splendid as the beach can be in all its majesty, it is commonly some distance from the oak flats and rolling river bottoms that many outdoorsmen and women call home. This can, at times, leave an outdoor lover at heart seeking to bring a little added adventure to their vacation.
Fear not, for adventure and opportunity is located right at your hotel’s doorstep. When taking in all that coastal vacationing has to offer, you are never further than a few minutes from a world of excellent fishing. No matter your choice in seaside destination, there is a extensive array of game fish species to be caught and vast are the possibilities when planning such an adventure.
The obvious conclusion of many sportsmen in regards to a trip of this nature would be that although tempting, a beach vacation is already expensive enough without the addition of a private fishing charter being thrown into the mix. However, this is where thinking outside of the box is the ticket when making the best of a golden opportunity.
Private fishing charters can easily cost several hundred dollars or more for a day on the water. That is simply not practical for many who would jump at the opportunity to turn their family vacation into an outdoor adventure, and understandably so. Luckily for those in this predicament, a multitude of other options that won’t break the bank do exist.
One such option is a day trip aboard a party boat. No, not a boat full of rowdy spring break attendees, but rather a boat of significant stature that takes large parties out on the water at a single time. This can be a wonderful opportunity for those that long to experience the thrill of deep-sea fishing featured aboard a private charter but at only a fraction of the price.
Party boat fishing opportunities can typically be had at prices ranging between $50-$100 per angler for a half-day excursion. Aboard most boats, this fee will cover all needed fishing license and permit requirements, as well as equipment, tackle, and bait.
A party boat typically fishes 40-60 occupants on a given outing, and trips depart from the marina nearly every day of the year. Morning and afternoon trips are also commonly offered by these services as well. This open schedule can be a definite plus for those requiring flexibility to squeeze in a fishing trip where practical, while also partaking in normal beach-going activities that are standard of a family trip to the ocean.
Once aboard a party boat, anglers generally have roughly a one hour journey to their fishing destination. Upon arriving at the designated point at which you will be fishing, deckhands will show you to your spot along the rail and the gear that you will be using. With your hook baited, you will proceed to drop your line down to the depth predetermined by the ship’s crew.
Once fishing has begun, action can often be fast-paced. A wide variety of fish species can be caught during these outings including snapper, grouper, amberjack, and triggerfish, to name a few. Knowledgeable deckhands work from one end of the deck to another, assisting anglers in bringing their catch aboard.
Another cost-effective means of converting your family beach vacation into an impromptu saltwater angler’s retreat is by way of pier fishing. Many coastal destinations feature fishing piers that make an exemplary substitution in the absence of practical deep-sea fishing opportunities.
Pier fishing is perhaps the most cost-effective way to experience saltwater fishing. A multitude of these fishing piers feature bait and tackle shops that commonly offer rod and reel rentals for a daily or hourly rate. These rental fees are typically nominal in comparison to the price tag attached to any other various forms of saltwater fishing.
Fishing piers are well known for the large abundance of fish species that are often caught in their surrounding waters. Mackerel, redfish, and sheepshead are a few of the many fish species that pier anglers catch with regularity.
Once your fishing excursion has concluded, it is only natural for an angler to long for the taste of a fresh seafood dinner on the behalf of their catch. If this is the case, then a quick jog to the nearest marina will typically be your next stop.
Many marinas offer in house fish processing services for a reasonable fee that can be utilized by anyone who so desires. For those on a restrictive schedule, such as many vacationers, the relatively small fee attached to such a service is money well spent.
As you prepare for your family’s beach-bound vacation, do not be quick to dismiss saltwater fishing as an adventure for only those with much excess to spend. With a bit of forethought and internet research, you can quickly dial in on the saltwater fishing excursion that fits your needs. Be aware, however, once you receive your first taste of what saltwater fishing has to offer, you will be in constant longing for your next seaward adventure.