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Party Boat Fishing in Ocean City, MD

I really need a day off!”

There’s nothing like having a whole day off and spending it out on the water. What better way to have a carefree day then to go out on a party boat. Besides setting an alarm and getting to the boat on time, all the serious decisions are made by the captain. All you have to do is show up, and go along for the ride!

Well, maybe just a few words of preparation…. If you are prone to motion sickness, take along a sea sick pill. Don’t party hard the night before and get a good night’s sleep. Be sure to have a good pair of sunglasses, a hat, some sunscreen and a pair of shoes that won’t slide on the deck. If you are keeping your catch, carry a cooler with some ice along with some drinks and something to eat. Carry extra money so you can rent a rod, tip the mate and pay for your fish cleaning.

I went out with Capt. Monty on the “Morning Star” last week, and it was HOT! I was really glad I carried along a couple bottles of water and some Gatorade. It’s really important to hydrate yourself and replenish your body with water and electrolytes when you are sweating and cranking in fish! I heard some guys saying that they drank a lot of water the night before when they heard it was going to be nearly 100 degrees.

I think one of the best parts of the day when going out on a party boat is the ride out (and also the ride back in.) You can see bottlenose dolphins swimming by the boat and watch all the other boats heading offshore. You can see seagulls flying, baitfish jumping and sometimes even a whale! People meet new friends and chit-chat about past fishing experiences. It can be lots of fun. Even if you are a quiet type person, just listening to all the conversations can be entertaining.

Being in the tackle business, I hear it all the time. Some people go out and get disappointed that they didn’t catch many fish. Others don’t care at all and just want to take their kids out for the experience and a boat ride. If you are after a serious fish dinner or two, it’s usually always better to spend the extra money and time and fish on a full-day party boat. They can go out further and spend more time fishing. On a full-day party boat you can expect to spend at least an hour or more getting to the fishing grounds.

When I was out on the party boat, I heard some ladies saying that they didn’t know anything much about fishing and probably wouldn’t catch much. Well, I looked around and they were laughing and cranking up fish and having a good time. Why? They listened to the captain and mate and did what they were told! It’s that simple sometimes…

When I went out, I spent some time making some special flounder rigs of my own. After I lost them to the bottom because I made the bottom hook too long and got snagged, the mate made me up a rig and guess what? I started catching more fish!

You can be the greatest fisherman in the world, but when you are in Ocean City on a certain wreck and the captain and mate tell you to fish or bait-up in a certain way, they know from experience what you should be doing. That experience may be from fishing the day before or from years and years of fishing. Look, watch, and listen….

So, when I went fishing on the “Morning Star” last week we were drifting along the bottom on an artificial reef site. There were sea bass and flounder biting at the same time. Which do you fish for? Well, both of course!

The captain and mate told us to put a strip of cut bait on the bottom hook. They had the bottom hook dressed up with bucktail teasers or plastic squids. They had strips of squid and other fish strips with the skin on so they stayed on the hook really good. We were told to make sure the strips did not ball up on the hook. They needed to dangle and stay straight so it would be attractive to the flounder that were lurking below. On the top hook, which was left bare, we were told to put on some fresh clam. I know all about clam! You pierce the hard part first and drape the yucky dark part of the clam over the tip of the hook. That’s the part the sea bass really like. You need to keep the clam bait fresh and if it gets chewed off, add more to it. Bigger bait, bigger bass!

Drop the rig while using anywhere from 4 to 8 ounces of weight so it goes to the bottom. You need to stay on the bottom to catch fish. For flounder, you need to jig a bit. Bounce, bounce, bounce, stop… jerk, jerk, jerk, stop…. It takes a little more finesse to hook a flounder than a sea bass. You have to let the flounder eat it for a moment before setting the hook. You want to hook sea bass ASAP! After fishing for a while, you will notice the difference between a sea bass bite and a flounder bite.

If you get a nice sea bass on, you can pull it out of the water and over the rail. If you get a nice flounder to the surface, don’t pull it out of the water. Yell for a net! If you know it’s a flounder in advance before seeing it, let someone know as you are pulling it up so the mate will be ready with the net. Flounder have a distinct feel when you are reeling them in. The rod tip will be moving up and down much more so than with a sea bass. A much bigger fight!

A full-day party boat trip is an adventure and well worth the money (as long as you don’t get sea sick of course.) The captain makes all the major decisions and takes care of the bait, rigs and fishing location. He gets you to the fishing grounds and gets you home safely. All you have to do is go along, and have a good time!

Good fishing…

Sue Foster is an outdoor writer and owner of Oyster Bay Tackle in Ocean City, MD and Fenwick Tackle in Fenwick, DE.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 08 August 2012 00:26