“Truth is stranger than fishin’ ” Jimmy Buffett
PARTY BOAT LISTINGS AND Updated REPORTS (with links) with useful TIPS AND GENERAL RULES (scroll past listings)! IF YOU KNOW A PARTY BOAT THAT I AM MISSING, PLEASE FORWARD A LINK AND I WILL CREATE A LISTING firstname.lastname@example.org
ANZ300-180315- 1033 AM EDT Fri Aug 17 2018 .Synopsis for the Long Island Waters and New York Harbor… A cold front approaches today and then moves across the area waters on Saturday. A wave of low pressure is forecast to develop on the cold front, slowly passing south and east of Long Island Sunday into Monday. A warm front approaches on Tuesday, lifting through Tuesday night. $$
ANZ338-180315- New York Harbor- 1033 AM EDT Fri Aug 17 2018 TODAY S winds 5 to 10 kt with gusts up to 20 kt, increasing to 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt late. Waves 1 ft or less, then around 2 ft this afternoon. Chance of tstms and slight chance of showers early this afternoon. Chance of showers and tstms late. Vsby 1 to 3 nm this afternoon. TONIGHT S winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt, becoming SW 5 to 10 kt after midnight. Waves around 2 ft in the evening, then 1 ft or less. Showers and tstms likely. Vsby 1 to 3 nm in the evening. SAT W winds 5 to 10 kt. Waves 1 ft or less. Chance of showers and tstms. SAT NIGHT NW winds around 10 kt, becoming NE after midnight. Waves 1 ft or less. Chance of showers and tstms. SUN NE winds 10 to 15 kt. Waves 1 ft or less, then around 2 ft in the afternoon. Chance of showers. SUN NIGHT NE winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt. Waves around 2 ft. Chance of showers. MON NE winds 5 to 10 kt. Waves 1 ft or less. MON NIGHT E winds 5 to 10 kt. Waves 1 ft or less.
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A little background on party boat fishing in NYC and some useful tips
In the past two decades or so, there has been a significant investment in waterfront access, with improved facilities and infrastructure. A vast improvement in water quality since 1972’s Clean Water Act changed the way we deal with pollution has meant the return of many species of fish to our local waters.
I am from New York City. I have had to work with what was in front of me. I may never enjoy the execution of a perfect 10 to 2 fly cast over a moving stream that lands right in the sightline of a nasty, ol’ daddy trout sitting just behind that rock right there, but I do know a thing or two about putting fish in the bucket.
Party Boat Fishing
“If people concentrated on the really important things in life, there’d be a shortage of fishing rods.” -Doug Larson
Party Boats, sometimes known as Head Boats or Open Boats, are a category of commercial sport fishing boats that charges a fee per passenger for regularly scheduled trips.
Like a train or plane, the boat has posted departure and return times, holds a set number of passengers, and charges the same fixed fee for most voyagers. Kids and seniors get a discount on most boats. They will supply you with a rod, tackle and bait (some charge a small fee for the use of rods, some provide them free with your fare).
The number of anglers on a trip depends on the size of the boat, and the cost of the trip. The less the trip costs, and the bigger the boat, (also the shorter the trip), the more people will be on the boat. Skill levels of the fisherman vary greatly.
If the trip is taken during the local tourist season, and the trip is during the day, expect a number of ‘riders’ (people who go out just for the ride-not to fish) and extremely novice anglers. If you want to avoid the crowds take your trip during bad weather, off-season, long trips, or ‘limited party’ (costs more hence fewer folks).
You can find a good listing of these boats at the bottom of this page.
General Rules for Party Boats
Proper etiquette is a MUST for party boat fishing for all who sail. You may be with a group of friends; another group might have a family with kids; a third might be a group here from another country, everyone gets along.
I’ll give you a few tips on making it a fun day:
1) Always obey the Crew and Captain. Their goal is to keep you and all the other anglers happy, since without your money they will go broke. Most of the time, with a good professional crew, this is not a problem. They do this for a living and it is there business to put you on fish.
2) Always be aware of those around you (right, left, and when casting-behind). Watch out for kids. Most bad tangles can be avoided if you pay attention to your line. Otherwise, oh boy! “No pulling in the back!”
3) Be knowledgeable of local species, and local laws. Often a single illegal fish on a boat can result in very large fines for both boat Captain and the offending angler. When in doubt, ask the crew or release the fish. A few mates break the spines of nuisance species like dogfish. I am not down with this unnecessary killing and make a point of saying that when I hook one. Click for a current list of NYS DEC Fishing Regulations
4) Exercise patience, kindness, and courtesy. Cursing loudly, while common among most of us anglers when fishing alone, can offend others on a party boat. Never drink excessively. It is common respect not to get all banged up on a boat. “Don’t disrespect the Bing!”
5) Chill out. If your lines get tangled, don’t get frustrated or try to assess blame-it goes with fishing elbow to elbow, and can be a good way to make friends.
6) HAVE FUN! A party boat is a great place to meet other anglers and ‘trade lies’ as fishermen often do. There is more to fishing than just catching fish.
What should I bring on a party boat?
1) Food, Beverages. Hot coffee helps with the early morning chill. Hydration is key on hot days I recommend fruit juices and cold bottles of water. While I do occasionally indulge in a beer or two, I find that too much hurts my fishing abilities and makes me take too many trips to the ‘head’. Drinking a few beers is part of the experience for many anglers on a hot day, but remember it is a privilege afforded to you by the Captain. Some boats have decent galleys and sell food and drinks on board so call the boat’s Captain before your first trip for the low-down. I usually find it best to pack a couple of sandwiches for the trip.
2) A camera phone (sealing it in a Zip Lock Bag to prevent it from getting wet) for those special moments.
3) Extra Clothing. In the spring, it can be much cooler on the water then on land. Dress in layers. Even on warm days, bring an extra layer or two.
4) Rain Gear, if there is even a chance of weather.
5) Sunscreen and Polarized Sunglasses. You will bake in the sun. SPF on ears, face, under chin and neck. The reflection of the sun off the water is strong and can burn too.
6) An old towel or t-shirt to wipe your hands on.
7) Warm, non-slip shoes that can get wet.
8) Bring a cooler to keep your food and beverages cold and to bring your fish home.
9) Tools: Pliers, Scissors, Folding Knife, extra line, and a tackle box or bag that can get wet.
10) Sturdy fishing tackle. Just about every boat will have decent rods for you to use. If you are going to fish a few times each years, you will soon want to invest in your own. It can get personal.
11) A waterproof bag or heavy plastic bag to put you non-fishing gear stuff in. You are on the water and things get wet.
12) Any specialized baits not provided by the boat (call the boat first and check reports online or in the papers).
13) Cash in small denominations (usually I bring some ones and fives, in addition to my fare). You will need it to tip the crew (ask regulars what is customary), to buy extra tackle, to pay for fish cleaning, to buy snacks and to enter the pool.
14) Aspirin (or equiv.) and/or Dramamine (for those sea-sick prone-take one BEFORE you leave the dock).
15) A GOOD ATTITUDE! It is a great day to forget your city strife and experience a bit of nature. Enjoy yourself on the high seas!
Spend enough time on the sea and you will see many strange things. I have had days on the water when fish sacrificed themselves on every cast. Bluefish, when feeding, are as voracious as any shark of your imaginations. Big ones go 17+ pounds and they will rip up your arms if you hook into one. I have been lost, in fog on rough seas. I have seen a man die standing to my right as I caught fish on a night trip on the Brooklyn III on a Friday in 1978. I have lost fish so big that they devour my soul with their silent, deep sea mocking. Be that as it may, I love being on the water.
Party boat fishing is the easiest way to go from landlubber to fisherman in a New York minute. Here are some tips to get you on your way.