Some fishermen target specific species. For others, it’s all about the destination. They could look into their own backyards to grab a box of fish for the grill, or reap the catch of their life while on vacation. The Southeastern United States offers all of these opportunities, and professional fishing charter operators are ready to take everyone from beginners to veterans on an unforgettable trip.
What bites where and when?
Striped bass, also called redfish, are the main recreational catch in Chesapeake Bay, says Captain Rich Schott, who operates his Sport fishing in Chesapeake Bay from Queen Anne Marina on Kent Island in Stevensville, Maryland, April through December. âThere are trophy-sized rockfish averaging 20 to 40 pounds at the start of the season,â says Schott, whose fleet consists of two 52-foot vessels and one custom-built 40-foot vessel. Chesapeake Bay which can carry 6 to 10 fishermen. “Throughout the season we will also be catching blue fish, Spanish mackerel, black drum, croaker, blotch, plaice and perch.”
Schott bases its operations on Rudee Inlet and Inlet Station Marina in Virginia Beach from December to March. The rockfish there at this time are huge, averaging 20 to 50 pounds.
Further south, Captain Jeff Ross, owner / operator of the 55ft Carolina Style Custom Sport Fisherman Obsession, charters from Pirate’s Cove Marina in the Manteo / Nags Head area of ââthe Outer Banks of North Carolina. âI fish the Gulf Stream, which is only 35 miles offshore, and the outer continental shelf off Oregon Inlet. From January to December, you can fish for yellowfin, black fin, bigeye, and bluefin virtually any month. From April to November we also catch lots of white and blue marlin, sailfish, harpoons, dolphins and wahoos, with the best from May to September / October.
There is excellent fishing 12 months a year in South Florida where Captain Ray Rosher leads his Miss Britt Charters. âBlue water fishing is as close as 5 miles to shore,â says Rosher, whose Miami operation of Bayshore Landing Marina includes custom-built 34-foot and 43-foot boats. âThe Bahamas to the east are acting like a breakwater to prevent huge ground swells. We can fish from Palm Beach to Miami to Key West for everything from grouper, snapper, cobia, amberjack, trevally, mahi and wahoo to sailfish. We took out 100 sailboats last week (second week of April). We also offer specific swordfish outings, swordfish / sailboat combinations and night tarpon charters.
Choose your fishing charter
It is always good to find someone who has fished in a particular area and can recommend a boat / crew, says Obsessionit’s Ross. “I would also recommend searching the internet for boats, comparing the ships in that area, calling the captain and asking a few questions and smelling it.”
Ross adds, âPay attention to the fishing reports of an operation. You want a boat that fishes regularly, 5, 6, 7 days a week and has a lot of good catches. It’s much better than a boat that only brings in a catch every weekend or so. Good boats have good deals, fish weekdays and weekends, and that’s who you want to fish with, not part-time. This goes for both experienced and inexperienced anglers. A good charter boat should be able to satisfy people who have fished a lot as well as help, teach and show novices a good time.
âWe like novice anglers,â says Miss Brittit’s Rosher. âThese are the ones who are less demanding when it comes to fishing on the first trips and more focused on education, the kind treatment and patience of the crew and having a great experience. As they progress in their fishing careers, advanced techniques and deep sea fishing are at the center of their concerns. The first hurdle, however, is making sure someone is comfortable, relaxed, and happy. It is the basis of a long term fishing relationship.
Know before you go
Sports fishing charters can cost from $ 100 per person or from $ 600 to $ 1000 per boat for 6 to 10 anglers for an 8 hour trip on Chesapeake Bay at $ 1,300 to $ 1,900 per day for 4 to 6 anglers on an 8 to 9 hour trip off North Carolina or Florida .
It is usually not necessary to bring your own equipment.
Schott of Chesapeake Bay Sportfishing says, âOur charters are all inclusive, which means we provide rods and reels, gear, licenses and training. All our charter guests need to bring is what they would like to eat or drink.
Ultimately, ask in advance if you want to keep part of your catch to eat.
âOur crew will clean your catch at no additional cost beyond the amount you give them,â says Miss Brittit’s Rosher. âPlus, Monty’s restaurant here at the Marina will cook your catch for $ 4 a plate; you just ordered your sides in addition. There is nothing quite like eating fresh fish the very day you caught it!