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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fished the Capt Stacy yesterday for the first time. I had only been on a headboat once before in Florida, so I didnt really know what to expect. Along with me were my buddy and his wife and another friend. I had posted a few threads looking for advice last year and followed everything that was said. Got to the dock at 330am hoping for a spot on the back. At 330 there were already 9 people in front of me. We boarded and took off a few hours later with 76 fishermen on board.

Our first couple stops produced scup, trigger fish and silver snapper for us. As the day went on we also caught beeliners, american snapper, grunts, black sea bass, scamp and gag grouper and some other smaller things I cant remember. Other people also caught the same as above plus several amberjack were landed and an albacore.

Highlights of the day were the grouper I caught, being they were on my "to catch" list since getting the NC and this being my last summer here. I took home a scamp grouper and a gag, both just over the minimum size. My buddy also got a huge sea bass. Ended up measuring barely under 23". I also was reeling up something small at one point and got it halfway up when the fish was smashed and my rod double over. I fought it for a few minutes where it took several runs, but eventually it ended up under the boat and I was caught up on other peoples rigs. Wish I could have at least seen what it was because it sure did have some power.

Lessons learned from this were;
1- I will never go again during a holiday or a weekend trip. With 76 people on board, you would spend more time tangled with others than with your bait on the bottom. While I'm sure the owners of the boat are thrilled with the money they are making, most everyone agreed that there is no way that many people should be fishing that close together. It is what it is though, and I guess if I want less people Ill have to pony up at least double the money for a private charter.
2- Their rods, reels and rigs, while usable, are not user friendly. It took 3 rod combos for my buddy's wife before she got a working one. The rigs were fine if you wanted to catch the smaller fish, but before we even stopped the first time, I took their hooks off and put on my own 4/0 circle hooks. My catch rate was better than the rest of our group so between stops I switched out everyone's in our group. Eventually I got tired of using their rods and not feeling anything. I had brought a smaller spinning rod with me in case dolphin came by. It was a 6'6" rod rated to 4 ounces with a Penn 750 that had a 100 yard top shot of 30 pound mono and then 300 yards of braid. I tied up a double hook bottom rig with 50 pound leader material and used that the rest of the day. 12 ounces was too much for the rod, but it handled anything I caught that day just fine, minus the one crazy run. I will bring a heavier rod when I go back though. I recommend not using theirs if at all possible.
3- Cigar minnows were a day saver. I had brought them to light line out the back with, but not getting a spot there meant that they sat in the cooler. After a while I put on a 9/0 circle and hooked a whole cigar minnow by the tail and dropped it down. Immediately I pulled up a grouper. I started doing that with one of the hooks for the rest of the day and hooked several times into nice fish.

I had a great time at least, was sore by the end of the day and had some fish to take home for dinner. I think next time Ill do a private charter though so I can cross a few more species off my list with less people to fish around. Overall it was a way better day than if I had just stayed home and mowed the lawn.
 

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How much did this trip cost? Always thought about doing this. Also, it sounded like they provide everything you need including tackle and bait (even if it was subpar)?
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Speck, where are you finding private charters for $450 to $600? How many people is that for. FWIW a bottom fishing trip on the procrastinator (heard things about them so that's why I'm using him for an example) is $1200 plus tip. So figure $220 a person if you have 6 guys.

This trip on the Capt Stacy is$100 for the day, which is really about 5 hours of actual fishing time, plus tip(+$20) and any bait you may want to use instead of theirs. Everything else is included. So really not that much more for what I would consider exclusivity and not having to be at the dock at 1am to get a good spot by going on a boat like the procrastinator.
 

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Red X Angler
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I would do an offshore trip if the price was reasonable and the Capt seasoned. I would think a deep sea trip would be cheaper than a trolling offshore trip because of the less fuel used and less rigging to tend. But I don't know. Headboats are almost always crowded or else they don't sail. They only make money in volume. The best boat just got sold and moved away :(
 

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John on the Procrastinator will make you never want to get on another headboat ever again. That's a great haul for a first trip, the stacey has really seemed to take a step back the last couple years. Maybe with the shelf being moved they will get back up to speed
 

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Red X Angler
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I think the hardest part, at least for me, is finding 5 others that want to go or are committed enough to not drop out when it comes time to pay out the money. At least with a headboat you only have to worry about yourself.
And the worst part of that is if one or two drop out and the rest cant/will not cover the additional cost it screws all of you. I can handle $125-150 but over that takes some planning for me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
For those that do go out bottom fishing a lot, what can I expect in the middle or end of July time frame? My father in law is coming down and I'd like to take him out to get on some harder pulling fish. I don't think I'd be able to put together a big enough group to go on a private charter so I'll probably end up on the headboat again. It will for sure be in the middle of the week though.
 

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I've never been out on head boat or a charter. used to hear that if you had good luck with fish numbers you could sell all or part of them to help with cost, but don't know that for sure. In the last few years, I haven't heard of that being done.
 

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Rouse, in this day of over-regulation I don't think that's still a "legal" option. Used to be you could fish on a commercial boat for a pretty fair price and the catch would go to the boat. Much cheaper than a charter sans the fish to clean/eat. I think that option may still exist.
 

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My first fishing trip was on a the Starfish, a headboat out of Sea Isle City, NJ in 1958. I have been enamored with them since. Some people like pier fishing, I like party boats. Summertime headboats may operate different because many fares are tourists, not fishermen. It is a business, but a business they love that is in their blood. I go off season, or during the week, or bad weather days. They usually will sail if 15 people show up.

How deep were you fishing? Was anyone puking?
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
No idea on depth. I had about a 100 topshot of mono on my reel and I wasn't hitting the braid yet. No pukers. The water was really nice.

I'd equate a head boat to a pier. You see all sorts of folks, some good and bad, but you all are there for the same reason on both. Unlike a pier though, it's a little harder to get away from the bad folks on the boat.
 

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Red X Angler
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It's going to be hard for me to go again now that the Continental Shelf has moved. Guess I need to take the leap and give another boat a shot. The other boats around are slower (if that's still the case from a few years ago) so they either don't go as far or you get less time with lines in the water.
 
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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
The day I went we didn't move to far after the first stop. Maybe a 15 minute run to the furthest spot. It was all of 3 hours out there though, and we started fishing not long after (maybe 30 minutes) losing sight of the lighthouse).
 

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My first fishing trip was on a the Starfish, a headboat out of Sea Isle City, NJ in 1958. I have been enamored with them since. Some people like pier fishing, I like party boats. Summertime headboats may operate different because many fares are tourists, not fishermen. It is a business, but a business they love that is in their blood. I go off season, or during the week, or bad weather days. They usually will sail if 15 people show up.

How deep were you fishing? Was anyone puking?
Been on the Starfish a number of times. Used to stay across Townsend's Inlet over at Avalon some. I think Starfish still runs out of Sea Isle, albeit a newer version than what you referred to. Good times.
 
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