April 23, 2024

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Gulf Shores: A Guide for Party Boat Fishing

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If you’ve ever wondered where the turquoise waters meet a vibrant underwater world, the answer is Gulf Shores! To have the best of both worlds and see Alabama’s pride and joy in its glory, go fishing. Even better, give it a try with party boat fishing in Gulf Shores. What better way to share the excitement of being there than by teaming up with fellow anglers on a party boat?

Party boat fishing is the ideal adventure if you’re visiting Gulf Shores for the first time. Not only is it a budget-friendly alternative to the high-end private charters, but it’s also a great way to make new lifelong friends. After all, you want your vacation to be memorable, and Gulf Shores party boat fishing offers exactly that!

But what is it and how does it work? This article will outline what you can expect in terms of the service, seasonality, trips, species, and much more. So without further ado, let’s get started.

What can I expect when party boat fishing in Gulf Shores?

Let’s face it, a tailored trip with a private captain is the ultimate way of fishing. However, this is a big-ticket service and not everyone gets the opportunity to enjoy the ride. This is where party boat fishing comes in. It’s an economical option for experiencing what fishing is all about. But it can be so much more than that. 

Party boat fishing is a fun way of sharing your angling adventure with both professionals and novices alike. If you’re a seasoned fisherman, you may want to embark on a big game pursuit with like-minded individuals. If you’re a first-timer, a party boat can help you learn the basics of angling and find your future fishing buddies. Here’s a quick breakdown of what to expect from party boat fishing:

  • Convenience. Since the party boats are usually bigger than average charter vessels, they have all the necessary facilities aboard. They’re designed to accommodate more people, so you can refresh in a restroom or cool off in the shade. Some boats even have air conditioning. And you can always count on the crew to assist you with the catch.
  • Shared trips. By now, you’ve probably guessed that you’ll be fishing together with at least a dozen other anglers. The boats vary in size, but they can often accommodate up to 70 guests. However, this doesn’t mean that you’ll be waiting for it to reach full capacity. Party boats only need a certain number of passengers to run a trip (often around 20).
  • Walk-on with a fixed schedule. While you can always secure your spot aboard a party boat in advance, the majority of the companies operate on a walk-on basis and with a pre-determined timetable. This means that you can check their departure times online and show up in the marina before the boat heads offshore.
  • Service (not) included. The fee you pay covers the equipment you’ll be using to fish. It may also fund your fishing license, but this isn’t a rule of thumb. The tips and fish cleaning services almost always come at an extra charge. Fish filleting and cleaning fees are symbolic, whereas gratuity is usually around 20% and means a lot to the hard-working crew members.
  • Shorter affordable trips. The industry standard for a fishing trip length is from 4–6 hours. Trips come at a reasonable price and focus on nearshore waters or nearby reefs and wrecks. Longer full day and specialized trips are also available, but more on that below.

What are the types of party boat fishing trips in Gulf Shores?

A child holding rod and trying to fish from a party boat in Gulf Shores

You can hop on any party boat and have a blast, but there are several aspects worth considering before making a reservation. The duration of the trip could be a crucial factor for recreational fishermen with families. Meanwhile, seasoned anglers may focus more on the fishery the party boat will explore. Let’s take a look at your options below and help you decide which trip to book:

  • Half day trip. With the boat staying closer to shore, a 4 hour trip is ideal for families with kids. Not only will you avoid motion sickness, but you’ll also introduce the little ones to fishing without too much hassle. You’ll have all the necessary equipment, facilities, and help at your disposal. Apart from being the most affordable option, this trip is tailor-made for beginners.
  • 3/4 day trip. If you’ve fished before and you’d like to cast a line or two while vacationing in Gulf Shores, we recommend a 6 hour trip. You’ll have enough time to move away from the inshore waters and explore reefs in search of delicious Snapper. Angling with your children is still a possibility, just make sure you prepare for the choppy seas and extended trip.
  • Full day trip. For seasoned fishermen who’d like to deep sea fish within budget, we recommend longer trips between 8 and 10 hours. Normally, the fee for a 10 hour party boat fishing trip will be higher compared to shorter trips, but it will still be a good bargain. An added bonus is sharing your success with fellow anglers while landing an offshore giant.
  • Special trips. Be it a corporate team-building event, bachelor(ette) party, or simply a friends’ or family gathering, party boat fishing is the ultimate bonding experience. These trips aren’t common but can be arranged. So, if a special event for your gang is on your radar, why not give it a try with party boat fishing in Gulf Shores?

What can I catch while party boat fishing in Gulf Shores?

A satisfied group of Gulf Shores party boat fishing anglers holding their catches

When we said that the underwater world in Gulf Shores is insanely rich we weren’t exaggerating – we were actually selling it short! From the shallow waters to the deep blue, Gulf Shores’ fisheries are teeming with life. For you, this means a prolific day on the water. It also means that there will be a catch for everyone regardless of the trip’s duration. 

Redfish, Black Drum, and Speckled Trout dominate the inshore waters. These local residents will welcome your fishing spirit even during the colder months. Reds can easily outshine other species in January and February but they meander the shallows year-round. That means you won’t end up empty-handed even if you don’t hit the peak season. 

Those creatures put up quite a show, but the drum roll goes to Red Snapper. Everyone’s favorites, these reef beauties will steal your heart. Gorgeous-looking, opponent-worthy, and finger-licking good, Red Snapper are the fish of the Gulf of Mexico. When the authorities announce the beginning of the long-awaited hunt, you’ll want yourself aboard a Gulf Shores party boat. 

A group of anglers holding a Billfish on a boat

What if we tell you that the local area is home to more than 17,000 artificial reefs and the list doesn’t end with Red Snapper? Sure, they’re the headliners, but White and Vermillion Snapper aren’t lagging far behind either. Cobia, Amberjack, and Groupers share the same seafloor with Red Snapper. From a half day trip to an extended fishing adventure, reefs promise tight lines and full coolers!

Reel screaming action, however, lies further offshore. 4 hour trips don’t put the monster trophies on your shelf. Crossing your paths with deep blue royals like Mahi Mahi, Yellowfin Tuna, Sailfish, and Marlin means spending an entire day out in the open. Big game pursuits are more geared toward experienced anglers, but a Mahi Mahi chase is suitable for beginners, too. 

Long story short, party boat fishing in Gulf Shores guarantees the time of your life. Be it Reds, Snappers, or Tuna, you’re bound to have fun, especially during high season.

When should I go party boat fishing in Gulf Shores?

A happy group of party boat fishing anglers with their catches

Fishing in the Gulf is a year-round activity. You can wet your line any day of the year and end up victorious. Yet, summer and early fall steal the spotlight. This is when fishing is at its peak and party boat fishing in Gulf Shores is at its best. During June, July, August, and September a lot of party boat companies run trips daily. 

Early summer marks the beginning of the fishing frenzy. For the next couple of months, you can catch anything from Amberjack, Grouper, and Spotted Seatrout to Mahi Mahi, Marlin, Sailfish, and Tuna. Red Snapper fishing is the highlight of the season, but its harvest is limited. Winter and spring are calmer but far from disappointing. Redfish, Amberjack, Cobia, Sheepshead, and Mackerel are hungry and ready to bite. 

The hottest season of the year also means a fully booked calendar, so if summer party boat fishing is on your to-do list, we recommend reserving your spot well in advance. After all, better safe than sorry. 

How do I fish from a party boat?

An aerial view of a Gulf Shores party boat moving further away from shore

Sharing a boat with two dozen anglers implies a limited number of lines in the water. Having more rods solely for yourself is usually out of the question. One line per angler is the norm, especially if the boat is full. While this suggests slimmer chances of catching a ton of fish, it doesn’t mean you’ll end up with an empty cooler. 

A crowded deck excludes the fashion of using certain fishing techniques like fly fishing. Instead, trolling and bottom fishing are the most common angling methods while party boat fishing. Trolling is a successful deep sea fishing practice of luring big game fish your way. Bottom fishing focuses more on the manual encouragement of bottom dwellers to snatch your bait.

What should I bring on the Gulf Shores party boat fishing trip?

An infographic showing party boat fishing essentials icons such as comfy clothes, food, drinks, medicine, sun protective items, and cash

While fishing equipment will be waiting for you on your party boat, and in some cases fishing licenses as well, you’ll still need to gear up for your trip. Below is our checklist of the essentials for party boat fishing in Gulf Shores:

  • Suitable clothing. Fishing is messy and you shouldn’t dress to impress. Feel free to wear comfy old shirts and baggy pants. We know that flip-flops are the best summer footwear, but they aren’t helpful on a slippery deck. So, put on some breathable clothes and firm-grip shoes, and you’re good to go.
  • Sun protection. The blazing summer sun spares no one. Apart from sun-protective clothes and accessories, you should always apply sunscreen. This is especially important if you book a longer trip. If you’re about to spend the entire day offshore, sunscreen is a must.
  • Food and drinks. Meals and refreshments aren’t included in the price of your party boat fishing trip, so don’t forget to pack a sandwich, water, and some snacks. You’ll crave food and drinks after a good battle with a Red or Mahi Mahi for sure! Bring everything in a cooler that doesn’t take up much room aboard. 
  • Seasickness medicine. Depending on the trip’s duration and your tolerance to motion, you should think about taking some sort of seasickness medicine. If choppy seas and bumpy rides aren’t your things but you’d like to experience fishing first-hand, take Dramamine or ginger tablets before the trip.
  • Cash. Last but not least, you always need to have some money with you. Be it for a last-minute emergency or customary gratuity, cash comes in handy. We don’t recommend carrying around a lot of cash but prepare 20% for the tips and some extra just in case you need it.

Gulf Shores Party Boat Fishing: The More the Merrier! 

A group of party boat anglers with their catches after the trip in the marina

If you’re a people person, then party boat fishing in Gulf Shores is the way to go. The same applies to professional fishermen and novices alike who would love to socialize and fish on a budget. Party boat fishing is the only form of angling that gives you dinner, possible trophy catches, bragging stories, and lifelong fishing buddies at the same time. Sound tempting? What are you waiting for?

Did we answer all your questions about party boat fishing in Gulf Shores? Have you ever been fishing on a party boat before? How was your experience? Tell us all about it in the comments below.

The post A Guide to Party Boat Fishing in Gulf Shores appeared first on FishingBooker Blog.

By: Tanya
Title: A Guide to Party Boat Fishing in Gulf Shores
Sourced From: fishingbooker.com/blog/party-boat-fishing-gulf-shores/
Published Date: Mon, 18 Jul 2022 12:57:00 +0000

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