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Shawnb
08-23-2009, 02:10 AM
Went on a party boat trip yesterday and ended up costing a lot more than the price I was given on the phone. Is it normal to charge for tackle? I was told about the fishing pole cost only when I asked, but they never said anything about paying for tackle.

nelson9
08-23-2009, 03:33 AM
I would say the majority of boats do charge for tackle. I could'nt tell you which ones do not but there are some that provide tackle with the cost of the trip. When asking for a price over the phone I always ask for the out the door price. That way there are no hidden or additional cost. Which boat did you go on and did you enjoy the trip?

Fishbutt21
08-23-2009, 06:36 AM
I have not spent many trips out on charter or party boats but it seems like every one has had a tackle pack or kit that had some sinkers and the rigs that were used in the area the boat was fishing. one thing that most guys forget is that a boat is in business to do two things and that is to catch fish and make money and by selling the gear that a person needs on that particular trip they can do both for a small fee

żżż
08-23-2009, 07:02 AM
I don't think they were trying to pull a fast one on you. Communication isn't a strong suit with all the outfits. I think all boats charge per terminal rig and sinker. I also think it's fair to let you know ahead of time so that you're not taken by surprise.

And yes, it ends up costing more than the cost of admission! I proably spent at least another $30 in 'stuff' for my $65 trip.

Shawnb
08-23-2009, 09:05 AM
Yes I did enjoy the trip. It just ended up costing about $50.00 more than I was told on the phone. I understand there in the business to make money. The last party boat I went on what they told me paid for everything. So this time I waws a little surprised when he told me all the extra costs. They did tell me my son would be half price, but when I went to pay they tried to charge me full price for him. Overall it was a fun day.

Next time I'll just have to make sure I ask about any hidden cost.

Moneybags
08-23-2009, 12:42 PM
Here are some general rules for those of you that might want to take a trip locally.

If you book a boat out of a shop..you will most likely have to get tackle. Many of the smaller independent boats rent rods, but they'll provide the first set up free. If you lose it, you can buy another ( and most times ten times better than any shop leader ) from the deckhand.
Sinkers..you gotta plan on buying them..but be wise, if the boat fishes the sandy spots most of the you don't need a ton of lead. ( same thing as leaders..if you need an extra weight, get it from the crew )
On thing that really irks crews is trying to substitute rigs.
If they are using 20# leaders...use them. Don't try out some 25 year old store bought thing you've had in your box forever.
And weights, use the ones they recommend. A half dozen spark plugs tied up don't cut it with a boat full of lines.
Usually if you can get on the boat first...talk to the crew
if possible..then go up and get the gear the crew says you will need ( find out if you have to buy a ton of stuff up at the shop..or can you get stuff on the boat )
Finally...this is the toughest time of year to go out on any boat. It's been a long season. the crews are pretty much burned out.( how many halibut and bass do you think they've seen this season? ) So don't be surprised if you get a less than enthusiastic response.
As always the best boats will help before you even get out of the harbor.

Ways to save money...
Use your own rod. ( but don't even think about bringing that 12 foot surf rod )
Tie up your own rigs. They are not that hard to do.
Get your license the first of the year and use the heck out of it.
Car pool.
Hope this helps

justme
08-24-2009, 04:26 AM
I have been going out on party boats for years and understand all the costs and that does not bother me. What bothers me is that when the cost of fuel went up to almost $5.00 a gallon all of the party boats raised their prices which is totally exceptable. What I do not understand is why when the gas prices went back down the party boats did not lower their prices at all. Can this be explained to me.

slick88
08-24-2009, 04:47 AM
I have been going out on party boats for years and understand all the costs and that does not bother me. What bothers me is that when the cost of fuel went up to almost $5.00 a gallon all of the party boats raised their prices which is totally exceptable. What I do not understand is why when the gas prices went back down the party boats did not lower their prices at all. Can this be explained to me.


I know the prices for the Emeryville fleet were $90 per person last year and they are $85 this year.

21farms
08-24-2009, 07:34 AM
in my limited experience, it is normal. most of the websites i've seen do a pretty good job of telling you what the other costs are, including how much to "tip" the deckhand for cleaning your fish as well as helping you throughout the day. i'm sure they do everything a la carte because many people bring all their own gear (rods and reels, rigs and sinkers, etc.).

Moneybags
08-24-2009, 10:14 AM
The fuel did go down...but like everything else...nothin' else went down...in fact stuff like berth rents, county fees, F&G fees, bait ( we bought twice as much just to get enough big baits for every one..in fact we even bought three or four times as much bait )
And it was ( or is ) a very short season. We don't have a salmon season to stretch things out.
Everyone's insurance rates spiked way high...and the list just goes on. Instead of stimulus money, if the Gov would just get off our backs maybe we do better.
But one reason I became independent was the high shop tackle prices ( and booking fees )...I couldn't stand them.
Its far more easier to quote "one price" ..and that is it.
( except for lunches and fishing licenses )
It's no wonder so many people have their own boat now...but for the folks that don't, it's still a good way of getting out of the house.

Farrier_Frank
08-24-2009, 11:05 AM
You covered the bases very well, Cappy. I'm a one-man-business myself so I appreciate your candid explanation of what's really going on around you while you fish on a charter... and why it may cost more.

Fishing is not without cost. I do a lot of hitchhiking and when I get off the boat I usually hand the guy who took me fishing for the day enough to make him smile and want me back on board. I know all to well how much it cost to own a boat... and I also know a good deckhand is worth his weight in gold, too, and always slip him/her some cash on my way off the boat.

... "a boat is a hole in the water you throw money into."

Pintail
08-25-2009, 08:13 AM
Great info.
About 6 of us are looking to book a rock fish trip near the end of Sept. Last time I was on a charter boat it was the Tracer out of Bodega Bay but I understand it's long gone.

Any suggestions on a good boat out of BB or for that matter Berkley?
Thanks

justme
08-28-2009, 04:06 AM
I would recommend the CAL Dawn. Great captain and deckhands. Also they have a cook on the boat.

justme
08-28-2009, 04:08 AM
Forgot to mention the CAL Dawn is out of Berkley.

Pintail
08-28-2009, 08:04 AM
Thanks
That what was it was looking like are best bet was.
It appears as thou it does no good to email them, gonna call tomorrow.

ric1ric
08-28-2009, 08:23 AM
New Salmon Queen out of emeryville (I think) Been out with him a couple of times. Shim works hard to get you fish, and if chris is still deck hand top notch.

bluestar
08-28-2009, 08:47 AM
What bothers me about party boats is the fish cleaning... The filleting wastes lots of eatable fish meat, and I'm expected to pay a "tip" for that.

slick88
08-28-2009, 12:26 PM
What bothers me about party boats is the fish cleaning...* The filleting wastes lots of eatable fish meat, and I'm expected to pay a "tip" for that.

You're correct in that there is a lot of waste.
I always have my rockfish scaled and gutted. I think

gmdcdvm
08-30-2009, 12:41 PM
Here is my take on party boats since that is the type of fishing I am usually doing.

1. Every landing and independent boat has a slightly different set up on how they run things. You need to ask a lot of questions when you book:
A. What is the cost?
B. How long will we be out?
C. Does the cost include rod rentals and tackle?
D. What do I need to bring?
C. Does the cost including fish cleaning?
E. Can I purchase gear on the boat if I run out/lose my gear?
F. How many passengers total/possible?
G. Are ice chests allowed?
H. Any children discounts? Senior discounts? For those of you who this applies to...

These are just some of the basic questions to ask. Like someone already mentioned they are not trying to knickle and dime you, but their communication skills can sometimes leave a lot to be desired. Most of the time when you call and ask for a price they will tell you what it costs to get on the boat. They usually don't mention what other costs may be involved. Also you need to keep in mind they get a lot of regulars who don't need anything else, and thats why all the other stuff is not included in their ticket price.

2. Some additional costs to plan for in most cases:

1. Actual trip cost: for most larger boats that is usually between $80-95. Keep in mind this just gets you on the boat.
2. Rod rental: Not always included and why you need to ask. Usually $10.
3. Tackle: Usually something along the lines of 2 3-way leaders, 2-Shrimp flies, and assorted weights-about 4 from 4oz to 12oz. Cost: $10-15
4. Fishing cleaning: Some smaller boats like 6-packs include this in the price. For the larger party boats this is how a lot of the deckhands make some hard earned extra cash. For a rockfish trip I think the going rate this year has been: $7 for 10 rock fish, and $1-2 per ling cod.
5. Tipping the crew: In the larger boats the deckhands split the tips. In the smaller boats it usually goes to the captain and deckhand if he happens to have one that day. Cost: You name it. My peronal philosophy is tips are earned not guaranteed (its not like a restaurant where they try to add in a gratuity for parties of 6 or more). If you feel they earned it then be generous* :). If you feel they did a poor job then don't give them anything or tip them appropriately. On very rare occasions I have walked off the boat without tipping, but usually it was because the deckhands were HORRIBLE (not helping, lazy, sitting around, doing minimal effort, late on the gaf/net, not helping the kids or old timers, that kind of stuff).

I can see where you could have spent and extra $50 on a party boat trip: $90+$10 rod+$10-15 tackle+$Fish Cleaning+$Tip. It adds up especially if you need to buy more tackle if you are losing gear.

As for fish cleaning and wasting the meat on the fillets: Keep in mind that this is optional. No one is forcing you to use their services. If you don't like how they fillet the fish then do it your self at home. They usually have to fillet anywhere from 100 to 300 fish in 2-3hrs time on a rockfish trip to the Islands. You can see how they might not take their time on each individual fish to make sure you have the perfect fillet. Like Slick said you can have them gutted and scaled, and you can finish them up at home if you like.


I usually make it out on a party boat 2 times/month. Sometimes a lot more when the fish are biting, and sometimes a lot less if I can hitchhike with someone else. In the years I have been fishing the bay area I have fished with some really great crews. Rarely have I been disappointed with the captain, boat, or crew. I have heard good and bad stories about a lot of boats, but overall they all are very customer service oriented. Keep in mind that a large portion of their business is repeat customers and they need to keep them hapy.

In the future just make sure to ask a lot of questions both before you book and when you get to the boat. Most crews will be more than happy to take the time to answer your questions. If not, then don't tip them. Thats part of how they earn their money: teaching you to fish, showing you how to rig up, netting/gaffing your fish, cleaning it, and keeping you entertained.

Sorry about the long rant guys, but I hope this helps some of you out.

My personal favorite Bay Area Boats:
Huck Finn-Emeryville
New Salmon Queen-Emeryville.
These two are pretty much even in my mind.
Cal Dawn-Berkeley.

6-Packs:
Flash Fishing-Captain Steve
RightHook-Captain Jay Lopez

Hope this helps,

Gerry

gmdcdvm
08-30-2009, 01:23 PM
Forgot to mention: Most larger party boats are $85-95, and they can take up to 25-40 people depending on the size of the boat. Most 6 packs are between $150-200/person on an open load if you can find one with room.

Gerry

dravnx
08-31-2009, 02:39 AM
Only party boat out of BB is the New Sea Angler. Rick usually only has one deck hand so he tends to stay pretty busy and I like a little more service for my money. He also doesn't use live bait. Runs an OK operation. Mainly fishes the reefs around Ft Ross and Pt Reyes. You'll limit out but they tend to be on the small size. If you can get on any of the boats out of Berkely that will run out to the Cordell banks (weather permitting) , you'll have a great time. The rockfish are much bigger. I fished with cal dawn and morning star. both first class operations.

slick88
08-31-2009, 02:57 AM
Only party boat out of BB is the New Sea Angler. Rick usually only has one deck hand so he tends to stay pretty busy and I like a little more service for my money. He also doesn't use live bait. Runs an OK operation. Mainly fishes the reefs around Ft Ross and Pt Reyes. You'll limit out but they tend to be on the small size. If you can get on any of the boats out of Berkely that will run out to the Cordell banks (weather permitting) , you'll have a great time. The rockfish are much bigger. I fished with cal dawn and morning star.* both first class operations.


Cordell Banks is a marine sanctuary now and is closed to all fishing. :(

gmdcdvm
08-31-2009, 02:07 PM
I was just about to post the same thing slick88. Cordell is closed. Has been for years.

I forgot to mention...
Cost blah blah blah
Tackle blah blah blah

Catching a limit or monster fish...priceless :)

G

Landlubber
09-04-2009, 02:59 AM
Gerry,

good posts.

My experience with tackle, rods, etc, is that they are usually provided as part of the cost on 6-packs and are additional on the party boats, and at or around the costs you mention. The costs for getting on Monterey party boats usually run a little cheaper.

One thing about tipping deckhands on party boats. Most deckhands only earn what they recieve in tips and fishcleaning. I always encourage people to tip the deckhand, regardless if the fishing was good or bad, and to tip more if the service was good or exceptional. Service would have to be absolutely horrible to recieve no tip (and yes, I too have seen service that bad - but luckily it is a real rarity.)

A good deckhand has really made a trip, especially with kids on board.

Landlubber

gmdcdvm
09-04-2009, 11:00 PM
You are right landlubber. I only tip based on service, and not based on how good the fishing was that day. I think most peopel forget the Captains want you to catch fish as much as you do. Sending people home with a smile on their face and fish in their ice chest is a sure fire way to get a repeat customre. So, as long as they bust their butt's I have no problems making sure I tip them appropriately.

Tight Lines and get out there and support some of our local party boats.

Gerry

Toxic_Waste
09-05-2009, 03:34 AM
"Cordell Banks is a marine sanctuary now and is closed to all fishing.* :("

There's something I don't understand about some of the articles I have read that say the reason for fishing closures is to restore overfished populations back to sustainable, healthy numbers. But what is the explanation for closing off areas where the fish are already large, healthy and abundant?

I am guessing the answer would be: "To KEEP them large, healthy and abundant," but it is my belief (perhaps naively so) that our Fish & Game regs exist for that exact purpose. I don't mean regulations that ban fishing, just the ones that "regulate" it.

hawkeye4141
09-15-2009, 08:57 AM
Very good post with great info Gerry.

The boats out of Emryville have been great, I have been out on 3 or 4 different ones, I liked them all. They do a great job, and is the only place i go now out. The Farrallon Islands are the normal destination. Nice quality fish with limits every time.

I am going to Montery this weekend, any good party boats there?

Toxic_Waste
09-15-2009, 10:38 AM
I have always been happy with Randy's Fishing Trips. Haven't been out with them for a while but they were always careful to avoid an overcrowded boat, which I appreciated.