Head Boat Fishing: More Interesting Than You Think

Head Boat Fishing

Head boat fishing

If you’re looking for an adrenaline rush and an opportunity to catch a variety of fish, but don’t have your boat? Consider chartering a head boat instead! These trips are a great way to enjoy a day of fishing with friends or family. You’ll get the chance to catch all sorts of fish, and you’ll have a lot of fun while doing it. 

Several people say they can’t catch any fish on a headboat and it’s a waste of time. However, I think the main reason for those bad experiences is that they don’t prepare well for the trip. Professional anglers always enjoy the game and can catch a lot of fish.

The critical issue here is that you need to prepare well to get a good experience of head-boat fishing. If you are going to participate in a head boat trip, continue reading the article to prepare well for your trip.

Some Definitions You Need to Know

What is a head boat?

Some Definitions You Need to Know

A head boat (party boat) is a type of fishing vessel that can carry up to 70 to 80 passengers for deep-sea fishing. The captain and crew are usually experienced anglers who know how to navigate the waters and find the best spots for catching fish. They provide all the necessary gear, bait, tackle, and other supplies needed for a successful trip.

Most head boats also offer amenities such as food, drinks, and lounge areas so you can relax while you wait for the fish to bite.

Experience the unique, communal ambiance of fishing together with like-minded individuals on a fishing boat – perfect for groups looking for an exciting and unforgettable time out at sea. Tours offer exclusive access to some of the most sought-after wrecks & rock formations. With individual tickets available, enjoy an exciting day out at sea.

What is a headboat fishing charter?

Headboat fishing charters are a type of fishing trip that you can book with various companies. These charters offer all-inclusive packages, where everything from bait and tackle to food and drinks is included in one price. You will be taken out on a boat for the day, with experienced captains and crew who know all the best spots for catching fish.

How does it work?

When you book a head-boat fishing charter, the captain and crew will take you out to the best spots for catching your desired species of fish. Depending on the season and location, this could be inshore or offshore fishing. Once at the spot, the captain instructions instruction on how to bait and cast your line as well as any safety protocols that need to be followed during the trip.

The rest is up to you – show off your skills and enjoy reeling in delicious fish! After a few hours out on the water, it’s time for some food & drinks before heading back home with your bounty.

Fishing head boats are perfect for beginners or experienced anglers looking to try something new. With one-day trips available, you can experience the thrill of fishing without the hassle of owning a boat. Plus, they offer a unique atmosphere where you can get to know other anglers and learn more about your catch.

So if you’re looking for an exciting new adventure this summer, consider booking a head boat charter! You won’t regret it. Enjoy an unforgettable day out at sea while catching plenty of delicious fish with friends or family. Book your trip today!

Who can go on a party boat fishing trip?

Anyone can go on a head-boat fishing trip! All ages are welcome, and no prior experience is necessary. The captain and crew will provide all the instructions you need to have a successful day out on the water.

Additionally, most boats offer amenities like food and drinks so it’s easy to make a day of it with friends or family. Many companies also offer discounts for groups, making this type of fishing even more appealing.

The different types of head boats and their features

Fishing trips offer an exciting way to experience the outdoors. Be sure to identify what type of trip best suits your party – ranging from half-day, full-day, or overnight excursions. Specialty options include night snapper fishing, shark angling and longer journeys focusing on highly migratory species such as swordfish over multiple days at sea.

For beginners looking to test their luck at sea, basic half-day trips provide an excellent introduction without taking up too much time – perfect for those with busy schedules!
Half-day excursions run in the range of $20-$40, with bait, a fishing license and equipment rental all included.

However if you want more time out at sea, consider taking a full day trip which usually last eight hours starting around $50 per person. These tours are usually filled with more competent anglers and regulars who know the area well so if luck is on your side there’s no doubt that impressive catches can be made in abundant supply. Not forgetting throwing some experienced angler skill into the mix makes it even easier to bag up your own unique catches!

The Benefits of Fishing from a Head Boat

Head boat fishing outer Banks offer plenty of benefits for anglers, both experienced and beginners. The most obvious benefit is that you don’t need any prior experience or knowledge to participate. All you need is a valid fishing license and the rest will be taken care of by the captain and crew. 

Head boats also provide access to more remote areas that wouldn’t normally be accessible to small boats or shorelines. This means you can explore new grounds for catching fish and experience different types of fishing techniques. 

Another great benefit is the cost. Head fishing boat charters are usually more affordable than private trips, making them ideal for groups or those on a budget. You can also find discounts or special packages that make head-boat fishing even more economical. 

Experienced Crews & Captains – Most head fishing boat trips include experienced captains and crews who know their way around the waters, ensuring your safety and helping you catch plenty of fish during your trip. 

Finally, head boat outer banks offer a unique social atmosphere where you can meet other anglers and learn from their experiences while having fun in the process! 

What Should I Expect?

The experience of a headboat fishing charter varies depending on the company you choose. However, most charters include an early morning departure to get to your destination as quickly as possible. Once at your destination, it’s time to start fishing!

You’ll also have access to amenities such as food and drinks, lounge areas, and possibly other luxuries such as air-conditioning or TVs. Depending on the charter, you may also receive fishing tips from experienced captains and crew.

Finally, most charters will provide rods, reels, bait, and tackle for your convenience so you don’t have to worry about bringing them yourself.

Overall, party fishing boat trips offer an amazing experience that caters to everyone – from experienced anglers to those new to the sport. With experienced captains and crews who know their way around the waters, they ensure safety while helping you catch plenty of fish during your trip.

What Types of Fish Can I Expect to Catch?

What types of fish can I expect to catch

Head boat fishing outer Banks allow you to catch many species of fish depending on where you’re going and what type of trip you book. head boat. Popular catches include, but are not limited to:

-Flounder: A flatfish that can be found in shallow waters.

-Triggerfish: A small fish that is known for its bright colors and sharp teeth.

-Porgy: A small, thin fish found in both inshore and offshore glasses of water.

-Mahi Mahi: A popular gamefish that is known for its bright colors, strong fighting ability, and delicious meat.

-Tuna: A popular predatory fish that is prized for its flavor and strength.

-Mackerels: a type of fish that can be found swimming in large schools near the surface of the water.

-Seabass: An aggressive bottom feeder that can be caught in shallow or deep waters.

-Tarpon: A popular game fish that is known for its large size and prized as a sport fish.

-Snapper: An edible fish species found in the warmer waters of the Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and other tropical regions.

-Tautog: A hard-fighting member of the wrasse family that can be found in glasses of water in shallow and deep waters.

-Croaker: A small, noisy fish found in shallow waters near the Gulf Coast.

-Cod: A larger fish that can be found in deep waters near the bottom of the ocean.

-Bluefish: A predatory fish known for its aggressive behavior and strong fighting abilities.

-Kingfish: Also known as King mackerel, this species is known for its large size and swift swimming abilities.

-Shark: Sharks can be found in all oceans, though they are more commonly found in temperate waters.

-Grouper: A type of fish that typically lives near the sea floor or coral reefs. They can be caught using various methods, such as trolling or bottom fishing.

These are just a few of the many species that you can expect to catch on the trip!

For a more comprehensive list of what fish you could catch, be sure to check with your chosen head boat charter company for their specific catches. With experienced captains and crews who know their way around the waters, they can help you find the best spots for catching fish!

How to Find The Best Headboat Fishing Trips for You?

Finding the best party boat fishing trips for you can seem quite daunting at first – after all, there are so many options out there! To help make your decision easier, here are a few tips to help you find the perfect boat fishing charter for your needs:

-Research your destination: Before booking a trip, it’s important to research the area where you’ll be fishing. This will give you an idea of what type of fish may be available in that region and what type of boats or amenities they offer.

-Choose the right time: The best time to go on a head-boat fishing trip depends on what type of fish species you’re looking to catch. If you’re targeting larger gamefish such as marlin or tuna, booking a trip during the warmer months is usually best. For smaller species such as flounder or croaker, you’ll want to book your trip during cooler months.

-Check reviews: Before booking any party-boat fishing charter, it’s important to read customer reviews and see what others have said about their experience with that particular company. This will give you an idea of how knowledgeable and experienced their captains are and if they offer quality service.

-Ask questions: If you’re still unsure of which boat fishing charter to go with, don’t hesitate to ask questions! Most companies will be more than happy to answer any queries you may have so you can make an informed decision.

It’s also important to keep in mind that the best fishing trips will always depend on your individual needs and preferences. So, take some time to weigh your options and make sure you find a trip that suits you!

How to Book a Fishing Trip?

Head boat fishing trips can be booked through the captain of the vessel or a fishing charter company. The process is fairly straightforward – all you need to do is decide on where you want to go and what type of fish you want to catch, then make your booking.

To get started, here are the steps you’ll need to take:

-Choose a charter company: First, choose which company you’d like to use. Make sure they have experienced captains, reliable equipment, and quality customer service.

-Pick your destination: Once you’ve chosen the right charter company for your needs, it’s time to pick your destination. Consider what type of fish you’re after and the best time of year for that species in that particular region.

-Book your trip: Contact the chosen charter company and let them know when and where you’d like to go on your fishing adventure. They will provide you with more information and let you know if there are any additional fees or requirements for your trip.

-Pack your gear: Before heading out, make sure to pack all the necessary equipment and tackle. Be sure to bring proper safety equipment such as life jackets and flares in case of an emergency.

-Go fishing: Once everything is sorted, get ready to go fishing! These trips allow you to go further out than most other boats so you can have a chance at catching some bigger fish! Enjoy the experience and take home some amazing catches!

Booking a boat fishing charter is a great way to enjoy an exciting day out on the water while also having the chance to bring home some amazing catches. With the right preparation and research, you’ll be sure to have a successful and enjoyable fishing trip!

When booking, it’s important to consider a few things:

-Length of trip: Do you prefer short day trips or longer overnight excursions? Be sure to check with your chosen charter company for the length and availability of their trips.

-Costs involved: Make sure that you understand exactly how much money is required upfront and if there are any additional costs (such as fuel charges) that will be added on top.

-Safety: It’s important to make sure that you’re comfortable with the crew and the safety procedures they have in place. Be sure to ask questions if something doesn’t seem right.

Once you’ve found a head boat fishing charter that meets your needs, it’s time to book! Most companies will require a deposit before confirming your booking, so be sure to check their policies beforehand.

Finally, don’t forget to bring all the necessary gear for your trip! This includes sturdy shoes (e.g., hiking boots), sunscreen, and plenty of water. And don’t forget to bring a camera – after all, some of your best memories will come from your day out at sea! Enjoy your adventure!

Gear for the Trip

What will be provided for you on the boat?

Gear for the Trip

Generally speaking, most head boat fishing charters will provide the necessary equipment and tackle for your trip. This includes rods, reels, bait buckets, tackle boxes, and other items needed to fish. Depending on the company you choose, they may also offer meals and drinks during your trip as well. It’s important to check with the charter company beforehand to make sure that all of your needs are met.

Aside from the equipment provided by the charter company, it’s also a good idea to bring along a few extra items for yourself:

What to bring with you on your trip?

For those serious about their fishing, the best option is to bring your gear. After all, successful anglers know that powerful catches require top-notch equipment – no exception! To be on the safe side I always pack my rods and reels plus a selection of terminal tackle and bait for whatever situation arises during our trip. Licenses are typically included in the fare but are sure to check with your captain beforehand so there aren’t any surprises when you’re out at sea.

For extended trips on the deck, it’s important to be prepared for anything. Ensure protection from sun exposure with a long-billed hat, polarized sunglasses, and high-SPF sunscreen. Plus Pack extra clothes and rain gear in case of unexpected showers. Add nonslip rubber-soled shoes or lightweight fishing boots that will keep you steady when conditions become wet. Knowing you have all this covered will ensure smooth sailing ahead.

What to bring with you on your trip

When embarking on a fishing excursion with unfamiliar people, the captain won’t be available to turn back in case of seasickness. To mitigate motion sickness, Dramamine or an equivalent remedy should always be taken – something especially important to remember for those who may succumb more easily to seasickness than others to avoid an uncomfortable journey and ruined experience.

Furthermore, two other essential supplies include bungee cords which will stop gear from shifting on the deck, and a hand towel for wiping off slippery hands.

Finally, it’s recommended to take cash with you in smaller denominations as tips are generally appreciated by crews at the end of each trip. And make sure you capture memories by bringing along that camera too. Better safe than sorry: bring everything needed just in case!


For a half or full-day trip (four to eight hours) on a head boat outer Banks, target snapper and grouper for an unforgettable experience. To bring in these fantastic-tasting fish with minimal effort, try using light lines paired with fluorocarbon leader – just check ahead of time if the captain allows more advanced gear. On most party boats you’ll find traditional rods equipped with heavy monofilament or braided line (around 30-50lbs) so that all anglers can quickly and easily reel in their catches while avoiding tangles!

Anglers fishing along the Gulf Coast should come prepared with a well-rounded arsenal of gear. A 20lb spinning outfit can catch bait and smaller snapper, while a 30lb conventional setup will handle mangrove snapper and groupers that inhabit reefs or wrecks.

Tackle 30lbs

If you’re targeting mid-water pelagics like wahoo, amberjack or large grouper then opt for a 50lbs line test – but if going after a bigger game such as swordfish, shark or tuna consider beefing it up to 60 – 80 lbs!


Ensure your natural bait success with the perfect terminal tackle. A selection of leader material in the 20-100lb range, multiple hook sizes, and egg sinkers from 1-8 oz will give you excellent coverage for all your needs. The finishing touch? An eclectic variety of bucktail jigs to complete a comprehensive arsenal!

How to Make the Most of Your Party Boat Fishing Experience?

Once you have found the perfect head boat fishing charter for you, there are also some things to keep in mind to ensure a successful day out on the water:

Before going

For the best possible fishing experience, secure yourself a spot at the stern. Many party boats operate on a first come first serve basis but some may offer reservations for premium spots along the rail – so make sure to ask! If you can’t reserve ahead of time, arrive early before departure and be prepared to snag your prime position. The bow of most boats will face into the current when the captain positions over a reef or other promising structures, making it difficult for anglers who fish from there to manage their lines without them getting tangled in others’. Reserving a prime position means no more tangles – just you and an unforgettable day out on the water!

How to make the most of your party boat fishing experience?

Before booking your deep-sea fishing trip, it is important to ask the captain about their policy on mates actively participating in angling activities. While this practice may be common with certain vessels, others strictly forbid it due to possible distraction from servicing paying customers. 

Moreover, inquire whether you can bring live bait and if a lockable onboard bait well is available; notably for keeping pinfish and squirrelfish appropriately stored during long trips at sea.

before going

Lastly – before committing – make sure that either an appropriate vessel cooler or sufficient space is provided for ‘marking’ or icing freshly caught fish alongside any food & beverage services necessary throughout your voyage!


Be considerate to the crew and other passengers on board by arriving no later than 20 minutes before the scheduled departure time. Your journey will likely have you near fellow anglers, so when a snag arises – remain calm! 

On the boat, it is not uncommon for lines to get tangled or even crossed with a neighbor’s catch – if this happens remain calm and polite as you would expect them to extend the same courtesy in return. When fighting fish make sure to steady yourself against the railing while navigating around others on board, taking care that neither your rod tip nor step imposes any inconvenience onto other fishers nearby.

A fishing trip should be an enjoyable experience for all involved. As such, please remember to indulge responsibly and show respect for those around you by avoiding excess alcohol consumption on the boat – a few beers are fine but leave your ‘booze cruise’ mentality at home! Let’s keep these trips social and enjoyable (in all senses of the word)!

Check weather conditions

It’s important to check the local weather forecast before going out so that you can be prepared for any unexpected changes. If conditions are looking poor, it’s best to reschedule your trip for another day.

Don’t forget safety

Lastly, always make sure to prioritize safety when out on the water. Wear a life jacket and be aware of your surroundings – if anything looks off or unsafe, let your captain know right away so they can take the appropriate precautions.

Following these tips can help ensure an enjoyable and safe head fishing boat trip for everyone involved! So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start reeling in some big catches!


What should I do if my line gets tangled with another fisher?

If your line gets tangled with another fisher’s, remain calm and politely ask them to help untangle the lines. Most fishers understand the possibility of a snag and will extend the same courtesy in return. It is best to try and work together to resolve the issue swiftly so everyone can get back to fishing.

What fish are in season in Hilton Head?

Hilton Head Island’s coastline is a dynamic destination year-round. During autumn and spring months, anglers are treated to varieties of Grouper, Snapper, and Black Seabass – as well as many other species! Summertime brings even more variety; Amberjack, Spanish Mackerel, Cobia, and King Mackerel for visitors on their thrilling expeditions.

What is the difference between a head boat and a charter boat?

A head boat is a larger vessel that carries multiple anglers and typically operates in deeper waters. Charters, on the other hand, are smaller boats that carry fewer people  (six or fewer) and usually stay nearshore. Depending on the type of fish you’re looking for, one may be more suitable than the other. Generally speaking, head boats offer more variety at a lower price point while charters provide more personalized attention for an increased cost.

Is it OK to consume alcohol on the boat?

It is not recommended to consume large amounts of alcohol while out on a fishing trip as it can be dangerous and distracting. A few beers are generally fine, however, it is best to indulge responsibly and with respect for those around you. Let’s keep these trips social and enjoyable in all senses of the word!

What should I do if the weather conditions look poor?

If the weather conditions look poor, it is best to reschedule your trip for another day. This will ensure a safe and comfortable fishing experience for everyone involved. Prioritizing safety is always important when out on the water.

Do you tip the captain of a boat?

Tipping is not expected, but rather a polite gesture that your captain will surely appreciate. Tipping is customary for good service. If the captain has provided a satisfactory experience, it is appropriate to tip them for their services. This can be done at your discretion.

How much should you tip on a party boat?

Tipping is always appreciated by the crew and it’s customary to give 10-20% of the trip cost. Depending on the length of your fishing trip, your itinerary, and how well it’s executed. However, if you feel that your captain or crew has gone above and beyond in providing great service throughout your trip, feel free to tip more generously!

What should I do if I see someone in trouble on the water?

If you see someone in distress or notice any dangerous situation on the water, please notify the captain immediately and take action to help those involved as best you can. Put safety first and always follow local boating laws. In an emergency, contact 911 or other relevant authorities. They will be able to provide assistance as quickly as possible and ensure that everyone gets back safely.

What should I do if I see something unsafe on the boat?

If you see something that looks off or unsafe, make sure to let your captain know right away so they can take the appropriate precautions. Safety is always a priority when fishing, so it’s important to stay alert and informed.


If you’re looking for an affordable and exciting fishing adventure, head boat fishing is the perfect option. With so many benefits, it’s no wonder this type of charter trip is growing in popularity. So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start reeling in some big fish! 

And before you go, be sure to check out our guide to gearing up for your trip. We hope you enjoy your time on the water!

Have you ever been on a head-boat fishing trip? We would love to hear about your experience in the comments below.

Thanks for reading our article. If you have any questions, leave a comment below. You can see more posts on our website here.

Happy fishing!

Further reading

A Beginner’s Guide to Deep Sea Fishing

Offshore Fishing Tips

Offshore Fishing: All Things You Need to Know

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