There’s a big ocean full of big fish. Via headboat, fishing charter or bare feet on the beach, you could land the memory of a lifetime—no experience necessary.
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Comedian Steven Wright once observed that there is a fine line between fishing and standing on a riverbank like an idiot. For many Delawareans and out-of-towners at the Delaware coast, that fine line may extend to the beach, headboat and charter craft. When it comes to saltwater fishing, however, there are not only a lot of choices, there is definitely a lot more required in technique, balance, strength and, definitely, equipment.
Maybe the best way for first-timers to experience fishing on open water is to simply buy a headboat ticket. A headboat is really just a juiced-up party barge that can carry 60 fishermen and more. Captain Ted Moulinier of Anglers Fishing Center (www.anglersfishingcenter.com) in Lewes says there are many advantages associated with headboating, especially for newcomers to the sport of fishing.
“You don’t need a reservation, you don’t need a license, and you don’t need any equipment of your own,” Moulinier says. “Our headboat capacity is 77 and you simply show up prior to sailing and buy a ticket.”
Rates are just north of $50 for an adult ticket, around $35 for children. Headboats cling closer to shore than charters and wander in Delaware Bay as well, though some headboat trips will go as far as 12 miles out into the ocean. Equipment and bait will run another $5. Striped bass, tautog, sea bass and flounder are the catches of the day for most headboat expeditions.
“We also offer a three-hour shark fishing expedition that’s especially geared for young children,” Moulinier says. “We get them as young as two, and they get hooked for life.”
For the more athletic and adventurous, there is the charter boat. Two years ago, Charlie Helmer closed his restaurants to follow his dream of running charters. He operates the Tranquila Sport Fishing (www.tranquilasportfishing.com) deep-sea charter out of Lewes.
Charters are private boats and crews hired by small parties. Itineraries are flexible, based on the group’s desires.
“I have a 53-foot Ricky Scarborough Sport Fisherman model with a 10-cylinder, 820-horsepower engine that can cruise at up to 34 knots,” Helmer will tell you modestly.
What that means is that Helmer can get you where the big fish are and get you there fast.
“It’s built to handle the rougher weather, too,” Helmer says. That’s good to know. Weather at sea can change dramatically. What you experience dockside may not be the same weather you’ll have on the ocean.
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