Head boats (also called party boats) are similar to charter fishing in that you are paying for the use of a boat and crew to go fishing. The difference is that charter boats require a group of people in order to charter the entire boat.
Head boats allow you to pay an individual fee (known as per head) for a spot on the trip and the use of fishing gear. Each excursion has room for between a few dozen to hundreds of fisherman. This is a popular choice among vacationers that aren’t traveling with a large group or can’t bring their own fishing gear with them.
Check out Critter Fleet, located in Ponce Inlet directly across from the historic Ponce Inlet Lighthouse, and only minutes from the ocean. Their two head boats, Super Critter and Super Critter II, are U.S. Coast Guard-approved and feature navigational and fish-finding technology. There’s also heated and air conditioned lounges, full bathrooms and a café to purchase food and drinks. The boats average speeds of 18 to 20 knots and go after deep-water reef fish such as Red Snapper, Grouper, Porgy and Amberjack.
Another popular east Central Florida head boat is the Pastime Princess, located a few minutes south of Daytona in New Smyrna Beach. Dubbed the “Premier Party Boat,” the Pastime Princess is a 100-foot fishing vessel offering an onboard café and daily rate of $75, which includes rod, fishing license, bait, tackle and fish cleaning. Depending on weather and ocean conditions, the boat typically goes between 11 and 23 miles offshore.
If your best fishing buddy can’t join you and the wife on a Daytona Beach vacation or you’ve never gone offshore fishing before, securing your spot on a head boat is a great way to experience world-class fishing in the Atlantic Ocean.