I was honored with the opportunity to have Jim Hutchinson fish aboard the Compass Rose this past August for an open boat
trip out to the reef site. We had a great day on the water and a good time was had by all on board. Here is his
write up in the local paper, the Islander and the Asbury Park Press as it appeared on August 19, 2011:
For many reasons,
including economic factors, owning a boat is not for everyone. Fishermen without boats have several options to do some fishing
without the responsibilities and expense of owning their own boat.
One choice is to rent a boat from a local boat livery. While this will get you on the water for the
day, practically all boat rentals are restricted to bay waters. To fish ocean waters, you must either fish on a head boat
or make arrangements with a fishing guide.
head boat is a large boat that may take anywhere from a dozen anglers up to as many as 75 for a day's fishing. Fishing on
a head boat is an economical choice, and many good catches are made on headboats every day.
The drawbacks to fishing on a head boat include the large crowd of strangers
you will fish with and a lack of personal contact with the captain himself. Captains must divide their attention between all
the anglers on the boat and their captain's responsibilities.
Another option is to charter a boat and crew. Most charter boats are licensed to take up to six anglers. When
you charter a boat, you control who and how many people you fish with. With the smaller number of anglers, you get the chance
to interact with the captain.
The main drawback
to chartering a boat is the expense.
on the length of the day and the type of fishing, a charter can run from $400 for a half day fluke trip to more than $3,000
for an overnight tuna trip.
When a captain
finds charters are slow, he can declare certain days to be open boat trips.
He determines where the boat will fish and their target species. Each angler on an open boat
pays a fee to fish. Depending on the type of trip, this can range from $75 to $200 or more.
When you fish on an open boat trip, you do not select your fishing partners
for the day.
Capt. Dave Wittenborn runs
the Compass Rose out of Beach Haven.
boat is a 29-foot center console with twin 250 horsepower Yamaha outboard engines. He has found Saturdays in the summer to
be difficult to find full charters.
says that a large portion of his customers are vacationers, and Saturdays in the summer are "turnover" days when
rentals are either ending or just starting.
found that running an open boat trip on Saturdays in the summer almost always ended up being successful.
These trips enable small groups of anglers to fish at a reasonable
price. Many times they can book spots at the last minute.
Last Saturday, the Compass Rose had an open boat trip that fished for fluke at the Little Egg South Reef. The
boat left the dock in Beach Haven at 7 a.m. and returned about 1:30 pm.
As with all trips, Wittenborn supplied all necessary fishing gear and bait.
Chris Semenuk of Greenwich, Conn., had his 12-year-old son Logan
out fishing in the ocean for the first time.
wanted an inexpensive way to introduce Logan to fishing and found Wittenborn on the Internet.
He booked the trip the night before, after learning the weather would
Pete Wellstood of New Rochelle,
N.Y., also found the boat on the Internet and took the fishing trip while his wife and daughter spent time at the beach.
Craig Breslin of Maplewood received the trip as
a birthday present from his wife.
of Newton, Mass., has been fishing with Wittenborn for seven years. He has both chartered the boat and signed up for the open
He said he likes the captain's
friendly attitude and the way he handles families.
group ended up with six keeper fluke, along with about 30 throwbacks. Once they returned to the dock.
Wittenborn cleaned the fish and split them up evenly among the anglers
so that everyone could have a fish dinner.