Published On: June 13th, 2019Last Updated: December 29th, 20213.8 min read

Party Boats Vs. Private Fishing Charters in the Florida Keys

When it comes to fishing charters in the Florida Keys there is a huge difference between a Party Boat and a Private Charter. Main Attraction Charters are all private. We currently have 4 vessels in service, two that are 32’ in length and two other larger boats over 40’ that carry up to 6 passengers each. People often ask if we can take 7 or more people on one boat if some aren’t fishing and the answer is always no.  The Coast Guard issues us a certain type of license that only allows so many paying customers to be on board a charter vessel at a time. Party Boats are typically much larger and hold a different type of license that allows them to carry much more than 6 paying customers.

When you reserve a Main Attraction vessel, you are reserving the entire boat for your private party, therefore no other party will be paired with you.  If you have a large group over 6 and need to book multiple boats on the same day we are happy to do so.  In  your charter fee, we provide all rods, reels, bait (live and dead), tackle, and coolers with ice. We can fish tournaments, inshore, reef, wreck or offshore. We filet your catch for you when we return to port as well.  All we ask is that you bring your own food and drink and any comfort items you may need such as sunscreen.

When you go out fishing with a Party Boat, you are paying per person, and you are on a larger vessel with lots of people. You can either rent their equipment for an added cost or bring along your own, and they do provide a certain amount of dead cut bait. Usually it is a maximum of four hours, and you are heading to the reef only to catch snapper, grouper and mackerel. Typically if you want your catch filleted after the trip you will be charged per fish or fillet. Party Boats are great if you have more than six people, a lower budget, and want only a few hours of fishing time. If you are looking to catch offshore fish like Mahi, Sailfish, Swordfish, Wahoo etc, you need to book a private charter. If you are fishing a party boat we recommend you take seasick pills just in case because you can not cut the trip short if you are not feeling well! We get calls on a daily basis from people actually look for a party boat instead of a private charter and when that happens we usually recommend The Marathon Lady but there are plenty others to choose from in Marathon.

We also get a lot of phone calls asking about split charters, where people that don’t know each other, share a private charter. Main Attraction does not arrange or  recommend these types of trips for a number of reasons:

1. What if you and your split charter do not get along? You are now stuck on a boat with this person for hours!
2.What happens if your split charter gets seasick? Do you go in early or make the other person suffer?
3.What happens if your split is a rod hog?
4. How do you split the filets at the end of the trip? What if you caught more fish? Or didn’t catch as much?
5.What if the other person smokes (or is allergic to your smoke), uses profanity, or shares political views that are much different than yours?

The above items are just a few of the issues that we have seen arise over the years from individuals trying to split private charters which is why we do not recommend or arrange them. We have two vessels that are smaller and convenient for groups of 2-4 who want to fish in a private setting. If you are interested in a private fishing charter in the Florida Keys feel free to call us at 305-289-0071 or visit our contact page.

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