Catch fish on vacation without breaking the bank (And maybe even see a submarine!)

Outdoors Bound

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WFXR) — You’re on vacation at the beach, and you want to get the family out for a little fishing. A local fishing pier is a good option, but prospects, depending on the time of year, can be limited. You could book a charter, but charters can be expensive. Or you could explore an option that provides access to a wide variety of target species, and at a price that won’t break the bank.

We’re talking about a walk-on head boat.

The bow of the Rudee Mariner

Head boats usually charge between $30 and $60 per person depending on the location and length of the trip. They are run by captains who know the local waters and what species is hitting at a particular time of year. Head boats also provide all fishing gear, tackle, and bait, and deckhands/mates are on board to assist you. They are a great way to put fish in the cooler to take home for a fish fry.

Croakers caught onboard the Rudee Mariner

In Virginia Beach, Rudee Tours operates a number of head boats. They usually run two trips a day: one in the morning and another in the afternoon. Most days they offer a short run to the fishing grounds. During the summer, croakers and spot provide most of the action, though flounder, sea trout, and black sea bass are also in the mix. They all make fantastic table fare.

“We caught a bunch of fish, too, and we plan to eat them for dinner tomorrow,” said Jenny Tuck of Vinton.

She and her husband Joe had brought their family to Virginia Beach on vacation and wanted an affordable way to spend time on the water.

“It’s a great way to get everyone out to fish,” Joe Tuck added.

Plus, you never know what you’ll see. In addition to stunning views of the Virginia Beach waterfront, you might see dolphins and other wildlife. The area is also home to U.S. military installations. The day we were there a U.S. Navy submarine surfaced nearby and was escorted into the Norfolk Naval Station.

A U.S. Navy submarine surfaces near Virginia Beach

Space can fill up on the boats, so you should call ahead to make reservations, and it is customary to tip your deckhands/mates.

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