Party boats take anywhere from 15 to 35 people on board some even more when they are anchored, the cost is usually around #35 to $45 per person (a fare). There so many party boats to choose from and they all have their “it” time. As bait moves from place to place so do many of the predators after them, The migration of certain fish also has a lot to do with “it” My experience is mostly in South East Florida including the Florida Keys, so I will be writing about this area most of the times.
All party boats are good, you just have to keep up with the fishing reports (it is nice when these reports show pictures of fish being caught). Take a look at my page Tips for Party Boat Fishing in South Florida for some “If you didn’t know information). What sometimes makes a party boat not so good are the mates or the captain. Boat mates sometimes come and go and sometimes stay, those that stay have a tendency of being the best at what they do. It may not be the same opinion for some people but on many occasion I have heard or read of problems with mates where they should not be blamed. PLEASE do not expect the mates to be your personal helper, they are there to prepare the boat, anchor, cut bait, hand out bait, help with tangles, snags, and clean the boat. They will gladly help but let them know you will tip them well and they be happier to help you more than they should. They get burned a lot by customers making them their personal rig maker and not get a tip for doing so. When you think of a mate on a party boat or head boat think of a restaurant style tip. Most of these people get a basic salary that needs to be boosted by their tips. 15% to 20% should be customary. So if $35 is the fare then $6 is an average tip, $7 is a good tip. Sometimes it helps tipping ahead and explaining you will need extra help.
There many boats in the Riviera Beach area that are not quite Party Boats, these are what I like to call Mixed Charter Boats, since they only take 12 people or less but you would have to call ahead of time in order to get a spot. These are more expensive but some times worth the money. You can really appreciate the elbow room. These spots run anywhere from $60 to $100 per person.