Nothing is more important to an angler who catches a trophy fish than spreading the word as fast as possible. And aboard a new headboat soon to be docked at Ocean City, that can be done as soon as the prize is reeled in.
Just step inside the cabin and dial the telephone. Let the folk back at the docks or at home know that you scored. If the day's catch doesn't include any trophies, phone ahead to suggest that the family plan on a smaller fish for dinner.
An on-board cellular phone system is just one of the amenitie that will dress up the new O.C. Princess, a combination party and headboat that will be steaming to her new port at Shantytown Pier along with Boston mackerel moving up the coast in less than two months.
Not only will the O.C. Princess be the biggest and most moder of the Ocean City headboat fleet, she will be the fastest thanks to three V-10 turbo-charged German diesels. The 2,400 horses figure to push her to close to 25 knots. This means less riding time and more fishing in her regular 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. sailing schedule. In addition, evening runs are planned.
"She will be here in time for mackerel fishing. We're planning o it," said owner Charles Nichols, who manages the Shantytown and Ocean City Fishing Center complex. "Delivery is promised in March, and we'll sail her from Florida to here. Might even try for a few mackerel on the way. The timing will be right."
Mr. Nichols spent months scouring the coast for the type of boa he wanted for offshore headboat fishing. He wanted a boat that could also be used for night fishing for blues and, when the fishing is right, for offshore tuna chunking.
The boat, being built for more than $750,000 by Lydia Yachts o Stuart, Fla., is a look-alike of the Capt. Stacey that sails out of Morehead City, N.C.
The O.C. Princess will be able to carry 150 passengers, abou 100 of them on her wrap-around deck. The design of this boat, with a displacement hull and generous 23-foot beam, is of low configuration to reduce wind-caused roll. The design also adds to her speed and lessens chances of dragging anchor when set on a school of fish in a breeze.
She will be licensed to work 100 miles offshore, but there is n need to make a run like that at Ocean City, where there are numerous wrecks for bottom fishing 10 to 40 miles from the inlet. Tuna fishing outside the Jackspot would be less than a two-hour run.
There will be a large live well for keeping bait fish caught for tun parties, a large freezer for ice, and refrigerated holds to store fish, all new for Ocean City.
Inside, there will be dinette seating with a full galley to serve ho breakfasts and lunches. The main cabin will have central heating. In summer, the large cabin, lined with tinted Lexan glass windows, will be air-conditioned. There will also be color television and a VCR.
Three large generators will provide electricity throughout th vessel, which is built of mahogany frame, marine plywood and covered with fiberglass.
"She is designed for comfort -- the comfort that's wanted by fishermen who want to bring their wives and children on a fishing trip," said Mr. Nichols.
In the spacious pilothouse topside, there will be state-of-the-ar electronics, including GPS Loran, automatic piloting, global positioning device, radar, two color fish-finding units and controls for an electric anchor.
Capt. Monty Hawkins of Snow Hill will skipper the O.C. Princess There will be a crew of three mates. Mr. Hawkins was previously the skipper of the headboat Angler, and at one time worked with Capt. Jack Bunting of the Miss Ocean City, who is dean of the mid-Atlantic headboat fleet.
The O.C. Princess will also be available for charter for anglin and special cruises. No reservations will be needed for headboat fishing, the price of which has not been set yet. For information, call (800) 457-6650.