Geeze, I just realized I didn’t publish my January post! I forgot to push a button!! Here is what you can expect for the remainder of the month going forward through February.
Getting right to it, fishing in January/February can be great! Winter and Spring is traditionally our windy season and the weather is the deciding factor in where we can go and what we can do. When it is nice we have options from shallow to deep and ocean side to bay side. On the nice day we can go way offshore for seasonal sized football blackfin tuna and wahoo for an advanced type of trip or fish the deep wrecks and reefs targeting snapper, jacks and grouper for a beginner to intermediate trip. When the wind is up a little we can fish the nearshore shallow patch reefs and catch up to a dozen different species of fish, fish the bay side for mackerel and mangrove snapper or fish in the protection of the historic 7 mile bridge and catch nearly anything that swims. We have so many choices, but remember that this time of the year we just play the wind game and take the best options given to us on our day to play. It is also very helpful to book your trip near the beginning of your stay and build in a little flexibility in case we need to move your trip a few days to take advantage of the best weather window.
So far this January we have had some very good trips in some some unusual roller coaster-like conditions.
An outstanding patch reef catch for this family
We have been in a prolonged period of near record warmth and have had our fair share of wind and extremely strong cold fronts. The fish have been a little confused and some are here, some are missing and some are moving around a lot.
Some big hogfish!!!
It has been tough to establish a solid pattern that lasts for more than a few days, so moving often and taking advantage of opportunities has been the best way to keep the fish biting and make a good trip. The strongest front of the year recently passed and the whole game has changed again. We should see a whole new cast of characters out there that should be very hungry from their long trip. This is the change we have been waiting for and I can’t wait to see what is next for the remainder of January. Fishing should be excellent if we can get a few breaks from the persistent wind that has been complicating trips since October 2016. It has to end eventually!!
For in the water activities (snorkeling, lobstering, spearfishing), the wind has only been half of the problem. We have had significant water quality issues that has killed way too many of my in the water trips. My heart goes out to all the people in the dive and snorkel industry because they have taken a big hit. I’ve seen more compromise trips run in poor conditions or trips run on the bay side in 5 feet of water where there is 5 feet of visibility, but not much to look at. Unfortunately we have no control of what is happening with the water and we make the most of what is given to us to work with. For the sake of understanding, if you want to book an in the water activity give me a call so we can make a proper plan A with a back up plan B. I want the best conditions for my customers, but I refuse to operate a trip in poor conditions, so I take the loss on a booked trip that does not go out. Going forward, I will be happy to book an in the water trip, but would like to build in an alternate plan of something your group would enjoy if we can not do plan A to ensure I am not throwing my income out the window as fast as it has been going the past 3 months. I know my customers have high expectations and your time here is limited. It is my job to manage more than you will ever know, so the more you can work with me the more I can get the best outcome for you despite the obstacles that may prevent our trip from being a great one. I’m in the fun business, so if you want to have fun and we can’t go snorkeling on the reef I’m sure we can come up with something else fun to do!! On the positive side, there has been 5-6 really clear water days this month and spearing was excellent when the conditions were nice for these little windows of opportunity.
A BIG White Margate fell to a nice long shot
Some groups are more fun than others. Bring aboard the attitude and energy that you want for your trip and it will flourish
Finally, I want to not so briefly address my recent bad online review, which I encourage you to read. It is truly a terrible scenario that was completely unnecessary and toxic. I promise you I could have had some bad online reviews for little things that haven’t gone right on a few other trips because I read a scenario incorrectly. People are quick to complain online, so I have had a good long run with the great reviews, especially considering 1 out of every 20-30 trips will leave any review for my business!! I have to make an insane amount of judgement calls for every trip and I can not always be right. That’s called perfect and that doesn’t exist. For this particular guy, he messed up. He booked a trip above the ability of his group, especially for the known conditions that we planned for. He showed up late and unprepared. His group couldn’t do what we had planned without a true struggle or understanding of the activity. The conditions were compromised and the activities we chose were ambitious for the conditions. I don’t want my customers to struggle and I don’t want that for me either. I’m the one that has to manage that and find a way to make it work! I don’t want that!! I do everything I can on my side to prevent that. But here is what I really, really don’t want. I don’t want my customer’s to remain silent if what we are doing isn’t a match. You are responsible for your “feelings” if you don’t say anything and I have to guess my way through a trip until I figure out what you can do. I’ll make you look good if you can follow 3 step instructions. If you book a trip and let’s say you struggle excessively at whatever you are doing, I’m actively working on a solution to correct that and put the fun back into the trip so you walk away a winner. This family caught a ton of fish once I figured out the plan best suited for them. They didn’t seem to enjoy themselves, but we did what I was hired to do. I felt bad for them, so I cut them a break and sent them on their way. I felt good about everything I did. This guy writes me a bad review calling into question how I fish and manage my boat when he does not not even know why. Until his poor online review, I WAS (past tense) one of the top 3 rated guys in town. There are 100 guides on this 7 mile long island and his review was significantly damaging to my business for his reason that I don’t understand. To put this in perspective, you can’t get mad at a basketball because you are unable to make it go in the hoop like they do on tv! I have a passion for what I do and each trip is as important as any. I always give a full effort. If there was ANY flaw in my system, it would have come out in multiple bad reviews over the course of the 5 years I have been in business. On my trips, nobody has ever been injured in an accident. Nobody has ever walked away from a fishing trip short of a dinner to feed the entire group or more. The pictures don’t lie, that why I post them. If I followed the practices of this guy’s written points of contention, I would have frequent accidents on my boat!!!!!!!! My only area I lack in is I can’t fix an after the fact unsatisfied person that goes out of their way to harm me online. They got a box full of fish, I got a cash tip and a thumbs up too!! I stand behind all of my trips and any ignorant attack on me will be strongly defended with facts. I have some concern as how my strong response may be interpreted by potential customers that believe that a service provider must also be an ass kisser aka “the customer is always right” under any circumstance. No. That is not how it works. This is still America and I refuse to let one person or group tarnish my reputation Do not hurt me when I make an extra effort to help you. There are other charter operations that do EVERYTHING FOR YOU. They are about twice the cost of my trips, they have mates, air conditioning, bathrooms, tv’s and you become a fish reeler-inner. I have a smaller boat and my customers are my crew. I am teaching you the methods and techniques required to have success for the activity. The reason I named my business “Reel Adventures” is because you are really doing the activity you have chosen. Earning is part of the reward of the activity
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