I want to start out by thanking my customers for an incredible July for the record books. I had 27 very successful trips and the weather and conditions were insanely perfect nearly every day. We’re rolling into August now and we are pretty much on track for what we typically see this time of year. Things slow down a little and kids go back to school soon and we catch our breath a little. Fishing takes a little dip in action because the heat of summer really sets in and I limit my fishing trips to just morning trips. Our water temps are in the mid to high 80’s and the fish just don’t eat well past 10am. If you are reading this, do NOT book a 1-5pm reef trip. You can, but it’s not going to be anything like a morning trip and you are going to catch more intense sunshine than keeper size fish. Fishing on the reef remains fair to good for mangrove and yellowtail snapper. My start times are 7 or 7:30 to keep ahead of the heat and capitalize on the early morning bite.
a swarm of yellowtail snapperOffshore there are still a fair amount of dolphin being caught and the tuna fishing is steady at the humps 27 miles offshore.
August is the last month for our electric deep drop fishery for Snowy Grouper and Blueline Tilefish. This is a great option on the calm slower days when the surface bite isn’t getting the job done. It really is quite a feat to pull a fish off the bottom in 650-800 feet of water and they are absolutely delicious.
In the water activities are a great choice to beat the heat and can be done at any time. We have had great water quality compared to last year and the clear blue water days have been the normal going through July with plenty of 60-80 feet of visibility days. In August we typically see more algae blooms and the visibility is more in the 20-40ft range. I have noticed the arrival of the first waves of Moon Jellyfish moving across the reef and their numbers will increase and fluctuate through the remainder of the year. I highly recommend a long sleeve rash guard and a neck “buff” to help keep the sun and the stinging critters off of your skin for any in the water trip. Most encounters with moon jellyfish produce a mild to respectful sting, but if you bump them wrong and panic like you are in a karate fight with bee, you will earn a story about the time you lost a fight with a jellyfish that will be told for days, weeks and months. It’s generally not an issue, but certainly worth mentioning so you can prepare.
Speaking of preparing, I want to point you all to my “Trip Tips” section on my home page. My biggest issues I have with my customers this time of year is lack of preparation. There are a lot of things to consider and prepare for and I have outlined the basics for the minimum of what you should do. I do this every day, so I am prepared. I set everything up for your trip, so the boat is prepared. The quickest way to derail the success of your trip is show up unprepared. Don’t be late. Don’t show up without multiple forms of sun protection. Don’t show up without drinks. Don’t show up unmedicated if anybody in your group has any potential chance of getting seasick. That’s 90% of my customer struggles right there. I could retire if a $100 bill came out of a customer’s mouth before they said “this has never happened before” and proceeded to get seasick. Seriously…only you can fix these issues, so work with me and all is well and we can focus on what we are doing. Yes, I do have a well stocked cooler full of drinks for you to enjoy, but some people don’t like water or powerade. Your cooler is a great way to get your fish home cold too, so just bring it.
I’m going to finish with the lobster report. Like last year, mini season was a little disappointing. Regular season opens August 6th (today) and there is a pile of people here in town to hammer on the slim pickings we saw for mini season. Report from today is lots of short sub legal sized lobster. I’m not sure what to say, but offering lobstering as an activity for charter becomes less attractive and more frustrating every year. I can say it a million times, but the reality of what I have to work with does not change. Lack of customer preparation for lobster trips is a nightmare for me. The unrealistic expectations customers come with is stressful. Here’s the deal…If I want to do something, I put effort and energy into it. Basically I invest in my success for the things I want or that are important to me. If you want to go lobstering, figure out if you meet the minimum requirements. Determine if it is a good fit for your group. Arm yourself with information to reduce the learning curve. Prepare your equipment and yourself for what you are about to do. I will take you to the places they should be. YOU have to catch them. Our success comes in diving as many holes as we can with the amount of time we have to work with. I have a system and if you want to catch as many keeper lobster as possible, get on my system without wasting time. If you are ok with a really expensive snorkeling trip and want to experiment or dabble with catching a lobster, just make sure I know that and I can dial it down from a 10 to a 2. That is so much easier on me. I want to be on the level you want to be on. The thing about lobstering is it is technique driven and your ability to perform the correct action produces a lobster. Through technique I can make anybody a rock star with a fishing rod because I am there guiding you to do it correctly. For lobstering, you have to perform the action and do it correctly. There is always a learning curve with lobstering. I understand that completely. I expect some people to be bad at it and some not able to do it at all. This is an activity that requires a legitimate full effort by everybody. You have to figure it out and improve and you have to work as a team once you find out who is good at doing various parts of the process.
Almost anybody can do this, but this is not for everybody. I put a lot of pressure on myself to produce the best catch or result for each and every trip I offer. It is nothing short of horrible for me to watch my customers struggle, fail, quit, beat themselves or just do it completely wrong for 4 hours. I try so hard to prevent this and it is becoming more common. I am the coach, the water is the playing field and you are my team. If you are not good at accepting reality and meeting a challenging physical activity of problem solving with multiple variables, please disqualify yourself. This is not a store bought activity like going to a movie. This is hunting animals that fight for their lives underwater in holes in the bottom of the ocean that doesn’t care about your feelings or how much you paid to do this. Just a whole lot of reality happening and you have to beat that and not beat yourself because you can’t follow instructions or figure it out. That’s lobstering. It’s really pretty easy, but my customers have shown me how to do it wrong every way possible until they exhaust themselves. I have used many descriptive sentences to avoid using specific words to highlight my current issues with lobster trips. I love lobstering. You get to see a ton of cool stuff in the course of a trip. You cover a lot of water. It is a ton of work and I usually do pretty well by myself or with friends. I want that for you. I want to have fun on your trip with you. I don’t want to not offer these trips in the future because many of my previous groups were all struggle and zero fun. I’m in the fun business. Please communicate with me thoroughly so we can find the appropriate trip to fit your group. I am very motivated to politely decline trips that I feel are not a good match for this activity. I’m getting better at it all the time.
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