How to Prepare for your Trip

December 5th, 2014

I’m sitting at home today thinking about you. Before you get creeped out, let me explain. I promise you that you have no idea how much thought and preparation goes into your trip. We are transitioning into our subtropical “Winter” here in the Keys and that means how we all prepare for a day on the water changes too. Last year we had no winter-like conditions to speak of and this year, winter is early. Now your comfort requires a little more preparation for me and you. No longer is it all about sun block, flip flops and bikinis….aaawwww!! So, here is a little heads up on what you can expect, what you need and what I have for you.
I do realize you are from the mainland and a rocking, rolling, wind blown wet boat isn’t in your best interest for a day of fun. Your comfort is the foundation for the success and enjoyment of any trip. I pride myself in my communication with my customers. Our ability to share information and make decisions, even compromises, is what makes your trip the best it can be. Sometimes, especially this time of year, the weather can be the biggest challenge for your trip.
It’s all about cold fronts and high pressure. What we see now through Spring is a series of cool to cold blasts coming down from where you likely live. We will see several nice days until a front passes through and everything changes. The winds kicks into overdrive out of the North for a day, clocks to the East for a handful of days and it gets nice again until the next front. Most in the water activities are affected adversely, but for fishing we ALWAYS have options. Be flexible and understand that I can get you out fishing in almost any weather, but I want you to have a good time and I want to give you a reason to come back again.
My boat is properly set up to handle the nasty stuff, but your check in call 48 hours ahead of your scheduled trip is our time to go over the details of your group and discuss options for plan A,B and C. My boat is dry, stable and had a full wrap around enclosure to keep you out of the harsh elements. I also have sets of rain/foul weather gear that keeps you dry, warm and comfortable. I have had a handful of great trips in the rain when my customers elected to go forward despite a lousy forecast. Believe me, I don’t like to be punished by the weather, but if you understand I pull the plug when it gets poopy, I can get your trip in when it is a priority to you. Wind and rain is a worst case scenario, but most trips are just subject to wind this time of year.
So, what about you? I have my checklist. This is yours!! First question is who gets sea sick! First priority is the kids. Motion sickness meds have come a long way! The days of the zombie drowsy customers are long behind us! Drammamine is now available in a non-drowsy formula and another product called Bonine is highly effective. Most people are aware of their sensitivities to motion sickness, but for the kids, there is a children’s version too. Just go ahead and dose the kids, as they won’t know the difference. Do NOT plant the idea in their head that they may get sick on the boat!!!! All motion meds need to build up in your system, so take them the night before and the morning and even the afternoon of your trip. This really is like an insurance policy for your day on the water. Everybody is different and there are more product options not mentioned that may be highly effective for you. What I have mentioned works best for most of my customers through experience. I’m pretty confident it will work for you too. One final note, nobody wins if somebody in your group starts feeling sick. It doesn’t go away and you or they will not beat it. The sooner I know, the sooner I can react with a change of location to fix what is about to happen. 30 seconds before the human volcano erupts is way too late and your trip is likely over. My job is to manage many variables and I need to know immediately when something isn’t working!
Within each trip wind, waves clouds and sunshine will affect your comfort. Layers are your best friend. My foul weather gear will cut the wind and keep you warm and dry if you didn’t bring enough warm clothes, but you also want to be able to shed a layer when the sun comes out. It’s hard to predict and prepare for being exposed to the elements in open ocean conditions. It is always smart to be a little over-prepared. If YOU are booking a trip for a group, then you are the team leader and need to be aware of the needs of everybody and prepare for any special needs or requirements. Also bring any special needs to my attention so I can prepare too!
Many of my customers are new to saltwater fishing, spearing, lobstering or whatever I do. There is always a learning curve with any activity you sign up for. Trust me, I don’t get a lot of experts, so I have a way of getting you up to speed to succeed quickly. Now we have so many resources available for building knowledge on the internet such as Google and YouTube in this case. If you want to see what you will be doing on your trip, I probably have a video for you to watch on my YouTube channel. Just click on the YouTube button on the left side of my page and you are there! You may have to scroll through a hundred videos, but somewhere in there is a reef fishing trip, a deep drop trip, an offshore trip, spearfishing, lobstering, snorkeling and so on. This is the BEST way to get some basic background info as to what it looks like. This is an incredible visual aid and tool to reduce your time in the learning curve. I want you to have an easy and comfortable trip without pressure or embarrassment. I also don’t want you to be overwhelmed by an activity that is too challenging. Try to imagine how many people that book a trip with me want the biggest, strongest, most beautiful and delicious trophy fish that swim, without any consideration to their own skill or experience level. Trust me here, there are levels of fishing and everybody is capable of some levels and not others. I match you with what is best for you, where you will have success with limited failure. A trip of solid customer failures is a failure on my part too and nobody wins at the end of the day. I can usually attach you to something big mean and angry, but if it is going to beat you every time then it is pointless.
This is all good information for you to enjoy your trip, but I want to enjoy your trip too. We live in a different world, where some people just don’t get it at all. If you don’t come with an attitude for fun and adventure, your energy alone will set the tone of the trip. Personally, I bring high energy and a positive attitude on board every day and it is usually contagious. Ask questions if you don’t know. Communicate to me how I can improve your trip as it is happening. I will guide you through everything patiently until you are comfortable, confident and happy! I sometimes have my customers derail my systems for success and take me completely out of my own game. When I’m running the show it always goes great. I’ll let you or your kids run the show once I know I have lost control, but if I’m chasing your tail instead of leading the pack you may end up with an outcome that is your own doing. When my ability to teach, coach, instruct or whatever you see it as fails, that’s usually when things start getting broken. There are some groups that break rods, reels and chip and damage the gelcoat on my boat. My equipment and boat has to last longer than one trip. Everything on a boat is EXPENSIVE TO FIX! So slow down, be aware and listen. I bet you will hear me telling you to watch your rod tip, see me opening your bail, pushing your rod tip out of my face and handing you the rod after you dropped it on the deck and walked away from it! There will be a pattern that makes sense if you choose to understand what is going on. When you are happy and we catch tons of fish and nothing is broken and nobody is hurt….it is a beautiful thing!!!
Ok, with all of that stuff out of the way, let’s go play! December has been on the slow side and there is plenty of availability now. As we get closer to Christmas week, every guide good and bad will be busy, so get your desired dates in now! If you come to the Keys and don’t spend a day on the water, then you missed the whole reason we all are here!!

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