I’m finally getting around to writing a report and I see my Spring Break report never made it to completion. That’s alright; the gist of it was highlights of lots of great trips we had in March. April brings warmer weather and more great opportunities with hopefully less wind that comes with out winter/spring transition.
We are nearing mid-April now and we have a lot to look forward to. The water is warming and we are seeing slightly longer stretches of calm weather. The water is clearer and a whole new wave of fish are arriving. This gives us more options to choose from. The hard part will be deciding which direction to go!
In the water activities are rising to the top of the list again. Lobster is closed, but grouper season is opening May 1. We have had some great snorkeling trips and I have a few spear trips on the books. As with any activity I offer, your preparation pays off. Be sure to read some of the helpful hints under my “Trip Tips” section. Once you get in the water there is more to consider and prepare for. Especially if you are spearfishing!!
Rod and reel fishing has been excellent! As I mentioned, May 1 grouper season opens again and we can finally keep a few of these reef bullies. We have had an excellent off season catching/releasing grouper up to 35lbs on our reef trips. It shows the conservation efforts are paying off, but it sure will be nice to keep a few here in the near future! The yellowtail snapper bite has been improving with size and numbers. As the water warms, this fishery only improves through summer.
A little further out there has been some decent wreck fishing for mutton snapper. On the wrecks we have better opportunities to catch bigger, harder fighting fish, but this is quality and not quantity fishing. There is still plenty of times we fish the wrecks and it is hit of miss for the glory species, such as the mutton snapper and grouper. Common catches of bonita, jacks, barracuda, kingfish and sharks usually fill in the gap in action when things are not red hot.
Looking further offshore, the calmer weather pattern will allow more trips way out to catch tuna and dolphin. The tuna have been on the small “football” size, but the numbers are there. Despite their size, they will wear out any angler in short order from their incredible pulling power. You also have to get them into the boat before the sharks get them and the race is real!! The dolphin are not here yet in numbers, but some guys are getting a few as they are gearing up for their arrival in a few weeks. Another great option is electric deep dropping. This fishery is now highly regulated, but we are able to target deep water snapper, grouper, jacks and tile fish in depths averaging 800 feet deep. It is a nice way to mix up the variety of great eating fish we can put in the box.
Closer in we have some great big game options that are firing up right now. The catch and release shallow water sharks are here and hungry. This is an entry level activity that gives you many chances at hard fighting drag screaming sharks that provide a great thrill for anybody. This is the easiest way to catch the biggest fish of your life. These sharks are commonly 50-150lbs. More challenging is the tarpon fishing along our local bridges. These turbo charged giant minnows test the best tackle and all of your skill as they jump and maneuver through the bridges to escape capture. This is best early or late during periods of lower light for the prime bite. We also have permit on the deep wrecks. When it is calm, we can sight cast crabs to large schools of fish that perform blistering runs and require great speed, skill and a little luck to stop them from cutting you off in the structure of the wrecks they inhabit. All are great options for anglers seeking a challenge from some of our top sport fish available this time of year.
With so much to do, the best way to go is tell me what you your goals for the trip are and I try to match you up with the best option for your group with consideration to the conditions. Go with the flow approach seems to make everybody happy. Happy customers is always my priority.
A couple more helpful things before I wrap this up. Many of my customers are not using the “notes” section on the reservation for their trip. That is your chance to put into words how many people are in your group, what you would like to do and any special needs or concerns. You are 100% wrong if you think I remember all the details of whatever we may have talked about a month, a week or a day ago. I communicate with many people that want to do similar things with similar names and there is only 1 way to keep it all straight. Please fill out the notes section with the appropriate detailed info to help us both. That is why it is there. Medical conditions is another one. If you are seriously overweight, have limited mobility, have irrational fears, are missing important limbs, are near death or have special needs…..I should probably know that before you book the trip. It may sound funny, but this is a problem I come across every week and I just do not understand why. I do not want your condition to restrict what I planned to do for your trip. When you surprise me, the priority goes from what I had planned to what I now can do within the restriction you placed on me for operating a safe trip. You will never know what goes into each trip to make it the best it can be. Work with me and it will go well.
Finally, the last +4 years of operating this business has been a labor of love. I started from nothing and climbed to the top with the best of my abilities in a highly competitive market. There is a million fishing guides here, so I am a pretty lucky guy. I was fortunate to have many appreciative customers give back to me in the form of reviews on social media. I’m not the best fisherman, I don’t have the most experience and I don’t have the biggest boat. I have a business that designs trips around what you want to do and I do a great job at a great price. These TripAdvisor reviews got me to where I am today, but something has changed this year. I have more experience, the boat is the best equipped it has ever been, I have this figured out A-Z and I offer more activities. The TripAdvisor reviews are virtually non-existent despite me asking each customer to help me spread the word and I put my business card in my customer’s hand before they walk away from a great trip. I have fallen from #3 to #9, the lowest I have ever been!! I’ve looked into advertising costs and I have no choice to save my business. I will absorb the costs for now, but if it costs me, it will cost you. Easy thing to do is if you had a great time, please help by giving a short review on TripAdvisor or Google. It is far more important than you realize. Thank You!
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