January 2019 Report and Outlook

January 8th, 2019

Here we are heading into a new year full of new opportunities and possibilities.  I have been sooo incredibly busy and fortunate to be so in all the right ways.  We are coming off our first real test, as rebuilt islands following Hurricane Irma, serving the massive tourism boom that comes seeking refuge from the wrath of cold winters elsewhere.  I hope the new and returning visitors see the amount of work that has gone into making the Keys a great destination that rivals anywhere else in the world.

I wish I could say wholeheartedly that everything on the water has been great.  We have had our share of bipolar weather just as everywhere else has had.  This has led to some challenging conditions and many compromised or modified trip plans.   It is not uncommon for this time of year, but it certainly has been a long stretch of dirty water and pretty windy conditions.  What this means for you is in the water trips have been very limited to this point.  Lobstering is a flat out no.  Snorkeling and spearfishing is an optimistic maybe if the conditions are there.  Fishing has been good, but many days we are playing the wind and keeping our trips more in the preferred conditions vs grinding out bumpy trips where we get a beating.  My business is a very delicate balance of what you want to do, what we can do and what is going to work and make everybody happy.  I believe this is what separates me from the rest and it is what keeps me awake at night…..figuring out how to always make it work.  The people factor is what my business is.  As people change, life changes, things change…I find my business is much more about figuring out the people factor.

A fun multigeneration family trip to the bridge on a windy day

Since water conditions has been the biggest factor the past 2 months, let’s talk about what you can expect.  January is a windy month for us.  Each passing cold front brings us shifting wind directions and unstable conditions.  A week of calm weather makes for nice in the water conditions.  We just have not had that often or for any duration.  Looking ahead, I really don’t have a solid answer for what you can expect for snorkeling or spearing in January.  I’m not saying is won’t be good or wont work for your trip. I think my point is you can book what you want.  It may work, but there’s also a chance it won’t work.  I have to work, so if you book a spear trip or snorkeling and the conditions are not there….we may have to go rod and reel fishing instead.  Reason being, I would be out of business if I lived or died on the visibility being there for your trip to work.  The visibility hasn’t been there and I have to work.  I don’t know how dive shops stay in business because all they have done for weeks is cancel trips. I can’t do that and survive.  Today was the first good day of visibility on the reef in many weeks.  As of Jaunary 5th, the clear water has been progressively moving in and January 8th it is excellent.

A speared barracuda for this diver new to spearfishing

Fishing has been good.  Different, outside of conventional patterns I typically fish this time of year, but good.  I just saw some statistics for the weather temps for 2018 and Key West had 62 record highs and zero record lows.  If you’re not a weather person, that’s as radical as it gets and it tells me why things are the way they are.

A chunky goliath grouper landed on a light tackle snapper rod!

December was good fishing and for January I hope to see my usual patterns and game plans become effective soon.  With anything we plan to do this time of year, you have to open your mind and be willing to balance our trip on conditions/risk/reward for the time we have.  It is all connected and related.  You just have to understand we are working together for the same goal.  Sometimes we have to battle the elements too, so be open minded and be prepared to roll with it.

A huge yellowjack from an inshore wreck

I want to talk about the new boat a little before I finish this.  I’m getting used to the bigger platform with more creature comforts.  This time of year it has been most noticeable.  I have a few more upgrades in the works for the boat, but I believe I made a good choice to better serve my customers.  What is more important is how you and your guests/participants prepare for your trip.  Please, please, please visit and share my “Trip Tips” with all that are coming aboard.  If you are booking the trip, it is YOUR RESPONSIBILITY to share the information I share with you.  If I have to spend less time managing human issues, I have more time and focus to actually do my job.  I’m happy to help you through your trip and make it comfortable.

I want to close with some some words to help you and me.  I offer custom trips.  I can and have worked with everybody in nearly every situation.  I’m a guy with a boat that knows how to do things.  Take it a step further, I am a one man band that knows how to make almost any situation work.  The magic recipe that created my success is me having fun with you on your trip.  I’m invested into making every trip special.  Sometimes 2 trips a day for a week or 3 weeks without a day off.  This is a lifestyle and I spend most of my life on the boat with charter guests.  I wouldn’t dare share with you the reality that I have to deal with.  I am saying no to more  potential clients when the red flags are there.  I want just real people on my boat.  Not adults that have so many needs they are beyond anything I can do for them.  I start every day from scratch.  I’m ready when you get there no matter what.  Show up late, you just showed me you have no respect for my time.  Show up unprepared, you show me you have no respect for your trip. Show up with no courtesy or respect, I know I’m in management mode and I can forget about having fun.  This is how half my December trips started……..only you can change that.  Just be a good guest and a normal person.  That’s all I need to have a great trip with you.  If you are special beyond normal, I have a notes section within my reservations page where you can tell me all about how to prepare for you.  Use it!!!

Only a week into January and fishing has been very strong.  I just need some strong anglers to help reel in some more memories!  Otherwise you have to watch what my anglers are catching on my Facebook business page or Instragram @captfkra

A beautiful keeper gag grouper. All grouper are in closed season now

A nice cobia from the bayside

A fun family trip fishing on the patch reefs

A beautiful red grouper to close out grouper season in 2018

A cero mackerel landed by this young angler

An excellent catch from the bayside

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