It looks like I’m behind again on getting to my June report, but for all good reasons. I have been on a long stretch of excellent weather which has kept me on the water literally every day. From bay to reef to offshore, I have run every kind of adventure from fishing to spearing to mermaiding to shelling. It all has been pretty darn good! Please read this in it’s entirety.
For my June customers, the points I want to focus on is preparing for your trip, preparing for weather and making adjustments. This is always a main topic, but June is the start of our traditional rainy season and the increased heat means afternoon trips (4 hour reef fishing) are not very productive from this point going forward. I have had dozens of calls from people asking me what the weather is going to be like if they book a trip 1-2 weeks from now. In June it is going to be hot and it might rain somewhere every day. Go with that. It is best to prepare by bringing a medium sized cooler packed with your favorite drinks, tons of sun protection and I have rain gear for you to use if you do not have your own. Always prepare for the worst and expect the best and there is little to worry about! I have provided helpful information under “Trip Tips” to help you properly prepare for your trip. WAY too often my customers show up with nothing and my time and attention is completely taken away from doing my job and spent caring for preventable issues. I want the best experience for all of my guests. In my world, preparation equals success. So watch the weather forecast leading up to your trip, take your meds, cover your skin from the sun, bring drinks and prepare yourself for being in a challenging environment you are not familiar with. Also, when you book your trip, spend 2 minutes telling me helpful information about your group in the “notes” section. “We spoke on the phone” or “we look forward to fishing with you” is not helpful in any way. Please tell me how many people are coming, what you would like to do and any special needs you may have. It is an important step designed to help you.
Getting to the fishing report, over all fishing has been great. Instead of the traditional 8am start time, we have been opting for earlier start times(7am-ish) based on weather and the type of fishing we are doing. This is giving us more time to be into the early morning bite that shuts down when that hot sun gets up. Because of this, DO NOT BOOK AN AFTERNOON TRIP UNLESS YOU CALL ME TO DISCUSS THE DETAILS! This is highly situational and there are afternoon options. If you want a good trip, book a morning trip. A 4 hour pm trip will work against us most of the time for the next few weeks to months. If you ONLY want a 4 hour reef trip, book only a morning trip.
On the reef, the yellowtail snapper bite has been good when there is some moving current. The fish have gone down a few sizes the past week or so, but some days the bigger ones pop back up. We have been averaging 15-30 per trip. The grouper are still out there, but have thinned out tremendously. The mangrove snapper have not showed up in big numbers yet, but that should be firing up the next few weeks ahead of the July spawn.
Offshore we have had pretty consistent fishing for dolphin and tuna. Not too many big ones, but there has been decent numbers to provide plenty of action and tons of fillets to bring home. This is a good time to remind you that offshore trips are geared for guests that are familiar with offshore fishing reels, tackle and basic fundamentals for fighting fish and setting lines. You are my crew. I will teach you how it all works. It is a process if you have no experience or skills. There is tons of information available to those who care to be invested and educated. Just understand preparation equals success in everything I do. If you are not actively investing in the success of your trip, you are passively investing in your struggle to find success. Offshore fishing is a lot of moving parts. I want you to have a good trip, so bring your A game if you choose an offshore trip so we can work together as a team.
On the calmer days offshore, we have been electric deep dropping and bringing up tilefish and a few jumbo snowy groupers averaging 20lbs. I have made this more a part of my program to bring back more meat to the dock. This is conditionally sensitive, but works out work most of the time I’m exploring that option.
In the water trips for spearfishing and snorkeling have been great. We have had many nice clear blue water days and the green water has been clear most of the time too. Rainy season is here and algae blooms may decrease the clarity as algae blooms may be passing through with the fresh water spikes from all of the rain runoff. Spearfishing has become much more difficult per the new laws in effect. If your goal is to spear for the first time, you need to be 110% prepared if you want to be successful. It will be an earned experience that reflects your investment in your trip.
Lobstering isn’t here yet, but is coming up in topic more often. I have seen tons of lobster moving into our waters the past 2 weeks, so hopefully that is a sign of good things to come. I am booked up for mini season and no, I don’t know who isn’t booked. I can’t help you there. For my August bookings, I can’t offer any predictions for what the first week of regular season will produce. Generally if the weather is nice for mini season and nice going into opener, there is not going to be many available. If mini season weather is bad or is bad the following week, then lobster will be moving and regular week opener may produce better results. The reality of the situation is ALL OF THE LOBSTER ARE CAUGHT on miniseason and it takes time for the biomass to fill back into the decimated areas again. September is a great month for lobstering because things have returned to near normal by then.
May turned out to be an month of exceptional weather that produced more than exceptional trips for many of my customers. I ran 25 trips, lost 4 days to weather and 2 days to boat service. That’s a pretty busy month! Not every trip is excellent, but I do ask most of my customers for a little positive feedback in the form of an online review to help validate the services I offer. Nobody does what I do. It’s nearly impossible because it is a logistical challenge that most every captain will refuse to accept. Word of mouth is a powerful form of advertising because anybody can buy their way into a search engine ranking. That’s just business in the top 5 of anything these days. I promise, you can’t possibly ever understand the amount of work, dedication, time and effort invested into each trip to make it successful and then something more that is worth coming back for again. You can’t feel the aggravation of all the things that go absurdly wrong in dealing with some people these days, the massive amount of wasted time or the challenges I face in day to day operations. My business is a lifestyle and a progressive passion for producing an experience better than what the next guy can do. I am a part of many great adventures that are impossible to describe. I set the foundation to build unique moments through challenge and triumph and create bonds people will share for life because of the magic that happens in these moments. Big picture, it’s pretty incredible to me and I know where I stand in the charter world. If you want to validate my efforts, please invest 5 minutes of your time to leave an online review on TripAdvisor or Google to let somebody else know you were a part of a Reel Adventure. It separates me organically from all the people that do it wrong, because there are more that do it wrong than do it right. THANK YOU to the one or 2 people a year that roast me online when they don’t get exactly the fantasy trip end result, yet bring all the nonsense I would rather not be a part of. Oh, one final thought….If you want to be super picky about this or that the answer is simple. You have many choices for charters. Open your wallet, get out more money and hire a bigger boat with air conditioning and a mate. They will do everything for you that requires effort or skill and when you walk outside to reel in your fish the mate hooked, look to your left and wave at my customers that are really doing it for themselves for about a thousand dollars less.
I want to thank all of my customers and I appreciate the interest of those looking to visit the Keys and are interested in my operation as an option to spend a day on the water with. My business is designed to appeal to anybody looking for anything sorta on a reasonable budget. Within that scope, I have learned a lot and the experience is going to help me roll into the next phase of my business. I have added a second boat into my operation and I have to figure out the role it will play for giving you more options for adventure. Pricing and availability will be available as soon as I have time to figure it all out.
From your perspective, I’m sure this was an awkward read to some degree. May was a tough month. I had to successfully defend a fraudulent lawsuit claiming major medical injuries from a person that never stepped on my boat. I had more people puke on my boat in a few weeks than the past couple of years, not because of weather or sea conditions. I had a kid on a morning trip puke starburst and wrappers all over inside my boat first thing in the morning. That was his breakfast. I had a kid randomly piss anywhere on my boat at least 6 times in 1 trip. I have had every major medical issue surprise reveal in a moment where what we were doing it was 100% against what their medical issue was possible to allow them to do for what we were there to do. I could write a novel of how many trips I ran that I was caught in a customer nightmare that became my nightmare. The reason is lack of respect. People completely ignoring the policies and information I have in place to prevent our paths from crossing in these situations. People bringing all of their problems on my boat for me to figure out during the course of operating a fun, successful trip with every human element working against that outcome. Don’t do that. I want normal people on my boat. I am not the ring leader for your circus. I have pretty much seen it all. If you think you are going to fool me and attempt to cheat reality, you are only the next person to repeat the cycle of stupid stuff that I have to deal with. You will grenade your trip just like all the others that brought this topic to such a point. I would much rather talk about how fun my trips are. They are really fun trips when you are not puking and pissing everywhere, damaging my boat and equipment and suing me. I am looking forward to getting back to the fun part of operating my business.
I want and appreciate your business. I operate a safe and fun business doing really unique activities. You are guests on my boat. I provide the proper platform for you to have a great experience. You determine how it all goes down. Not everybody these days is on my team and I have plenty of people that really go against what makes for a positive outcome. Reap what you sew.
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