Supply and demand will be an issue this holiday season in the Keys. Do not delay your December bookings, especially rolling into Christmas week. We are approaching Thanksgiving and the increased demand against the weather forecast is stacking my schedule. I expect the same crunch to happen for Christmas week. Now is the time to get your reservation placed for Christmas week and beyond. The worse the weather is up there, the busier I am down here. If you can’t reach me by phone, fill out my CONTACT FORM only if you have any specific concerns not addressed on my website. If you are good with my info, book your trip seamlessly on my RESERVATIONS page. My website is my business partner that answers 13 years of questions and allows you to place your reservation first come first served. I do not answer my phone when I am on the boat, so use my website to book your trip. I assure you, all the important information is here. If you want to see what my customers are catching or doing trip to trip, check out my social media pages. I have near 600 posts on instagram #captfkra and my Facebook page Florida Keys Reel Adventures I try to share not the same posts to break up the information monotony. It will be easy to see that I am an active local owner operator business running legally. Not the same as a bar stool captain or a snowbird running illegal charters. I’m 100% legit.
A short bit of real world advice, flu and tourism travel together. Take ALL precautions during your trip to get here healthy. Our flu numbers are going up rapidly as our resident snowbirds have started to return to their winter homes. Nobody plans on getting sick for their vacation, but plenty do. Should any member of your crew get sick while you are here, they shall not come on my boat. It is unfortunate, but I can’t get sick. The flu will cost me many days of work and dozens of people will have their charters cancelled. Don’t put me in a position to be the bad guy. I am an easy target for travel germs. I have all of my vaccinations and take all precautions to be healthy for your trip. Please respect me and my business by doing the same. Please, do not come on board sick.
Fishing has been really good going through the first part of November. We are unusually warm and are inheriting a significant “cold” front each week, which is just 3-4 days of heavy wind. There has been no day to day normal because we are in the transition phase of our fisheries and weather patterns. My best bet for reef trips has been “sampling” deep reef, top of the reef and shallow reef to see which area is best each day. Everything is moving, so being rooted for too long isn’t our best strategy. If something is good, we hammer it until we decide to move on. If it is slow, we move on until we hit the sweet spot. Kinda normal for November. As always, the conditions and your abilities dictate what we can do. I start in the middle and adjust up or down with success in mind on different scales.
As my schedule meets demand, our start times may be adjusted for daylight. Daylight savings time screws my reality up because the fish and available light are not on the same schedule. My advertised start time of 8 am may be 7 am if I am running 2 trips a day. AM trips are always best, but this time of year pm trips are a solid option too. The strategy is early bird gets the worm. As increased demand puts more anglers on the water, I know I will be first on my spots in the morning. When everything flips for the afternoon trip, I do not fish the same spot as the morning, but I do not know if somebody else did fish any give spot. I want the best for my early birds, so shoot for the morning trip if you want to fish a half day trip. I know I will have many days fishing dark to dark coming soon. Please consider my schedule when booking your trip. Filling out the “notes” section will help both of us prepare for each other properly. How we exchange information makes huge differences in priority when changes are necessary. Invest in your trip. Reach out to me. I will get back with you as soon as I get in front of my lap top. 6-7pm will become the normal window for me to call you. I will be on the water more than you can imagine.
I’ve been getting many inquiries about lobstering. I think that is done for the year. They are out there still. Bayside water is 75 degrees and dropping. For the right clients that are highly qualified and hearty, I would say maybe. Best short answer is the water is becoming dirty and getting in/out/in/out of cold water is torture. I don’t want that for you. I only run high quality trips with your success in mind.
Snorkeling: Lately we have seen some nice visibility in the 40-50 foot range. This time of year the conditions can be very fickle depending on tide, prevailing wind direction and wave action. It’s a bit of a gamble because we are entering windy season. If you want to book a snorkel trip of any sort going through January 1, it’s ok to book it. We will plan on it. You will need to be properly prepared with wetsuits, which I can arrange through Captain Hooks rentals. If the conditions are not appropriate for snorkeling, your trip will become a fishing trip. What I can’t do, as a business, is book snorkeling only trips because our conditions do not support that day to day. You want to do something fun and so do I. If the visibility sucks, we will find something else to do that is a good fit for your proposed trip and group. If the weather really sucks, I will refund your deposit because I don’t take your money and make you go out in poor conditions to make a trip happen. However, I need to make a living. By making a reservation you are invested in me and I am invested in you and together our goal is to have a great day on the water. Together we will figure it out. I deal with a million variables. The important variable is making you a repeat customer. I’m in the fun business, so we can figure that out each trip. Every trip is different.
The boat and business are doing good. Off season has been exceptionally slow this fall. This pause has allowed me to keep up on the updates and upgrades on the boat. I bring the best boat for you to have the best experience. Your tips/gratuity go straight back into the boat and speak for the priority of my business offering you the best I can give. The greatest challenge this year has been managing costs. This is something my customers can help me out with. I can pass the increased cost onto you or you can invest in me. My boat insurance company dropped me for 2023 because of Hurricane Ian losses that were in the billions. New insurance is double. My fuel is up 50%. My mechanical maintenance is up 50%. My advertising is up 35%. My cost of living is up 45%. I want to keep my rates where they are. Many customers have told me I should raise them. I don’t want to. This can be offset by leaving a 5 minute review of your trip on Trip Advisor, Google or even the lowly Yelp. The past year or so, many charter operators have gone out of business. They have been bought out and an outsider that does not understand the extra complications of our local business climate, yet have taken control of premium advertising. The extra advertising dollars voids my advertising, but their end product can’t compete with my daily success. That’s where you come in. Reviews up, rates stay. No reviews, I will buy more advertising to play the game. I currently get 1 review for every 30-40 trips. Why is that? Because nobody has a reason to complain and I don’t buy reviews. So, let’s work together. Please invest in me and leave a short review to elevate my business.
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