Old 07-10-2018, 03:22 PM
SWF Pontoon Angler
Senior Member
Join Date: May 2014
Location: Fort Myers, FL
Posts: 1,558

Originally Posted by Pure Luck View Post
Like the title says, my friends and I chartered a boat out of Key West to fish the Tortugas. We thought we were getting the Captain "name sake of the charter" to take us fishing. The night before the trip, we get a call asking if one of us has a captains license. We say yes, and why? He says that something came up, and he can't make it, so he'll send his son to run the charter. No big deal "we thought" until the morning of the charter when a 16 year old kid and his 12 year old brother show up 15 minutes late to take us fishing. We were all like WTF, but decided to go anyway since we were all up at 4am and drove down from Marathon. So we get out into the bay to get bait from their 2 pinfish traps, but they seemed to forget to GPS where they left them. So we drive around for an hour looking for traps. Everyone on the boat was on the gunwales looking. Found one of theirs and one of someone else's, so now we have pinfish. Then we go searching for pilchards. But due to us wasting an hour trying to find pinfish traps, the bait moved up into the grass flats. We got a net or so of tiny pilchards and headed out. For the first five and a half hours of the trip, we catch 2 muttons. One short and one barely a keeper. The problem it seemed, is that "captain" didn't seem like he knew how to set up a drift, nor did he or the mate know the proper amount of weight to use at that depth. The "captain" seemed like he would be a great mate, and has a real future in the business, but at this time wasn't ready to run a charter. The 12 year old was rude, condescending and kept making comments that we were dropping the baits too fast "even though no one had 1 tangle". And the two of them were blaming us for not catching any fish. One of the guys "captains license" with us is a writer for a sport fishing magazine, another one of us is a regional sales rep for a navigation chip company that fishes almost daily with customers in order to sell their chips. I have a ton of fishing experience with a bunch of tournament wins under my belt, and the other 3 on the boat had decent fishing abilities. So after about 6 hours he says that he wants to go in shallower and catch Red Snapper. We limited out on them, so it was about an hour or 2 of actual worth while fishing. The problem with that is, I could have saved a bunch of money on the charter and fuel and pretty much did the same thing out of my boat on our coast. We didn't charter this boat to catch red snapper, we chartered it to catch grouper and a bunch of snapper. This wasn't my first trip out of the Tortugas, and by far it was the worst. I've fished the Tortugas every month of the year over the last 25 years, and every time my cooler was filled, and I left happy. A call to the owner/captain was made, and his reply was "you caught fish didn't you". Am I wrong for being a bit pissed? I don't think we should have paid full price for the charter if the actual captain that we hired didn't show up and one of us had to have a captains license in order to fish. So $1500 for the charter, plus $700 in fuel and $150 for tip "planned on $250 for tip, but it wasn't a pleasant experience", and we all waked away with 2 red snapper each. Not my idea of a good time. Plus, the owner/captain didn't even make an appearance before or after the trip. The whole thing was totally unprofessional in my mind. Also, my friend said that the "kids" fell asleep at the wheel while on autopilot on the way out. Oh, forgot to add that the two sharks that we caught were killed and pitched overboard, and the reasoning was that since they were on their fishing spots, they won't leave now that they ate the fish off of the line, so they have to kill them. That and pitching soda cans over the side while we were fishing. It's a little long winded, but I'm not happy. This happened a week ago.
Can't believe you would go with a 16 year old as captain. You bought it so should live with it....no offense.
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