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Chartered a boat for a Tortugas trip, didn't get what we paid for.

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Chartered a boat for a Tortugas trip, didn't get what we paid for.

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Old 07-09-2018, 09:24 AM
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Default Chartered a boat for a Tortugas trip, didn't get what we paid for.

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.
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:30 AM
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The captain not showing up and having his kids run the trip is bad enough but killing sharks and tossing them back and littering would have put me over the edge.
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:36 AM
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Sounds like a horrible experience, mind sharing who it was so no one else suffers the same experience? After seeing that kid pass out on the AP and not find his traps, I'd either tell him move over and just captain it ourselves... probably saved tracks or markers in that plotter anyways lmao or take her back in, dispute the charter on whatever card was used. Grab our boat, a ton of beer, spend the money saved making a bait guy's day on the water cleaning him out of live bait and go catch some fish.
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:39 AM
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You a 100% right too feel the way you. The owner should make it right. I know quite a few charter boat captions . Hate to say this for everyone that is I good guy and will do the right thing there 5 that I would not want to do business with or want to spend the day on the water with. Hope this gets back to then and they do the right thing
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:44 AM
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Originally Posted by jheiii View Post
Sounds like a horrible experience, mind sharing who it was so no one else suffers the same experience? After seeing that kid pass out on the AP and not find his traps, I'd either tell him move over and just captain it ourselves... probably saved tracks or markers in that plotter anyways lmao or take her back in, dispute the charter on whatever card was used. Grab our boat, a ton of beer, spend the money saved making a bait guy's day on the water cleaning him out of live bait and go catch some fish.
Yeah, we all started tying our own rigs after watching the 12 year old tie hooks on to blatantly frayed lines. It was funny, I was tying snell knots on my hooks and neither of the boys knew what kind of knot it was nor how to tie it. I stayed in Marathon with my family after the trip and between my wife and 3 girls aged 8-12, we caught more bottom fish than the charter in one day. Albeit, the fish were smaller, but I actually know how to set up a drift and use proper weight for depth. I'm not sure I want to share the charter name until I here a few more responses in my favor. I just want to make sure I'm not being a whiney baby with over the top expectations.
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:46 AM
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Originally Posted by Nickdee View Post
You a 100% right too feel the way you. The owner should make it right. I know quite a few charter boat captions . Hate to say this for everyone that is I good guy and will do the right thing there 5 that I would not want to do business with or want to spend the day on the water with. Hope this gets back to then and they do the right thing
I hope so too, we did a lot of research and this guy was supposed to be one of if not the best down there. Guess when you're that good you can do what you want.
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Old 07-09-2018, 09:52 AM
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Jesus. That sounds like a fustercluck.

Almost all of posts like this are whiney people with unrealistic expectations. Yours definitely does not fall into that category. You got boned.
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:03 AM
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If your that good you should only what's right. I have my own boat so I don't charter much. But I know a few guys come that take pride in what they do . Keep a good boat and have good equipment and know how to rig and set things up.
There moor guys that do charge a lot to go fishing don't use the right stuff can't tie the right knots . Don't know how to properly rig the equipment. Use the rod they get a discount on instead of the right one . I see this a lot and that includes some of the captions the others on this sight recommend. I not saying they can't catch fish but how much better it can be if they did it right
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:07 AM
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Went out 70+ miles with a sleeping 16YO at the wheel. Kinda crazy that nothing bad happened except a poor catch
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by Nickdee View Post
If your that good you should only what's right. I have my own boat so I don't charter much. But I know a few guys come that take pride in what they do . Keep a good boat and have good equipment and know how to rig and set things up.
There moor guys that do charge a lot to go fishing don't use the right stuff can't tie the right knots . Don't know how to properly rig the equipment. Use the rod they get a discount on instead of the right one . I see this a lot and that includes some of the captions the others on this sight recommend. I not saying they can't catch fish but how much better it can be if they did it right
The only time that I use a charter is for the Tortugas, I don't feel like putting in the time or burning the fuel required to find all of the good spots to fish.
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:31 AM
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It would be a big public service to say the name of the charter. There were simply too many decisions made that were, at best, awful business practices and, at worst, dangerous and hazardous.
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:35 AM
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Hurry and tell us who it is. I've got a charter booked on Saturday out of Hurricane Hole...should I cancel?!
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:39 AM
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Was this “charter” on a Seahunter? Sounds like a similar experience my buddy had (in regards to Capt not going and sending his 16 YO son in his place). But they did catch a cooler full of fish...
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:41 AM
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Here is the whole thing, If the charter owner/captain owned up to his mistake and did something to make it right I would let it slide as at that point he realised things went south and took corrective action, no need to mention his name and hurt his business if he is accountable and made things right. If all he did was say "you caught fish" than I would view it as a public service to mention his name but be prepared for a fight filled with all sorts of unqualified legal advice and interpretation of the law from the charter owner.
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:41 AM
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I'd bet his insurance carrier would be very surprised to learn he sends his 16 and 12 year old sons out with clients on charters without him. Totally unprofessional and unacceptable.
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:42 AM
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He gave the name away in his first post
Name sake of the charter.

Does it start with a Y and end in I
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:42 AM
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Originally Posted by phigamfsu View Post
Was this “charter” on a Seahunter? Sounds like a similar experience my buddy had (in regards to Capt not going and sending his 16 YO son in his place). But they did catch a cooler full of fish...
Sounds about right. How long ago did your buddy charter Delph?
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Old 07-09-2018, 10:44 AM
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I was wrong with the Capt I was thinking of, never thought the Delphs would do something like that.
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by Pure Luck View Post
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.
Now with your buddy having the capt license did he assume all legal responsibility of what was going on , sounds like that could get sticky and maybe end badly for your friend .
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Old 07-09-2018, 11:05 AM
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I don't see how someone legit could charge $1500 for a tortugas charter.
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