Frequently Asked Questions
I'll add to the list as questions come up
I want a Shark - This is a very common remark. So we try. However anytime you target a fish instead of going after what's around and biting you run the risk of having a weak catching day. One day we had a group with two children and they wanted a Shark. Normally an easy task, it wasn't that day. We spent the first 4 hours of the day trying for one shark and struck out while everybody around us were catching kings, sail fish, dorado and wahoo. Kids finally fell asleep in the cabin and the adults then had a pretty good catch for what remained of the day.
What kind of shoes are ok? - Flip flops, bboat deck shoes, tennis shoes with white soles. Or just come barefoot. Anything like a work boot or dark soled shoes are not allowed. The decks are all painted serfaces and don't like black marks ar rough soled shoes.
What kind of bait do you use? A lot depends on what we are fishing for. We have an on-board freezer and keep a variaty of bait and chum for bottom fishing, drifting, chumming for tuna. We also keep a supply of ribbonfish and ballyhoo for bait trolling. As well we carry a very large selection of artificial lures. We try to carry enough variaty in order to be prepared for what ever opportunities present themselves.
What kind of equipment will I be using? On billfish trips we use 5 Penn International 80's and two 50's. On other trips we use level wind 320's and Penn Senators. We also carry light spinning reels.
Do you have a fighting chair? We have a heavy duty Murry Bros fighting chair for billfish trips. Other types of fishing we remove it for more fishing room in the transom area and use fighting belts.
Do i need a fishing license?As a general rule you will be fishing in federal waters and don't need a state fishing license.
How about children? There is nothing like watching the eyes light up on a youngster when they get a fighting kingfish or thier first shark. 8 to 11 year olds seem to enjoy it the most.
Do you charge less for children? - No. Children actually take a lot more atteention than adults. They have to be watched constantly. There are a lot of sharp objects on a boat, and they tend to move around a lot and we don't want to loose one overboard.
Do people get sea sick often? - Most don't. A little caution goes a long way. Don't hit the bars the evening before! Eat a light dinner, not mexican or anything real spicy, get to bed early, eat something in the morning, stay away from the coffee and you will probably be fine. I find people who do the above and take Draminine never seem to have a problem.
Can I bring my bring own equipment?- Of coarse. The boat is yours for the day and we are here to serve you. But I tend to discourage it. It's really pretty simple. Snap goes the outrigger, there is a pause while everyone tries to pick up on which line just went off. Then who grabs it. It's a big one, then the line snaps or knot comes apart. And there goes one of my good lures. Or there goes one of your nice lures on that 100 lb Wahoo. It's hard to take the responsibility for the trip when using a mixture of equipment where we are familar with some and not others. Hate to loose that special one when you may only get one shot a day. On the other hand I had a customer in July that brought his 80lb Penn Gold on board and got a good sized Blue Marlin on it. Certainly added to his enjoyment and sense of satisfaction on his first Blue. Net net is you have to accept the responsibility for the day if you bring your own equipment.
Is there shade on the boat?- The Wahooooo,com does not have shade on the transom but does have a large airconditioned cabin. The flybridge does have all shade and usually the best breeze. Movies are free.
Can I bring a cooler? - Yes. Or two, or three. Bring your owwn for drinks and food. We have plenty of ice and storage for your catch.
Credit cards/ Payment method? - This is a good question. I don't take creddit cards but have been considering it. Before getting into this business I used to charter around the world chasing billfish. I don't remember ever having a facility take credit cards without some kind of surcharge. I think it's just that the margins are so thin you just can't afford it.
Fish cleaning & storage? - I usually pick up and drop off at Fisherman's Wharf where they have a good fish cleaning and storage facility. We are not allowed to do it at the docks. There is a facility for public use down where the boat ramps are near the ferry. For us to clean you fish we would have to transport the catch down to the facility somehow and then return. Just to time consuming. I believe Fisherman's Wharf charges about $.34 a pound.
Split charters? - This question comes up more ofter than youu would think. It's done a lot in vacation spots like Mexice, Jamaca, etc. where the hotels book people at an individual rate and somehow the boat ends up full. Say $80 to go fisjhing, but you will be joined by up to seven other strangers on the charter. That's generally not done down here. Let's say I book six different people for an all day long charter for say $150 each. And four don't show up, who pays. If I ask the two left to make up the full charter price they will be pretty unhappy. To make this work I would have to ask everyone to pay the full amount up front. Not a problem if it's a bunch af people vacationing and are in town allready, but that is not usually the case down here.
How much time do we spend fishing vrs running? - This question comes up mostly from people who have had some trips on party boats where they run a long distance, stop and drop lines for awhile, and move from here to there. When you are on a private charter you are in effect fishing from the time you leave the jetties. Depending on what has been biting where for the previous days your Capt probably has some idea of where he's heading on your charter, however that days weather, seas, birds flying around, bait jumping, etc. you are in effect fishing from the time you break the jetties. I may stop the first time after 15 minutes or it could be three hours. When on a private charter you are on the hunt all the time. In less the charter is for bottom fishing only then you generally know where they are.
What about tipping? -Tipping is traditional in the private chartter business and tends to make the day a profitable one or not for your crew. The incentive makes them work harder. Guide lines are along the lines of resturants. 10% if the trip was ok. 15% if the trip was really good and 20% if your crew busted thier buts and got you that Blue Marlin or 100 lb Yellowfin. If you are just plain unhappy let us know by not tiping. Tip are based on precieved effort not on the catch. There are days the fish just don't bite.
Who do I tip?- On my boat either the Capt or Mate. We split all tips down the middle. Some boats the Capt will keep it all or the mate/deck hand is paid very low and in that case you need to tip the deck hand. If in question ask.
Can I make suggestions? - You bet. It's your money and it is a privaate charter. Don't be bashful to speak up if you want to try something different, or see some birds off in the distance, or whatever. We don't know everything and always welcome ideas.
Who grabs the rod when we get a strike? - I like to come to an understanding on the way out. I like customers who want to get involved in the process from setting the hook to gaffing the fish. I always wanted to get more involved in the whole process when I used to charter but never did. I love to teach people how to fish. On the down side the other day I had a group who wanted to really get involved and we probably hooked 30 yellow and blackfin tuna. We only got 6 on to the boat. On the way in the customer commented that "We had a great time but I wish we would have caught more fish". We did, they just lost 24 of em through mostly the learning experience. How soon they forgrt sometimes.
How many lines in the water?
- Depends. When trolling we usually have 5-77 lines in the water. If drifting
or bottom fishing we usually have two long lines drifting and three to
four close to the boat. The only limit is tangle avoidence.