I have said many times that I know how lucky I am.
This is a great job and the fact is not lost on me. I have been able to make a living and have fun doing it. But this is not always just a business. Sometimes you have to make a business decision that is not just about the dollars and cents. Today was one of those days.
My group said they just wanted action.
They were not overly worried about eating fish although having dinner at the end of the day would be nice. It was a 6 hr trip, so I had a little time to work with. We decided to look for some live bait. It has been tough to come by, but if we could get it, I thought it would make our day fairly easy.
Unfortunately, the live bait plan did not work.
I went to a couple of reefs looking, but because it was only a 6 hr trip, I could not spend too much time. If I had seen any at all, I would have stopped and tried to chum them up. But I didn’t see any. I made the decision to switch to trolling even though the trolling has been a bit tough lately.
There have been some Dolphin,
(Mahi) around offshore, but it is December. definitely not the time of year we normally get our dolphin. Because of the lack of time and because dolphin fishing can be boredom punctuated by bedlam I was hesitant to go too far offshore. I had to leave myself a backup plan, (I was already on plan “B” so I guess it would be plan “C”). If I got out too deep, I would not have time to run into the reef for action.
Well, it’s a good thing there are plenty of letters in the Alphabet
cause I needed them today. Plan “A” looking for bait didn’t work. Plean “B”, going offshore looking for Mahi, sailfish and whatever else would bite didn’t work. So I went to the reef down to the west. I was further west than I would normally go on a 6 hr trip, but we had only had a few bites and not caught any and time was running short. I had to catch these people some fish.
We got to the reef
and we did get a few bites there too, but only bent the rod on one fish and it got off. Plan “C” wasn’t working. Like I said earlier, This is not always just a business to me. I realize that the fishing trip people book with me can sometimes be the highlight of their vacation. Or at least it is supposed to be. That means a lot to me. Yes I have to make money at this, or I won’t be in business very long. But I have a very strong repeat business and I’m proud of it. It was looking like it was time for some drastic measures.
As I mentioned,
I was already a bit further from Key West than I would normally go on a 6hr trip. There is a lighthouse that was about 41/2 miles west of where I was fishing. It is far enough from Key West that most charter boats rarely get there and in part for that reason the barracuda fishing is usually still very good there. Truthfully, I did not have time to go that far and it would crush my fuel budget for the day if I did. But it’s not always just a business so we reeled our lines in and off I ran. We should have been trolling toward Key West, Instead, I found myself running in the other direction. I knew I wasn’t making a good “business” decision, I just hoped when we got there the fish would bite or it would be a bad business and fishing decision.
We got to the light.
It’s called Cosgrove Shoals for those that are familiar with the area. The water looked good and we hooked a couple of nice Barracudas on the first pass. We circled the light for about an hour, catching Barracudas at a pretty steady pace. Some pretty big ones. My customers were very nice people and truthfully, they were having fun just being on the water on a beautiful day, but when we finally started catching fish, their smiles got bigger. After an hour around the light, I trolled east along the reef for a little. I wanted to see if we could catch a couple of mackerel for dinner. We only got one and it was small.
It was a long way back to Key West,
so we picked up and started running. I knew we would get back over an hour late, but I didn’t care. Everyone had caught some fish. Plan “D” had worked