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Thread: A question to the charter captains

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    Member Ronster's Avatar
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    Default A question to the charter captains

    If you had it all to do over again, would you

    To those of you who have never ran a charter boat, do you wish you had

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronster View Post
    If you had it all to do over again, would you
    As in just working for A Charter business being a captain or running own business ?
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronster View Post
    If you had it all to do over again, would you
    I'd do it all over again, and still continue to do it. I like smaller six pack boats, and mooching for big kings on kelp lines. I'd never do it if I was just running meat trips or just targeting bottom fish. Then it'd just be work.

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    Hell yeah I would do it over again. After 22 years working for 2 premier resorts in SE AK. I've met alot of great people, married 1 of them. Brought my dad up twice to fish with me before he passed away as well as a buddy who caught a 57 lbs. king with me. Met some big names in sports, politics and entertainment. Caught alot of fish and made some pretty decent $$$ over the years.

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    And do what? Go back to a 8 to 5 job? Now that would kill me..... Do over? I wish I would have started earlier (I was 40). The fishing side of the job is great, the business side can be a pain, but its well worth the freedom of the great outdoors.
    Frank
    Alaska Wildrose Charters and Cabins
    www.wildroselodge.com

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    Member Roger's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by profishguide View Post
    And do what? Go back to a 8 to 5 job? Now that would kill me..... Do over? I wish I would have started earlier (I was 40). The fishing side of the job is great, the business side can be a pain, but its well worth the freedom of the great outdoors.
    Except I was 30
    PEOPLE SAY I HAVE A.D.D I DON'T UNDERSTA.....OH LOOK A MOOSE !!!

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    Member Ronster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger View Post
    As in just working for A Charter business being a captain or running own business ?
    Any of the three.

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    Supporting Member Old John's Avatar
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    I'd hate to be trying to start a charter business in todays economy and today's fighting over allocation..!
    However, if I could back the clock up to where I started... Altho I'd like to do a couple things a little differently, you bet, I'd do it again... For the Same reasons AkKing mentioned. I loved the challange of finding good fish for the clients. I met some fantastic people. Oh sure, there was always one or two who were the PITA. I especially enjoyed the groups that would book the whole boat for 3 or more days each season. And you knew you were doing something right when they'd re-book season after season. Yep, I'd do it again..

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    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
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    I would do it again, a little differently, I do enjoy chartering and fishing every day......, I had no idea that fishery politics would take up so much of my time and be such a thankless job in addition to chartering. I plan on continuing for another 10 years, no matter what happens. It was my goal since I was 14 years old scrubbing the decks of charter boats for 15 dollars a day and it has been a great run.

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    Member captaindd's Avatar
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    That is really a hard question to answer. I got into the charter business because I wanted something that my dad could do with his grand kids kind of a family bonding thing. But that never came about as he died the same year that he was going to take over my reservation service. My next goal was to give my business to my son but that did not work. He loved to go fishing but did not like all the other things that you had to do to make the business work. My plan was to bring him back into the business in 2007 but that did not happen as he died in 2005. So it is 2012 and I am still doing it but this year am taking my grand daughter out as a deck hand and will trying it all over again. Most charters services last 4 years or less because of all the costs and the strain it puts on the family. Each day you start out with zero in the box and work up from there. Would I do it all over again I would say yes but like Captain AK I would do it different.

  11. #11

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ronster View Post
    If you had it all to do over again, would you
    I don't think there is a better "job" in the world than being a fishing boat charter captain. The only thing throwing a "monkey wrench" in to the works is what NOAA/IPHC has in the future for us. Having to pay $40,000 or more to someone that doesn't have to pay for that permit just for the "privilege" of taking paying customers out to fish for halibut is (IMHO) criminal.

    I cater to people that want to go out on a boat with just 1, 2, 3 or 4 people and the the majority of people I take out become "friends" of mine because it's just the people I booked for the day and not filling up my "six pack quota" to maximize my profits.
    Year round saltwater fishing adventures in Homer, AK.
    http://muttleycrewfishing.com

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    Quote Originally Posted by Muttley Crew Fishing View Post
    I don't think there is a better "job" in the world than being a fishing boat charter captain. The only thing throwing a "monkey wrench" in to the works is what NOAA/IPHC has in the future for us. Having to pay $40,000 or more to someone that doesn't have to pay for that permit just for the "privilege" of taking paying customers out to fish for halibut is (IMHO) criminal.

    I cater to people that want to go out on a boat with just 1, 2, 3 or 4 people and the the majority of people I take out become "friends" of mine because it's just the people I booked for the day and not filling up my "six pack quota" to maximize my profits.
    Like I said, I would do it differently. You have the right idea. Keeping it simple

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    Hey Mutt, when you put that one more person on the boat the Barren Is are not that far to go. When you book that one mor seat you can provide that better trip that will make your clients year or even life, because it might be the trip of a life time for them! What do you say to the guy that paid for the whole boat because he knows he is going to die soon and wants to take his best friend on the fishing trip of a life time, all I could say is where do you want to go and man this is going to be fun. Oh I lost money on that trip, but had the best time of my charter life we fished for three days Gore Pt to Latex Rocks back to Homer one of the best trips of my life!

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    Sponsor offshore's Avatar
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    Would I do it again? Yes. Do I wish I possessed the same drive to become a surgeon or a dentist? Yes.
    I love what I do, I love my customers, and I can do it day in and day out with almost as much passion on the 100th day as on the 1st of the season. I think I was eight or nine when my father took me on my first all night bluefishing trip. I've caught a lot of fish since then, but I guess, for better or worse, I'm the one who really got hooked. I really don't think there's a much better feeling than running across a glassy ocean in AK on a clear day with the box full. There are far better ways to make money though, and the business comes with tolls not only on the wallet... I got out of what probably would have been a promising career in fisheries management because politics left me with a bad taste. Now my future hinges on very similiar issues. Grinding fiberglass, welding aluminum, fixing outdrives, and changing engines overnight weren't in any of those sportfishing mags either. My wife tolerates it, but many won't.

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    theres just something about it.... come the end of the season the last thing you want to do is take people fishing, two weeks later.... its all you want to do

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    I love the challenge of finding a nice box of fish for the clients,and the great feeling of success on the way back to the dock, (most days) It's very exciting every day on the long trip out to the fishing grounds,going over and over in you mind where your going to try fishing first, and is the weather going to let you get there,then plan B if that doesn't work,and yes plan C some days, and even worse tuck your tail and head for the chicken hole, we've all been there. As the fishing declines it's getting harder each year to catch all big Halibut,

    Been a great experience, there's way more good people out there than bad.

    It's no way to get rich but I'd do it all over again for sure.

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    Member Ronster's Avatar
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    I started this thread when I saw an established business for sale a few weeks ago. Im far from being a captain, but Ive been on the water all of my life. I have to admit, its always been my dream to open a business for myself working a boat, but if I am being honest, Im not sure that this is the best time to do it. With the economy the way it is, and my wife and I are both sitting in pretty well paying jobs, its kind of hard to just uproot and take the big step. Im not sure if its the right thing to do or not, but Im a bit hesitant to jump at this point. How many of you guys work other jobs during the winters to suppliment your income? Lots of questions that I still dont have answers to.

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    This year should be a real eye opener for lots of charters. Small six pac boats should use 50 gal of fuel per day, long range six pac boats 100 gal to 150 gal of fuel at $5.00 or more per gal, add in bait and up keep, moorage, insurance! Not alot left over looks like winter work is a must! The last year I chartered I took in $135,000 and after I paid all my bills I had about $35,000 left over, thank God nothing broke The perfect mix would be a teacher and run charters in the summer.

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    Many people that claim to have been chartering for 15 or 20 years, had full time jobs and fished on weekends. everyone I know that charters,is either retired,a weekend warrior ,or works full time in the winter like me. I ran more charters in the first five years, than a lot of guys that have been doing it for 20 years, It just depends on how hard you hit it.

    Here's the rough breakdown for an average season. six days a week,less weather cancelations.

    70 trips= $126,000
    fuel= $35,000
    bait $3500
    insurance $3000
    slip $1000
    boat payment $25,000 ????
    tackle $1500
    booking fees (if you use an agent) $12,600
    Maintenance,IE oil,filters,props,etc. $5000
    seasonal rental space for motor home, $3600
    Total $90,200

    The chance that you get humiliated back at the dock,because you had a bad day and the boat next to you slayed them===Priceless !!!

    left over $35,800

    If a motor blows $20,000 to 45,000 depending on what your running. The good news is the IRS doesn't get anything after you depreciate all your equipment.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    I've thought about it quite a few times over the years and came to a few conclusions. I love being out on the water. I've been on a few charters over the years and realize that what sets a great charter apart from the mediocre ones isn't the size of the fish, it's the overall experience. Sharing your love of the state and pointing out the various sights and educating your clients about our marine environment is what makes the trip memorable. So I have no doubt I could enjoy the job and give clients a great experience.

    But it's the business end of it that just didn't pencil out. Even before soaring fuel prices there is a large capital investment to get started and to keep a charter running. If you have cash in hand to pay for everything, and other employment that's one thing. But if you are servicing debt that's quite another. IMO it just ties up too much capital in a business that at best will bring in cash over a 4 month period, but you are servicing that debt over a 12 month period. And it's specialized equipment that you can't use the rest of the year to make money.

    If you're a school teacher and have the summer off, or are a slope worker and want to use your summer R&R to run a charter that's one thing. But if you expect to make your anual income off of running a charter, you better run some serious numbers through your business plan to see if it pencils out.
    Those that are successful in Alaska are those who are flexible, and allow the reality of life in Alaska to shape their dreams, vs. trying to force their dreams on the reality of Alaska.

    If you have a tenuous grasp of reality, Alaska is not for you.

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