Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 20 of 26

Thread: Seward Charter - Don't make the same mistake as me!

  1. #1

    Default Seward Charter - Don't make the same mistake as me!

    This is a long story, but for those who can read through it, there is a lesson you may someday be happy you learned.

    I'm old enough to know that I should deal only with the owners/operators of businesses, but I let a fast, smooth-talking charter captain book me on another company's boat because his was already full. His fancy website lured me in and once on the phone, he had me circled-hooked with visions of 4-species limits. This was not a discount charter. It was about $650 for the 2 of us. My wife and I found out which boat we were assigned the day before our trip and visited the dock to check out the catch that evening. Very decent catch being unloaded by the deckhand - oh wait, he's the captain! As he explained, the owner/captain decided a week or so ago to leave him in charge, but not to worry he had been a deckhand last summer and this summer so far, and knew the good spots. Hmmm, well he did have a good catch, so it shouldn't be a problem to duplicate it the next day.

    The next morning we arrived early and then another couple showed up and then nothing. Where was the 3rd couple? Well they arrive late and when asked for their license, they produce driver's licenses! They claim they were told that they could buy their licenses "here". Somebody didn't give them very good instructions. So off they go to get licenses, and upon their return, they announce that they need to catch the 6:00pm train back to Anchorage so they need to be back by 5:00, and the "office" told them that is no problem. Hmmm, again, leaving late and need to get back early. I know from experience that good charters will return much later than that if the bite is slow and they are struggling to catch fish. Again, I'm thinking optimistically this will all work out. Wrong! We are greated with a big confused swell at the mouth of the bay and after getting beat up for an hour trying to plow through it, the captain announces we can't make it to the choice halibut grounds. So we start fishing along the coastline and after a few hours, only two 5-pound halibut come over the rail, both landed by my wife and I, which we promptly returned to the sea.

    So now the captain is freaking out because he only has a couple hours left until he has to get these nimrods back for their train. He opts to bring us fishing for black rockfish, and we get on a good bite. I switch to deckhand so we can stay on top of them. We then jig for lingcod, but it is a disaster. The pinnacle we're trying to fish is so steep, the jigs keep getting snagged and after wasting precious time trying to retrieve stuck jigs and loosing most of them, we go for halibut nearby. Well as you might guess, the halibut either aren't home or not feeding because when we had to leave at about 2:45pm, there were only 3 small halibut in the boat. My wife and I had caught 2 of them in the 5-10 minutes before we had to leave and were getting bites in every drop, which we had not had all day up until then. Another 15 minutes or so and I'm sure we would have limited, albeit with chickens at best.

    I was so mad I sat on the back deck all the way in, fearful that I would lose it and verbally abuse the nimrods and captain and have the law waiting for me when I got back. I got back and avoided speaking to anyone until the fish were at the cleaning table. I got my fish and left after telling the college student captain (yep college student) how I felt ripped off. He was very upset too. First time I ever didn't give a tip on a charter. Afterward I tracked down the captain that I booked the trip with and fairly calmly told him I felt ripped off. He told me, that I should have booked the whole boat and to take my problems to the J-Dock, which I did. I spoke to Mr. Art at J Dock who listened intently and seemed genuinely concerned. He told me he would check out the details of what happened. The next day, Mr. Art explained that although his business occasionally books clients on this particular boat, he had not done so for this trip and therefore had no responsibility. That made sense to me.

    I feel ripped off for the following reasons: Placed with an inexperienced captain although I had been promised a seasoned expert who would have been much more likely to find fish on a marginal day and, much more importantly, placed on a boat with people who "the office" told would be back by 5:00pm no matter what. I was never able to find out who booked them on the trip. I spoke to several other charter operators afterwards and was told by all that they absolutely would not ever agree to have people back to the dock so early unless they booked the entire boat.

    SO, the moral to the story is, when you book a charter, book directly with the owner/operator and ask if they, or anyone who books for them, make any promises to clients to bring them back at a certain time. If they do, STAY AWAY. By the way, the same boat had not returned from fishing by 6:45pm the following day! I went on another charter a couple days later and returned close to 8:00pm with a lot of fish caught late in the day.

  2. #2
    Member ArmyFishboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    161

    Default

    I'm sorry to hear your problems. I've had similar problems on charters. This is the lesson I learned. NEVER book a charter that takes multiple parties out. So if your rich enough either pay for the whole boat or just go the cheaper route and go out of homer and get a charter with muttley crew. Coho Dave is by far the best option you have if you want to enjoy your time on the water. I know it's a farther drive but it's worth it and he will give you the best charter of your life with no insane fees. For you and your wife to go out you could of spent alot less and it would of been just you 2. There may be other charters like him but I've yet to find them. I will never book with another service until Coho Dave stops chartering. He is the most sincere man ever and will do anything he has to, to make your trip enjoyable.

    I learned this well before ever booking with him. I stalked him on here for months not trying to be creepy but you gotta research those things before you drop all that money. He's on outdoors directory also an might even chime in on this post.

    Anyway hope for a better charter next time and good luck.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Surfcaster Extraordinaire (Personal Records)
    Sand Shark 5'2" 68lbs
    Halibut 128lbs
    Musky 42" 18lbs

  3. #3
    Member
    Join Date
    May 2012
    Location
    Seward
    Posts
    77

    Default

    The outfit that appears to sponsor this forum crakerjack charters is just down from us on E float in Seward.

    They always seem to leave early in the morning (like around 06:00) and come back late afternoon or early evening.

    Their clients always seem very happy.

    Then they clean the heck out of the boat for several hours in the evening. I don't know the crew by name but I can tell you they work very long hours!

  4. #4

    Default

    I will second Kevins assessment of the CrackerJack group. I have fished with Andy and Nik for what has to be close to 20 years and have never been disappointed in the professionalism or skill. CrackerJack has the cleanest boats and newest gear around. We have been out in every kind of weather you can dream up and they always make the trip worthwhile. This reputation preceeds them, that is why it gets harder and harder to find a spot on one of the CJ charters unless you get to them well in advance.

    Kevin
    2002 Wooldridge Sport 2000, 21', 350 Kodiak Jet, "CindyLou"
    26' Olympic Sport Sedan, 5.7 Volvo, 280 Volvo, getting there, "CindyLouTwo"
    20' Alumatech Airboat
    EagleQuest Cabins and Lodge--Willow

  5. #5

    Default

    Kevins and keh - you guys know the right answer. I tried to book either Crackerjack or ProFishNSea for that day way back in January, but they had nothing available and called back a few times to check for cancellations. If you're booked 7 months in advance, YOU'RE GOOD. I know from past experience that they are. Thanks for confirming.

  6. #6
    New member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    5

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by R.E.B. LA View Post
    This is a long story, but for those who can read through it, there is a lesson you may someday be happy you learned.

    I'm old enough to know that I should deal only with the owners/operators of businesses, but I let a fast, smooth-talking charter captain book me on another company's boat because his was already full. His fancy website lured me in and once on the phone, he had me circled-hooked with visions of 4-species limits. This was not a discount charter. It was about $650 for the 2 of us. My wife and I found out which boat we were assigned the day before our trip and visited the dock to check out the catch that evening. Very decent catch being unloaded by the deckhand - oh wait, he's the captain! As he explained, the owner/captain decided a week or so ago to leave him in charge, but not to worry he had been a deckhand last summer and this summer so far, and knew the good spots. Hmmm, well he did have a good catch, so it shouldn't be a problem to duplicate it the next day.

    The next morning we arrived early and then another couple showed up and then nothing. Where was the 3rd couple? Well they arrive late and when asked for their license, they produce driver's licenses! They claim they were told that they could buy their licenses "here". Somebody didn't give them very good instructions. So off they go to get licenses, and upon their return, they announce that they need to catch the 6:00pm train back to Anchorage so they need to be back by 5:00, and the "office" told them that is no problem. Hmmm, again, leaving late and need to get back early. I know from experience that good charters will return much later than that if the bite is slow and they are struggling to catch fish. Again, I'm thinking optimistically this will all work out. Wrong! We are greated with a big confused swell at the mouth of the bay and after getting beat up for an hour trying to plow through it, the captain announces we can't make it to the choice halibut grounds. So we start fishing along the coastline and after a few hours, only two 5-pound halibut come over the rail, both landed by my wife and I, which we promptly returned to the sea.

    So now the captain is freaking out because he only has a couple hours left until he has to get these nimrods back for their train. He opts to bring us fishing for black rockfish, and we get on a good bite. I switch to deckhand so we can stay on top of them. We then jig for lingcod, but it is a disaster. The pinnacle we're trying to fish is so steep, the jigs keep getting snagged and after wasting precious time trying to retrieve stuck jigs and loosing most of them, we go for halibut nearby. Well as you might guess, the halibut either aren't home or not feeding because when we had to leave at about 2:45pm, there were only 3 small halibut in the boat. My wife and I had caught 2 of them in the 5-10 minutes before we had to leave and were getting bites in every drop, which we had not had all day up until then. Another 15 minutes or so and I'm sure we would have limited, albeit with chickens at best.

    I was so mad I sat on the back deck all the way in, fearful that I would lose it and verbally abuse the nimrods and captain and have the law waiting for me when I got back. I got back and avoided speaking to anyone until the fish were at the cleaning table. I got my fish and left after telling the college student captain (yep college student) how I felt ripped off. He was very upset too. First time I ever didn't give a tip on a charter. Afterward I tracked down the captain that I booked the trip with and fairly calmly told him I felt ripped off. He told me, that I should have booked the whole boat and to take my problems to the J-Dock, which I did. I spoke to Mr. Art at J Dock who listened intently and seemed genuinely concerned. He told me he would check out the details of what happened. The next day, Mr. Art explained that although his business occasionally books clients on this particular boat, he had not done so for this trip and therefore had no responsibility. That made sense to me.

    I feel ripped off for the following reasons: Placed with an inexperienced captain although I had been promised a seasoned expert who would have been much more likely to find fish on a marginal day and, much more importantly, placed on a boat with people who "the office" told would be back by 5:00pm no matter what. I was never able to find out who booked them on the trip. I spoke to several other charter operators afterwards and was told by all that they absolutely would not ever agree to have people back to the dock so early unless they booked the entire boat.

    SO, the moral to the story is, when you book a charter, book directly with the owner/operator and ask if they, or anyone who books for them, make any promises to clients to bring them back at a certain time. If they do, STAY AWAY. By the way, the same boat had not returned from fishing by 6:45pm the following day! I went on another charter a couple days later and returned close to 8:00pm with a lot of fish caught late in the day.
    That's terrible!
    I got the same "bait and switch" routine in Seward this year, and ironically ended up with the same second rate operation you did. I booked directly with the owner/operator of the Rogue (Randy Wells), well in advance. He said all the right things when booking, with no mention of other boats or captains. But when it came time to fish, SURPRISE!!! We got a very mediocre fishing trip, only slightly better than yours.

    My point is, working directly with the owner operator does not ensure anything. You need find credible, honest operators, and stick with them. Easier said than done sometimes...

    PS: I've heard of other shenanigans involving the same outfit this year, so buyers beware.

  7. #7
    Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2010
    Location
    Portland, ME
    Posts
    80

    Default

    I had a trip booked with Randy too, and when I spoke with him I assumed that I was booking a space on his boat. They called me two days ago to cancel because the boat they had me booked on (not theirs) was pulled for the season due to the captain being sick. Pretty disapointing.

  8. #8
    Member chico99645's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Palmer
    Posts
    1,481

    Default

    I heard a story just identical to this one while cleaning fish at the Army Resort Fish Cleanng house last week. I guess the folks showed up without fishing license and then told the capt they had to leave by 5PM to catch a flight or train. I guess they didn't even care about the fish, they just wanted to say they had been there, done that, and got the T-Shirt. Sorry about you getting ripped off.

  9. #9
    Member ArmyFishboy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Anchorage, Alaska
    Posts
    161

    Default

    Next time id ask around on this forum before booking a charter. I know everyone's experience is different but this forum does offer a great wealth of knowledge.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
    Surfcaster Extraordinaire (Personal Records)
    Sand Shark 5'2" 68lbs
    Halibut 128lbs
    Musky 42" 18lbs

  10. #10

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by chico99645 View Post
    I heard a story just identical to this one while cleaning fish at the Army Resort Fish Cleanng house last week. I guess the folks showed up without fishing license and then told the capt they had to leave by 5PM to catch a flight or train. I guess they didn't even care about the fish, they just wanted to say they had been there, done that, and got the T-Shirt. Sorry about you getting ripped off.
    How was your experience? I am going out soon with a charter through that resort.

  11. #11
    Member FishGod's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Fishing your hole before you get there
    Posts
    1,948

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by R.E.B. LA View Post
    Kevins and keh - you guys know the right answer. I tried to book either Crackerjack or ProFishNSea for that day way back in January, but they had nothing available and called back a few times to check for cancellations. If you're booked 7 months in advance, YOU'RE GOOD. I know from past experience that they are. Thanks for confirming.
    I only fish with these guys and nobody else. There's a reason they fill up 7 months in advance.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

  12. #12
    Member chico99645's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    Palmer
    Posts
    1,481

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by alaskalife View Post
    How was your experience? I am going out soon with a charter through that resort.
    I just stay there, I have my own boat. Of all the days I saw them cleaning fish, they had one good day of 15-50 pounders, and some really nice yellow eye. Most of the days were 8-20 pounders with an average of maybe 12. They have their good days and bad. Gotta remember, they have big boats with lots of folks fishing. For the price, your not gonna do better anywhere else IMO. The resort is 5 Star for Alaska Standards. Staff is Awesome!!!

    Also, I heard from the Manager that the Air Force side is getting turned back in to the city either next year or the following. The AF decided to not put in any money into it. And the Army Side is now under the same management as the Hale Koa Hotel in Hawaii.

  13. #13
    Member jockomontana's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    seward
    Posts
    336

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by fishinswede View Post
    I had a trip booked with Randy too, and when I spoke with him I assumed that I was booking a space on his boat. They called me two days ago to cancel because the boat they had me booked on (not theirs) was pulled for the season due to the captain being sick. Pretty disapointing.
    R.E.B. LA ... and anyone else posting reviews of charter operators on this forum... please dont hesitate to post the name of the outfit you fished with, even if it was a bad experience. Dont feel like you are slandering a small business on a public forum; these guys take your hard earned money and give you a mediocre trip and that is not right. Many people review these postings and book their trips based on the reviews of others before them. Charter fishing is a competitive business here in AK and reputation is everything. Some of these small business owners are merely just business/marketing people, with a business degree, a fancy website, and a crappy boat. They claim to be something they are not and they are doing a disservice to the rest of the charter fleet who actually give you an honest preview and 110% effort. My best advice is to stick with an outfit that are local Seward residents; they take their reputation seriously in a small town, they raise families here, and they contribute to the local economy. Besides that, they know these waters and where the fish are and how to navigate safely in times of rough weather. The other guys simply give up later in the season and pull their boats due to "mechanical" reasons or because their paid captain is going back to college in Florida somewhere...

  14. #14
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Delta Junction AK
    Posts
    4,055

    Default

    I had the worst trip of my life in Seward this summer...I went with this outfit the entire time we lived in Anchorage and was always happy. Went with them this year for the first time 9 years and all I can say is ownership must have changed...

    Captain and Deckhand were both "kids" in their twenties....went after halibut and even with 12 folks fishing we only caught 1 over twenty pounds, mostly nothing and what wasn't "nothing" was mostly yellow-eye by-catch. They "released" several that just bobbed on the surface while the gulls picked at them. We hovered over this unproductive hole for hours...

    Then we moved the boat every 30 mins for the next 4 hours with the "captain" on the radio with his boss asking "where do I take these guys?" with a bit of anxiety. Finally they parked us over a chicken hole and chummed the heck out of the water. In twenty minutes I had my limit... two 5-10 pounders.

    I was ready to tell the "captain" to pitch that first little one back and let it grow up, but he gaffed it as soon as it surfaced...well, had to keep that one.

    Since we'd paid for a combo charter he stopped and let us pound rockfish for 20 minutes on the way home. I caught a limit of halibut and a limit of rockfish, never got around to jigging for lings and only had about 10 pounds of processed fish on the way back home.

    The entire Seward charter fishery seems to have changed since the last time I fished there (I admit there are likely exceptions to this) but it appears they cater to the tourist clientele- focus on catching some fish, don't go too far out and have everybody back at the dock by train time with room to spare for a photo op and buying a t-shirt. Seems they're letting the youngsters take the boats out to some grid coordinates that produced in the decade past while the boss sits in the office chatting on the radio collecting booking fees for filling up other folk's boats.

    First charter ever that I didn't tip. I realize everybody has an off day (it is fishing after all) and I've tipped guys in the past who worked hard even if we didn't have a great day of catching. But I don't tip for a boat ride while a guy figures it out....I feel like I'm paying for a guy who has it figured out already.

    The friends I were with fish together every year and we've made a couple of decisions...we're gonna fish out of Valdez and we're always going to charter a whole boat captained by the owner.

    "Tourism Fishing"....didn't that ruin the fishery in SE AK?
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  15. #15
    Member hodgeman's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Delta Junction AK
    Posts
    4,055

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jockomontana View Post
    R.E.B. LA ... and anyone else posting reviews of charter operators on this forum... please dont hesitate to post the name of the outfit you fished with, even if it was a bad experience. ..
    Check the forum rules...naming names negatively is generally prohibited on the open forum but can be shared via PM.
    "I do not deal in hypotheticals. The world, as it is, is vexing enough..." Col. Stonehill, True Grit

  16. #16
    Member AKCAPT's Avatar
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Seward
    Posts
    1,126

    Default

    Sounds like you are all talking about the same company.....


    I can tell you this, that if anyone from this forum comes fishing with us at Crackerjack, if you feel that you did not receive a 100% effort from a professional crew, you will not be paying to go fishing that day.
    I am not guaranteeing you a great catch, since there are some days that we cannot control the fishing, but I can tell you that our boats are spotless, the gear is in perfect condition and our captains have a minimum of ten years experience in Seward. We do not subcontract to other captains ( except Profish-n-Sea) or boats and we do not cancel unless we have serious mechanical problems, which is very rare. There are several very reputable charter operators in Seward, who will give you all the effort you expect when you shell out a bunch of money for a trip.
    Good plan to stick with long-time hired captains or owner/operators. I am easy to get in touch with on here or my business email and I can provide you the names of some boats that will be best for you trip.

    If you guys are thinking of fishing Seward this summer, we have only a few days in August that have a few spaces, give the office a call and get the discount deal I offered on this site.

  17. #17

    Default Seward Charter - Don't make the same mistake as me!

    Quote Originally Posted by AKCAPT View Post
    Sounds like you are all talking about the same company.....


    I can tell you this, that if anyone from this forum comes fishing with us at Crackerjack, if you feel that you did not receive a 100% effort from a professional crew, you will not be paying to go fishing that day.
    I am not guaranteeing you a great catch, since there are some days that we cannot control the fishing, but I can tell you that our boats are spotless, the gear is in perfect condition and our captains have a minimum of ten years experience in Seward. We do not subcontract to other captains ( except Profish-n-Sea) or boats and we do not cancel unless we have serious mechanical problems, which is very rare. There are several very reputable charter operators in Seward, who will give you all the effort you expect when you shell out a bunch of money for a trip.
    Good plan to stick with long-time hired captains or owner/operators. I am easy to get in touch with on here or my business email and I can provide you the names of some boats that will be best for you trip.

    If you guys are thinking of fishing Seward this summer, we have only a few days in August that have a few spaces, give the office a call and get the discount deal I offered on this site.
    Too bad there's not more captain's with this attitude. I've never been with Crackerjack, but word travels fast and I have heard and read nothing but good. It's not really that I wouldn't pay for a day of bad fishing, but knowing the company guarantees your satisfaction is reassuring. Also, someone making this kind of guarantee would be broke if he wasn't running a good outfit.

  18. #18

    Default

    7 months in advance you say? Wow. I had no idea.

  19. #19

    Default Unable to reply to private messages.

    Several members have sent me private messages and I have replied to them, but I show no messages under sent messages and nobody has responded. Seems like everything is working right, but apparently not. I will reply via regular email if you include your email address in your message.

  20. #20
    Moderator LuJon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Palmer, AK
    Posts
    11,415

    Default Seward Charter - Don't make the same mistake as me!

    You have to go to your user settings and select save outgoing mail in sent items folder for them to show up there. I bet they sent.

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •