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Thread: Deep Creek Halibut Charter Ethics

  1. #1

    Angry Deep Creek Halibut Charter Ethics

    Spent the day cruising the recent Outdoors Show at the Carlson Center listening to all the charter companys pitch their operations. Well, me and some office mates decided to charter with a particular outfitter. This "2 Letter" company (you figure it out) told us that they would have us out on the water for 8-9 hours, would troll for kings about 2 hours, and would be set up in a great cabin. So, sounds great, doesn't it? As I had used this Charter before, I expected a great time. Well, my co-workers went out this past week (my trip is in July) and had the following experience. In a nutshell, only trolled for kings about 30-40 minutes and were told the trip was over after after only 5 hours of fishing. Weather was fine and tides were perfect, but they supposedly had a second group to take out, so the fishing ending early with folks scrambling to get a few last butts before they pulled anchor. Was pretty much a chicken run according to the group that went. The fillets were butchered as they were trying to get the other group out that had been waiting hours for their trip (is that double booking?) Also had problems with the cabins they had rented (well in advance). Seems the outfit may have grown too fast over the last 2 years and were very disorganized. Finally, the group stated the owner was a very rude and grumpy guy and made them feel unwelcomed. So, maybe someone out there has now figured out who this outfit is, and I'd like any feedback you can provide. Wish I could just name the outfit, but I assume that is bad mojo for this site. Anyway, as a consumer, who is paying this guys wages, when I charter him he better be providing what is promised and what I have in writing (acts of god permitting). That kind of p*ss-poor service may work on out-of-staters, but it won't for this Alaskan.

  2. #2
    Member Ripface's Avatar
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    Yeah, I took a charter out of Homer last year, and that guy was all about getting back to port before anyone; and we were the second boat in that day. It was a bit less than 5 hours, and of course it was advertised as 6-8 hours.
    "Wine can of their wits the wise beguile, Make the sage frolic, and the serious smile." - Homer, Odyssey

  3. #3

    Default Look to the future

    Just think when the limited entry is in place....some of these folks are the only ones you will be able to fish with. This is what happens when we do away with a free market approach.

    I'm sorry to hear that you guys had such a crappy experience. Next time come over to Kodiak and we will take care of you.

  4. #4
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    How many halibut did you catch? If you limited out the boat would that be ok to come in when you had done so?? (Probably didn't have any pukers in your group! )

  5. #5
    Member AKBassking's Avatar
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    Thumbs up Mojo

    Quote Originally Posted by FishnMan View Post
    Wish I could just name the outfit, but I assume that is bad mojo for this site.
    Yep, bad mojo....rule 7! I know from experience!

    ALASKAN SEA-DUCTION
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  6. #6
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    This kind of news is becoming extremely common these days. It's a combination of outfitters biting off more than they can chew and a way to try and save some gas, and therefore money, with relatively high gas prices coupled with gas guzzling boats. When the salmon trolling doesn't produce right away they want to stop "wasting" gas and get out to the halibut. These captains also have long days on the water and love to get in early and get some rest.
    www.akfishology.com

    fishing isn't about life or death... it's more important than that.

  7. #7
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Unhappy Smells fishy

    Quote Originally Posted by AKBassking View Post
    Yep, bad mojo....rule 7! I know from experience!
    IMHO it is ridiculous not to name an outfit that has not delivered as promised. A simple disclaimer from the forum should eliminate any potential liability to the forum. I could see editing a repeating rant or an obviously spiteful one.
    If I have a personal experience to relate I should be able to pass on the praise or warning about any named outfit. I thought that was what this was about. Telling each other the good the bad and the ugly.
    As a manager of a line construction outfit I charter entire vessels every year for the crews to have a day on. Except for the Tom Cat out of Homer, they have been pretty good on keeping the deal. They did make it right by refunding half the money after we returned and complained.
    I have had to stand nose to nose with a couple of skippers and explain to him that this isn't a bunch of tourists to fleece and release. Most of my guys are avid outdoorsmen and we know the score, hunting or fishing.
    Maybe we are more worried about losing potential ad revenue than telling the whole story?
    Edit away boys!
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    Love life and live it

  8. #8
    Member Snagger's Avatar
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    Sounds like its time to buy a boat.

  9. #9
    Supporting Member bullbuster's Avatar
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    Default No more boats

    Quote Originally Posted by Snagger View Post
    Sounds like its time to buy a boat.
    I own 3, a 16' Hewescraft, 18' Bayrunner and a 24' Sea Sport. That isn't counting the 10' Zodiac or the 14' jonboat.

    I charter larger boats to take the crews out as a thank you for a job well done.
    I can't afford another boat.
    Live life and love it
    Love life and live it

  10. #10

    Default That's Why

    That's why I got into this business because I heard those stories countless times as a fly out guide. Too many charter services around here see people as dollar signs. They don't seem to want to add to people's overall experience, they just move 'em in and move 'em out. I got into this business to enhance people's Alaskan experience. The people coming up here spend a lot of money for the experience and it's a big deal to them, and I want to be a positive factor in creating that experience. If I wanted to make more money I sure wouldn't be running a charter service. You gotta love what you do, and genuinely want the best for the people. There's lots of people out there now a days that simply don't want the best for others around them. We believe in giving people their time out there, last trip was 14 hours because they were having a blast. I give my captain a fairly long leash to run and get people their fish, but then again I am young and enthusiastic about the business. Lots of folks in this business have been doing it so long the excitement isn't there anymore and they look at it just like any other job.

    That said there are good charter services out there that bust their butts for their people. And also people seem to of latched on to the phrase "chickens" or "chicken holes", and don't realize that the average halibut caught in Cook Inlet is 14lbs. Most of the charters all go to the same places and do the exact same thing, some come back with big ones most come back with the average 20-30lbs. It can be extremely hard to make any real money in the charter business, lots of competition, high gas prices, high maintenance, marketing, insurance, etc. Our expenses can be overwhelming just to get ready for the season, not to mention if you need some work done on your vessel.

    So people need to keep in mind to just enjoy the experience the way it comes to you. Forget about words like "limits", "chickens" and the like and take it all in for everything it's worth because this isn't a dress rehearsal and no one's guaranteed another day out on the water.
    Marc Theiler

  11. #11
    Member fishmaster's Avatar
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    I feel that no matter what business you are in, you should deliver what is promised. We have all gone to boat and sportsman shows and seen charter operators promising Barn Door Halibut. If you are promised a 6 or 8 hour combo charter, The boat should be yours for that amount of time unless every one has limited out on halibut and salmon. If the boat has to come back early because they are doing daily doubles, you should demand a refund. I am sorry that you had such a bad experience .I have a good idea of the operator that you are talking about but i must say that most of the charter operators in that area are first class operations.
    My advice to you is if you love to fish, (like me) buy a boat. I did, I take my friends fishing, we go when we want and come back when we want. We split fuel, bait, and Launch expenses It costs much less than a charter and we have a much better time. We just got back from 3 days in homer and limited out every day on butts in 2 to 3 hours. we threw back quite a few chickens and only kept 30 to 50 lb fish.

  12. #12

    Default

    Well guys, I've been on both sides of the fence. I live in Hawaii and worked as a deckhand for 4 years on a friend's boat; good operation. We often received tips even when catching nothing, because we tried our best and gave folks a good time, even when catching nothing. The captain's been in the business for going on 30 years now, the days when I worked for him was all about fishing; now he's got a bigger boat (rated for 12) and spends lots of days running tours only. The fishing bug has left the building, but we had awesome days! We now come to Alaska (we have a place in Sterling) every year and absolutely love your state! I'm now on the client side of things and we halibut fish with John from Gotta Fish charters (he lives in Soldotna) and have been for years; he doesn't have the biggest, fastest, newest boat, but he will do his best and we've had great trips with him. We've also had a crappy trip with a booking company in Seward, but one thing I've learned, get recommendations and talk to folks who have been fishing with the guys you're considering going with. Love to buy a decent salt boat up there, but with us only coming up once or twice a year, that's pretty tough to swing financially! Any cheap, seaworthy boats for sale? Say 18-20'?
    Jim

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