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Thread: Charter ethics

  1. #1
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    Default Charter ethics

    Help,

    My computer illiterate buddy needs some advice. He's been working as deckhand on a saltwater charter. At the captain's direction he tells me they have been cutting dogfish off by slicing through their jaws to release them and "fishing for the boat".

    That is to say, pretty much everyone fishes until the "boat's limit" has been achieved. No matter who hooks or reels in the fish. Folks are given their limit in fillets at the dock.

    The captain and deckhand also regularly set the hook and then pass the rods to the clients.

    I've told him all of these practices are illegal. The captain tells him "everyone does it" and that it is near impossible to run a six pack charter operation without breaking these rules.

    He needs the job and is otherwise enjoying the work but cringes at violating fish & game laws.

    Are these practices really that common in the salt water charter fleet?

    Has anyone else gone on a saltwater charter and found these rules either broken or strictly adhered too?

    If he quits & looks for another deckhand job will he just find himself in the same situation? (I'm sure no captain is going to admit to a prospective deckhand "Yes, I break those laws, but come work for me anyway".)

    Is he legally at risk for simply carrying out the captains orders in the performance of his duties?

    Please no flames here, just some reasoned and principled responses for me to pass along to him.

    Silk Hope in AK

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    By participating he is legally at risk. I would suggest your friend talk to the troopers ASAP. "Everyone does it" is just the way for the captain to justify illegal actions. Not everyone does it. These type of practices are bad for everyone.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

  3. #3

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    The cutting of dogfish will get you in hot water. That operation out of Elfin cove got ding'd with that one. No reason to do it either, other than laziness.

    Personally, I wish they would make it legal and a requirement for boat limits, to reduce catch and release mortality. (keep the first fish landed on your charter boat, particularly kings)

    Capt/Crew fishing.. If the # of rods does exceed the number of paying customers, they will get hit with that one. Not sure if the troopers write tickets for the capt setting the hook for a client, although they probably could if they wanted to.

    Could he land in hot water?.. Oh yeah, especially for cutting the dogfish. I'm thinking the Capt would get dinged for the "boat limit" violations, but to be honest with you, I'm not so sure the Troopers want to go there.

  4. #4

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    This is disturbing. Went on a charter recently where the deckhands killed and threw back every dogfish reeled in. On top of it, the crew also kept fish and gave them to a couple of clients that weren't having much luck. The clients wanted to keep fishing but instead were told they already had "their" limit. We were told this is common practice and a courtesy to customers. With that the boat headed back to port! Same operator? I don't know, it's a big renowned outfit, based out of Soldotna but launching at Deep Creek.

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    Moderator Paul H's Avatar
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    The only way these "common" practices are going to end is if/when honest folks let the powers that be know what's going on, and the laws get enforced. The problem with laws that aren't effectively enforced is is gives lots of folks the ideas that they don't have to follow them because they won't get busted.

    Boat limits are very common, one can question weather or not it is a good law, but the converse is, how do you selectively say some people get to ignore their personal limits when on a charter, or with other people on a boat?

    Killing/wasting fish or sharks is totally unaceptable. I've been on a charter where rockfish were cut up and used as bait, not common but it does happen, and shouldn't happen.

    As to your buddy, the best advice is to ask him if he wants to keep a job working for a criminal, or wants a good conscience.

  6. #6

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    Just to remain fair as charter capts seem to be a popular target as "lawbreakers" on this forum.. Do you guys realize how many unethical sport fishermen go on charters? I'm sure most guides can tell stories about clients who tried to strong arm them into keeping extra fish. When I started charter guiding back when I was 23, I learned quickly to have a have a high tolerance for belly aching and to have a firm "no" when a client got all up in your face when you were about to shake that 40lb king they hooked after they got their limit. Or, when they had a limit of halibut and then they hooked that big one they were after.

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    The black helicopters will come get me after this post. I do more than half of my summer's fishing with a crew comprised of novices of the female or sub-teen child variety on board, and I do a lot of trolling with downriggers. The younger kids in particular have a tough time getting a pinned rod out of a rodholder when line is stripping out on a good fish. I do a lot of grabbing a rod, reeling up any slack line, setting a hook, and handing it off to the 8-year old. Come visit me in jail, I guess.

    On the other hand, there are few good reasons why someone on a sixpack halibut charter should go home without having hooked and played their two fish, if there are fish to be had. Every effort should be made to get the go-slows hooked up, by both the crew and the more experienced clients. That's just being a good person.

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    270ti
    I understand what you are saying, but isn't it illegal to keep fishing after you have caught your limit?
    If you have limited on salmon & are now fishing for rockfish, then hook another salmon- I can see that and would expect to have the newly caught salmon released.
    Just wondering.

    PAUL
    On a trip a few years back I was fishing for halibut and hooked into a fairly good size black cod. The guide would not put it in the hold with the other fish because he said it was not fit to eat. I thought he was going to throw it back, but while I was sending my line back to the bottom for halibut he cut it up to use for bait. Was later told that black cod was indeed good to eat. The owner of the lodge where we stayed said that the black cod was actually his second best fish to put in the smoker (after sockeyes).

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    So what's the point in having fishing regulations then???? There's things we can and cannot do by law at our workplaces. This goes for everybody in any job profession. Why should charter captains be any different?
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    Just to remain fair as charter capts seem to be a popular target as "lawbreakers" on this forum.. Do you guys realize how many unethical sport fishermen go on charters? I'm sure most guides can tell stories about clients who tried to strong arm them into keeping extra fish. When I started charter guiding back when I was 23, I learned quickly to have a have a high tolerance for belly aching and to have a firm "no" when a client got all up in your face when you were about to shake that 40lb king they hooked after they got their limit. Or, when they had a limit of halibut and then they hooked that big one they were after.

    I can agree with that, the fisherman have just as much responsibility to know the regs as the captain. i think the charter captains get the bad name because they are out on the water a lot more than your average sport fisherman, and if they are out 60-90 days a year with 6 lines out, and breaking the law each time, they have a larger impact on the resource. I've done the guide thing before, it's not easy work. Personally I would never do king salmon guiding again, cohos and halibut sure.
    I'd agree with you, but then we'd both be wrong.

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    Personally, I wish they would make it legal and a requirement for boat limits, to reduce catch and release mortality. (keep the first fish landed on your charter boat, particularly kings) Agree somewhat on this one as I have seen one side of the boat in to the Rock Fish and the other slaying the Halibut. It would seem a simply solution would be to have the clients change sides but it just seems that one guy just has the halibut hooked up and can't get away from them.

    Capt/Crew fishing.. If the # of rods does exceed the number of paying customers, they will get hit with that one. Not sure if the troopers write tickets for the capt setting the hook for a client, although they probably could if they wanted to. Capt/Crew can now fish, AGAIN. So if they are hooked up and have to pass the rod to another client to tend to their duties so be it. Now we are back to the boat limit thing again.

    Could he land in hot water?.. Oh yeah, especially for cutting the dogfish. I'm thinking the Capt would get dinged for the "boat limit" violations, but to be honest with you, I'm not so sure the Troopers want to go there.
    Silkhope tell your friend to turn him into the Troopers he will feel better in the end. He is on the hook just as much as the Capt. Maybe he can work out a plea deal and make it look like a sting operation.

  12. #12

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    The younger kids in particular have a tough time getting a pinned rod out of a rodholder when line is stripping out on a good fish. I do a lot of grabbing a rod, reeling up any slack line, setting a hook, and handing it off
    I don't have a problem with this at all, and I know some of you do. What I do have a problem with is the unnecessary killing of by-catch, be it dogfish, skates, sculpin, cod, what have you. It doesn't happen on my boat. A long time ago some business associates and myself did a charter and the captain cut the mouth/jaw of a skate just to get his hook back. It set me off then, and it still makes me angry today. I had someone fishing earlier this year (friend of a friend) who caught about a 3 pound halibut. This little guy managed to completely swallow a 16/0 circle. There was no way to save it, so I kept it as part of the limit. There was a slight beef at the end of the day when he wanted his one more because "you can't count that one". I can and I did. He won't be back. I'm not up on a "high horse" at all, but I hate to see the waste we all know goes on.

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by nuprofessor View Post
    270ti
    I understand what you are saying, but isn't it illegal to keep fishing after you have caught your limit?
    If you have limited on salmon & are now fishing for rockfish, then hook another salmon- I can see that and would expect to have the newly caught salmon released.
    Just wondering.
    No, it is not illegal to catch an release fish. I can just imagine the weeping and gnashing of teeth on the internet of a Charter Capt made a client stop fishing after catching a fish, and thus robbing him out of the opportunity to catch another species of fish.

    You have to understand.. where you catch halibut, you could also catch yellow eye and ling. Where you catch king salmon, you can also catch silvers and pinks. Etc.

  14. #14

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    On the other hand, there are few good reasons why someone on a sixpack halibut charter should go home without having hooked and played their two fish, if there are fish to be had. Every effort should be made to get the go-slows hooked up, by both the crew and the more experienced clients. That's just being a good person.
    I agree that every effort should be made for everybody to get their own limit.. but then you get the days when it's blowing SE 25knts in a 8ft sea and building with half of your clients puking over the side. Then it's "grab em quick and we'll go find some calm water!" But that never happens...(grin)

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    Quote Originally Posted by 270ti View Post
    No, it is not illegal to catch an release fish. I can just imagine the weeping and gnashing of teeth on the internet of a Charter Capt made a client stop fishing after catching a fish, and thus robbing him out of the opportunity to catch another species of fish.

    You have to understand.. where you catch halibut, you could also catch yellow eye and ling. Where you catch king salmon, you can also catch silvers and pinks. Etc.
    It is illegal to fish for any species in Resurretion bay once you've kept a ling. It is also illegal to fish for any species outside the bay once you have kept your three silvers. Page 57 of the regs.
    Your bait stinks and your boat is ugly

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    It is illegal to fish for any species in Resurretion bay once you've kept a ling. It is also illegal to fish for any species outside the bay once you have kept your three silvers. Page 57 of the regs.
    Common knowledge. What's your point?

  17. #17

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    I am from Louisiana (wait, don't jump to conclusions) and have been gathering all info I can about fishing the Kenai peninsula for the past few weeks since my son and I will be in Seward on a 6-day fishing frenzy Aug 3-9.

    One of the charters I have fished with in the Gulf of Mexico was very bad about breaking the same types of rules you guys are talking about. Well little did they know that the law was being tipped-off (not by me) and they and some other charters had some undercover enforcement agents as paying customers. When the undercover operation ended, about a year or so ago, something like 15 charter operators were busted for serious violations on both the south Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. This was a federal (NOAA) sting and the violations were mainly for reef fish (snappers, groupers, amberjack). Maybe that's what your enforcement guys should do. The after-effects should last a long time.

    I am so excited about fishing in your area. I've been thinking about it for 5 years, and with my offshore fishing grounds largely closed all summer with the oil spill, and me not getting any younger, I figured this is the year. So my younger son and I will be supporting your economy soon.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Vek View Post
    Common knowledge. What's your point?
    yupp! everyones knows... nothing is legal in Massachu.....I mean Homer Ak.....
    "If you are on a continuous search to be offended, you will always find what you are looking for; even when it isn't there."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FishGod View Post
    It is illegal to fish for any species in Resurretion bay once you've kept a ling. It is also illegal to fish for any species outside the bay once you have kept your three silvers. Page 57 of the regs.
    Fortunately the only waters with such idiotic limits designed to produce tickets for the troopers and that make it very difficult to either not kill bycatch that must be released, or you stop fishing early because everyone already has their one non-paligic but would still like to catch some halibut or lings (outside the line)

    And I believe you can catch outside the bay if you've caught 3 in the bay, you can't fish outside the bay if you've caught more than 3 in the bay (but I haven't carefully checked this years regs to see if they've changed them)

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    Quote Originally Posted by R.E.B. LA View Post
    I am from Louisiana (wait, don't jump to conclusions) and have been gathering all info I can about fishing the Kenai peninsula for the past few weeks since my son and I will be in Seward on a 6-day fishing frenzy Aug 3-9.

    One of the charters I have fished with in the Gulf of Mexico was very bad about breaking the same types of rules you guys are talking about. Well little did they know that the law was being tipped-off (not by me) and they and some other charters had some undercover enforcement agents as paying customers. When the undercover operation ended, about a year or so ago, something like 15 charter operators were busted for serious violations on both the south Atlantic and Gulf Coasts. This was a federal (NOAA) sting and the violations were mainly for reef fish (snappers, groupers, amberjack). Maybe that's what your enforcement guys should do. The after-effects should last a long time.

    I am so excited about fishing in your area. I've been thinking about it for 5 years, and with my offshore fishing grounds largely closed all summer with the oil spill, and me not getting any younger, I figured this is the year. So my younger son and I will be supporting your economy soon.
    You should have a great trip!

    Just remember, we're commenting on what happens on some charters, not all charters. There are some outstanding captains in AK, it would be nice if the fleet at large could bring themselves up to the same standards.

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