And how do you define it ? Bad boat ,gear ,captain so
how do you look at it .
And how do you define it ? Bad boat ,gear ,captain so
how do you look at it .
Any of the above could contribute. I've only been on three charters, so I have very limited experience to comment on. One of these I considered "bad", specifically because we were being rushed by the captain to keep two halibut so we could get back to port. We had paid for a charter of x amount of time, and we were being pressured to cut that time considerably. When I was the last person on the boat still fishing, I gave in and kept the next ping pong paddle I caught. We were back nearly two hours early (on a half day charter) and I left with a bitter taste in my mouth. It wasn't just time, either. The captain talked down to those who were new to halibut fishing and needed help, and he would forcefully take the rod from folks in order to ensure they didn't lose their fish. Just a poor class act all the way around.
For me, it's all about attitude.
It's a boat and things occasionally go wrong. The attitude displayed through both adverse times and the best of times really makes a trip (or break a trip).
Safety is an understood necessity.
"People who drink light 'beer' don't like the taste of beer; they
just like to pee a lot." --Capitol Brewery
Most clients understand that the Capt does not control the weather or the "bite". Most understand that sometimes the fish are just not there. A bad charter is when the equipment is not servicable, such as rods & reels, boat, safety equip etc... . If the boat is dirty and smelly or runs out of fuel, bait, or the heater does not work. If the capt or crew is disrespectful or smells of alcohol that is bad. If the boat takes unnecessary risks in bad weather or rough seas. Many tourist come to Alaska and a fishing trip is just 1 part of their experience. They have different needs from someone that lives here and is on strictly a "meat run". The Alaskan and the tourist often can fish together and do fine but sometimes the Alaskan wants things that the tourist does not find enjoyable. It is really up to the Capt & crew to meet everyones' needs, they make or break the experience!
To me, bad if bad equipment (rods, reels, line, dull/rusty hooks, etc.), doesn't put effort into it, has no idea where the fish are when other charters do, and attitude. If a charter boat I'm on has a crew and captain that are busting their arse trying to get on the fish and help the clients, then I appreciate that even if the catching isn't what I'd consider good.
Bad Charters for me = Captains/crew that are burnt out and borderline rude.
Have been on many great charters and a few mediocre ones. I lean toward the six pack boats for what I feel is a more personal experience.
The crappiest charter I experienced had a captain that was in an obvious hurry to get us our limit of chickens and get the home. Its hard for me to spend $280/each for my daughter and I then be treated like an annoyance.
Being a charter captain can probably be a hard thankless job at times but if you can't deal with it get out of the business. Its ok to have a charter where the fishing is bad, its frustrating for everyone but if the crews attitude is good and they have a sense of humor they still get a decent tip and a thank you. For me its about the experience and learning new techniques from an experienced captain/crew. I don't want to pay $$$$ to spend my day with an AHole.
"Ya can't stop a bad guy with a middle finger and a bag of quarters!!!!"- Ted Nugent.
I know how you feel. Wife & I went on one of those this past year. The captain was in a hurry for everyone to get their fish and go home. It was very obvious he did not want to be out there. It was his second trip of the day. Wife made him pretty peeved when she kept throwing back 10# halibut. Like you said "Its hard for me to spend $280/each for my daughter (in my case- wife) and I then be treated like an annoyance"
Generally we fished on 'six-pack' boats in the past & for the most part did well AND had fun. That boat was the first time we had fished on a boat that held 10 people- not a pleasant experince to say the least. TOO MANY PEOPLE ON TOO SMALL A BOAT. I spent most of my time either waiting for my tangles or someone elses to be cleared. Pretty frustrating to say the least. Knowing what we know now- THAT WILL NOT HAPPEN AGAIN!!!!
Man, if you're paying $280 to go out with other people and there are way too many people for too small a boat then you need to shop around a bit before you go the next time. I can think of about a million things that can make a charter a bad one, but a good one to me is one where only you and whoever you want to fish with are the only ones on the boat, you don't pay an "arm and a leg" for the charter, you get to keep the fish you feel like keeping, the captain loves what he's doing, and he doesn't set any limits as to when you leave the dock in the morning or when you come back in that evening.
The best is fishing on a buddies boat splitting costs for fuel but that isn't always an option. I have only had 1 AK charter and it was great! We all caught fish and had a blast. The Captain was really cool and the equipment was in good order. I fished a charter out of Orange beach AL and the fishing was pretty slow but the CPT kept trying new things and switching species until we found something that was biting. He even showed me how to toss the cast net for bait. Only bad charter I have had was a party boat out of ST Pete FL. I went w/ buddies from work that said it was a great deal. It was apparent that he had a regular route and fished the same spots over and over to the point that they were pretty much picked clean. The fishing was poor, the equipment was awful and though it was "cheap" I would have rather spent much more money for a 6 pack and had a good time. No more party boats for me no matter where I am fishing. I don't like the floating fishing pier experience!!!
I did not know how much the cost was at the time. A friend of ours booked that trip as a last minute thing to replace one of the days we had been blown off the water. There was no extra cost for us, so I assumed (I KNOW, I KNOW!!!) the cost of the replacement was the same as the cancelled trip. Did not find out the actual cost until I did some research about that service the next day. Made me even madder. I did talk to my friend about the poor treatment & told him I would not recommend using that service (or atleast that captain) in the future. Hoipefully he will follow my lead on that.
The best "tip" I ever receive is the repeat business I get and the people that tell me, "so and so said I should give you a call" because that shows me I did a good job with those previous clients.
The worst charter I have had is the one when I ran out of beer Just had to throw some humor in the guys
Grandkids, Making big tough guys hearts melt at first sight
we took a charter out of florida this year, and all the captian did was correct us the whole time,,,,we were only fishing for small snapper, with slip weights in 20-40 feet of water....was ready to throw him overboard,,,my wife had to go to the front of the boat just to get away from this power freak!!.....tell me once, tell me twice about the technique, them LEAVE ME ALONE!!..i came there to relax not be preached at!!!...funny, we hooked up as many as he did????...larry
29' Wooldridge Pilot House, Twin 200 Hp Etecs! "...Pez Gordo..."
18' Wooldridge Sport with 200 hp sport jet. "...Little Pez..."
A charter is going to come at you in one of two ways; it will either be an independent charter (purchase at the dock) or a dependent charter (provided in conjunction with a lodge stay). I've bought my way into both, numerous times, for over 22 years. Now, I simply evaluate either when I am brought on board and on assigment by the owners. I will say that points brought up by this thread are quite valid, and it's a good discussion. I'll contribute by adding the following:
A six-pack that trolls with mixed strangers without trolling guidelines can be a bad charter.
There is nothing wrong fishing with strangers, and this frequently happens in a party of six. During trolling (kings for instance, or maybe silvers), ups/rotations/clear strikes/false strikes and anything else relative to who gets to pick up the pole when "fish on!" comes into play needs to be clearly defined ahead of time. I call them guidelines. Sometimes they are clearly defined ahead of time by the skipper (his policy), other times they are defined by the customers (their policy), and sadly sometimes no one says anything (no policy).
Beware "no policy". It contributes to the bad charter experience.
I fished Larsen Bay on an assignment for a remote lodge last year. The charter at sea was the major player every day when I was there.
It was a six-pack. It had no guidelines. Imagine how dissapointed I was when it was my turn in rotation and an inconsiderate guest grabbed the rod and set the fish while exclaiming, "Hell, I'm right next to the pole and I'm 'gonna take it!" I said nothing, and let him rob me blind; I was there for evaluation, non-paying, and it wasn't about the fish. Yet that pole-grabbing guest did not know that, and rudely got away with it due to no guidelines. Had I been a paying customer, there would have been a lot of bad blood. Had there been guidelines, this might never have happened.
That's not an islolated circumstance. Two years prior I was shadowing a party of three on a dependent charter, and foul seas mandated the pick-up of a party of two kayakers to be taken on the boat, and then suddenly the fishery became a mixed party of five with no guidlines. I didn't even fish, I changed my role to that of the mate (there was none), and I saw a lot of bad blood get tossed around. Matter of fact, the host of the party of three, the one who springs $12,000 every year to take his brothers to fish Alaska, told me later in private that he would never book with that lodge again due to the lack of policy.
So, my advice is to any future consumer who is anticipating the itimacy of the six-pack and on the troll: make sure guidelines are clearly established before you get under way. Spare the blood, get to the fish, and enjoy Alaska to her fullest...
A bad charter.... Capt. #$@@#$%)*& out of Whittier. Worst trip I've ever taken. Boat OK, for 4 not 6. Gear second rate no bait/tailess jigs. Capt. an donkey, no deckhand. Cost to fish ratio > $30 pr/lb. other factors like fishing all day near a long-line set, hosing us down before allowing us on the boat, grabbing rod from my wife, fishing for salmon while we jigged nearly barren water.
Thanks for the experience. You'll never get a repeat trip from me,
Last edited by Daveinthebush; 08-25-2010 at 14:18. Reason: Forum rules language and captains name.
Might you expand on this a bit more ?
quote : "During trolling (kings for instance, or maybe silvers), ups/rotations/clear strikes/false strikes and anything else relative to who gets to pick up the pole when "fish on!" comes into play needs to be clearly defined ahead of time. I call them guidelines."
Observing problems and offering solutions, I developed a memorandum for the lodge to implement that defines policy. It is titled, Charter Fishing Guidelines. I have it in word document and I will gladly forward it to any forum member on request. E-mail: AlaskanAuthor@comcast.net.
I will not post it. I acknowledge that it is my opinion only, that I don't live in Alaska, and that I'm certainly not about tell anyone how to run their business, especialy an Alaskan resident.
Yet it does represent what I deem to be sensible care to any angler, resident or not.
I've now been consulting outfitters and communties in Alaska for over five years. If I didn't have something to offer to make things a little better for everyone, I wouldn't be used. That doesn't seem to be the case of late, and it's building. I suppose all those rock 'n roll years of my being a road warrior and a spit-rat are begining to pay off...
Bernie - I would recommend you post your recommendations on your website. As you've described, your recommendations would likely be applicable to ANY charter fishing guide/boat regardless of where they do business. I've been on charter fishing boats from Alaska to Washington State to Florida to Chesapeake Bay to Rhode Island. Your recommendations would likely help alot of folks beyond your experience in Alaska. If you present it as recommendations to the charter boat industry, writ large, the good folks in Alaska shouldn't see it as an outsider telling them how they should conduct their business.
Fortunately, my experiences on charter boats have been great. Not everything on every charter was perfect, but I don't expect perfection.