Thursday, December 14, 2006

Fishing Guides

Recreation fishermen visiting the Florida Keys for the first time, even regular visitors can benefit from a good quality local guide. Anyone that trailers his boat to the Keys or is renting a boat locally should think about a guide service. This is how I got started in the keys. People renting boats would hire me for a half day, just to give them a quick look at how to get around without tearing the boat up or getting lost. Some would just hire me for a hour to refresh their boating skills. It wasn’t long until they started getting me for full days with quite a few getting me for a week or more.

While it is harder not to catch fish in the Keys than to catch, the quality of the catch seemed to be better with me on the boat. So I have been recommending people hire a guide for a while until last week. That’s when I found how much people are charging. Anything over $150 a day is a bit much!

That makes me think it might be time to start a guide referral service. I know three very qualified guides here in Marathon, that don’t have a problem working a half-day for $80 and a full-day for 150 dollars plus gratuity. Gratuity is typically 10 to 20 percent of the guide fee. We know that if you have a bad trip, getting stiffed is to be expected. It was always my policy that I’d refund anyone that didn’t have a good time. In my first 800 trips or so I refunded four times, mainly because of weather.

So between captains, Pete, Howard, Chris and myself, there is a pretty good start to a solid guide service in Marathon. Add in captain Jim on Big Pine and captain’s Jeff and Josh in Key Weird and captain Lee in Islamarada, that’s a pretty network of guides.

Don’t expect any guide to give you a bunch of numbers for honey holes. If you fish the same guide for a few trips, he might throw you a bone here or there. But don’t count on it. The biggest thing the guide will do is show you how and which public numbers to fish. The Top-spots charts have a few pretty good numbers in areas where there are better ones. A little local knowledge can really kick things up.

So if you might be interested in a fishing guide, let me know.

Capt. Dallas

1 comment:

  1. Capt,
    I am headed to Marathon, may 4 5 6, I will be accompanied by my cousin Tom, my father and my uncle Tom. The 4 of us are local seasoned fishermen born and raised on the cheasapeak bay MD. But know nothing about the fishing in the keys. We would like to experience morning and evening tarpon, reef and recks with some grouper and possibly off shore for tuna and dolphin in the time we will be there.
    I am open to all suggestions.
    You are my starting point.