Friday, February 27, 2009

Captain Pip'sBoat Info

I didn't fish today which is a good thing for my back but not my wallet. I am fishing tomorrow, but until then I figured I might need to write something. The subject is Captain Pips boats.

Captain Pips provides some very clean and comfortable rooms with a guest boat included. The guest boats are not the cream of the crop. It is a profit thing after all, so the guest boats are the smallest and oldest boats in the fleet. Compared to other locations that offer free boats with lodging, Captain Pips rocks! But let's be realistic.

If you are spending a few grand for a Keys vacation, why not consider spending a little more to get a better boat for the trip? The pro series boats have better electronics, bigger live wells and are more comfortable to fish out of in seas. But they do cost more. With more fuel efficient engines, that cost is not as much as it seems once you get the final bill. Factor in the days you can fish and where you can fish, and it is a no brainer.

Then there are booze cruisers and snow birds that want maximum sun protection and minimum cost. As long as they exist, there will be Gotcha class Bimini equipped Cobia boats that are a pain in the butt to fish out of. They will continue to be a Pips option because snow birds that have no clue how to fish down here want them.

So it is let the renter beware. Can you catch good fish out of the older boats? Sure but you limit your options. It is your vacation, plan it your way, but don't blame your financial choices on the purveyor. They offer options, you have to make the informed decision.

ETA: There is a Pips customer that has never fished with me that regularly talks bad about the new boats. He of course knows everything about fishing the Keys and never has booked me or consulted another guide. He is very vocal though on the net.

That is why I am here guys. To do a little teaching. If you already know everything don't bother calling me. If you want to learn, I am available, either as a guide that costs or just to shoot the breeze that doesn't.

Here is a run down of the Pips guest boats:

Lil Chris, a 19 foot Chris Craft cc with tee top, below deck live well and pedestal mounted seats. Depth finder and VHF only, no GPS.

Century, a 19 century with Bimini top, pedestal seats small square live well in rear port corner. Depth Finder and VHF only.

The Gotcha Class Cobias includes; Gotcha, butterfly and J-bird. 20 foot Cobias with Bimini tops, pedestal seats, small square live wells in rear port corner. Depth finder and VHF only. Note: One or two have had new four stroke engines added. Those got a GPS with the new power.

These boats have carborated two cycle engines that can be hard to start and burn more fuel. They also burn oil which is an additional expense. With only two anglers they run fine. With more than two or lots of gear they tend to be under powered. Pedestal seats must have been designed by small Asian people. Portly anglers tend to break the seats. The Bimini top models have limited rod holders/storage.

The Gotcha class boats are popular with fly fishermen. With the Bimini removed they have a pretty clean casting deck. They are also light boats that are pretty easy to push off flats. Canadians especially like the Bimini tops for sun protection even though they are a pain to fish around. In shore and near shore, they are quite fishable. Offshore trolling though fuel/oil costs tend to be nearly three times that of the four strokes.

Another guest boat is Mackerel Smoker, a 21 foot Mako with tee top, below deck live well, full electronics and an older HPDI Yamaha two cycle. This boat fishes up to four comfortably and is well powered. It is an older boat so it is not very attractive but functional. The motor is possessed by the devil. About once a month it decides to not want to start. After it sits for 15 minutes or so it starts just fine again. The not starting thing happens most often when you want to chase a big fish or want to get away from the rain. When the mechanic looks at the boat it starts just fine. (do do do do, do do do do.)

I will go over the pro series boats in another post. Remember though that older boats crave attention from Mark the mechanic. Minor problems like electrical issues occur more often on these boats but are easy to repair. Let someone know what is an issue and they will fix it pronto. Live well pumps tend to have more issues in the winter due to bay grass clogging the strainer. So if you are a serious live bait user get with the dock master so you know were everything is.

Marathon in the Florida Keys should be your next fishing vacation destination. Join us for charter fishing, fishing guide trips or our fishing 101 so you can fish on your own with better success.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

1 comment: