Monday, January 23, 2012

It is All About the Money

Here is a news flash, charter fishing is about making money. This topic came up shooting the breeze with the captains at the dock. Why? Because they believe that all charters should have about the same sticker price. I think all charters should have about the same profit margin. It is a profit thing in my opinion.

The reason this subject comes up is because I have cultivated a blue collar clientele. I am a bit on the frugal side myself, I want the most bang for my buck, so I expect the same from by customers. I like eating fish, if I owned a working freezer that wasn't full of unrecognizable bait and chum, I would be inclined to stock up on fish that freeze well.

So over the years, I have gradually slid into an unofficial business agreement with my customers, "if you want me to charge less, expect to do more yourself." Being a cheap skate, er.. frugal, I can squeeze the bait, fuel and ice budget to death and still catch fish. That involves spending time catching bait on the trip instead of having it ready at the dock, using less chum by targeting stupider fish and not running to the Bahamas for fish I can catch at the bridge. Some people like that, some don't. Different strokes and all that.

The boat and me can make a good living on $400 a day. This is were the confusion starts, to me a day is a day and a fishing trip is a tide. It bores the hell out of me to sit for a couple hours knowing damn well the bite is going to suck. Since there is about 5 hours of productive enough tide to not bore me, that is a fishing day. In order to extend that productive time requires time and money, my time and the boat's fuel consumption money. So I call my trips, flexible full days. We go catching for $400 bucks, not catching costs $75 bucks an hour.

If the crew needs a mate on the boat, the mate costs money. Without a bump in the boat economy, that means productive fishing is more like 3 hours instead of five. I like my mates, but I also like making a living. No mate means more work for me, more money for me, or more work by the frugal customers. I am flexible and most fishermen I know do a fair job of cleaning fish and boats. I will step in if someone tries to butcher either.

When I had plans of starting my own charter, with my own boat, I was going to call this the "Grunts" special. Grunts can either be the target species or the sound I hear while the customers are cleaning the boat and/or the fish.

I also like to gamble a little and brag when I win. So if I think I have fair odds of making the kids at the dock look bad by bringing in bigger or fancier fish, I am inclined to do so on occasion. Kids do need to be reminded that the old farts can catch fish from time to time.

So what I need is a little consumer feed back. Is this too complicated so should I just charge $750 a day so I blend in with the kids?

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. Dallas,
    We had a great time fishing with you and enjoyed your fee schedual. I hope to do it again this permitting Swain/Hankins...Alan Swain...the one who brings the fly rod along.

    1. i think you should pay us to listen to your jokes! seriously though, most people who spend weeks in the keys can afford 750 bucks a day.but there are also many people like me who come every year to fish with Dallas because he is a working man just like me.i can't afford 700 dollars for 7 days.Dallas knows he accomidates me.i do all the work.he just drives the boat.i always make him fish with us too.i feel as though he is fishing with me rather than working for me.i consider him one of my favorite people on this rock that we live i think there is a niche for people like me.going to the bridge to catch mangroes is a great day for me.i've taken those 700 dollar boat rides.rude people and no fish.never again.joe from chicago