Saturday, August 10, 2013

The Boat Time Share - Finangler

 A few years back I had a number of regular customers that had become addicted to fishing in the Florida Keys.  These were customers that would spend two to four weeks per year on extended vacation.  A few mentioned they were getting a little turned off by issues with boats.  They would schedule to have a rental boat for so many days, but something would happen to the boat adding complications to their stay which is not the reason they were here to begin with.  They were in the Keys to fish and avoid complications.

After telling them what BOAT stands for, Broke Or About To aka Break Out Another Thousand, I mention that the first time share property I know of in the world was the Hawk's Nest here in Marathon.  Time shares for real estate or fractional ownership for planes, trains, boats and automobiles, is a way to have the use of something without paying full fare. 

The problems with fractional ownerships are similar to any business, stuff breaks, insurance has to be paid, registrations (dang taxes) have to be dealt with, clean-up, maintenance, storage etc. etc etc.  To offset those cost and make sure that the boat is actually functional when one of the owners wanted to use it, I recommended that the boat be part of a business, like charter or commercial fishing, so it would be used and maintained regularly.

Without going into much detail, I selected a Panga Style hull in the 24 to 27 foot range without a great deal of bells and whistles to brake for a comfortable, fishable and affordable vessel.  The reason was that the vessel would be affordable and fishable more than the comfortable. 

In the Marathon area the fishing opportunities range from back country, flats, bridge, bay, reef, channel patches near shore wrecks, Gulf wrecks and offshore plus Bahama/Cuba runs.  That is a lot of fishing within 100 nautical miles of the dock that can be done in a 24 to 27 foot Panga style boat. 

Panga Style is nothing but a flatish stern dead rise with a high bow dead rise.  The beam of a classic panga is very small relative to its length, but panga "style" is about an 8 foot beam for a 25 foot length, 7' -7" with a 25"-6" LOA was the more exact dimensions of the two I recommended, the Angler Panga - low cost and the Andros Panga - sexy custom.  At the time a 26' Angler Panga demo boat was about $35K and the Andros Panga about $60K.  They both would have a cruising speed of around 30 knots with a 200 HP outboard and get around 3.8 MPG.  Unlike some boats, the panga would also stay on a plane at 2000 RPM making about 10 knots in sporty seas without beating your brains out and scaring your crew to death while getting about 3.8 MPG. 

The Panga I recommended was to be powered by a Yamaha four stroke engine.  Not because I an a particular fan of Yamaha over anyone else, but because you can't throw a stick in Marathon without hitting a Yamaha.  Parts, mechanics and replacements are readily available so there is no lengthy down time should the pooh pooh you know is going to occur, occur.  The motor plan also included either re-powering the boat or trading the boat in on a newer model every two years.  That way you get roughly the maximum trade-in on the boat or motor and someone else gets the potential headache. 

The plan fell by the wayside with a couple of the potential investors buying larger boats with cabins, refrigerators that never were used,  toilets that were used a few times then use prohibited or strongly discouraged, large fuel tanks for the large motors that required home improvement loans to fill and general so much liability that no one really wanted to use the boats other than the out right owners. 

 I am bringing all this up again because one of my newer customers is a tax attorney that likes to spend a month or two a year in the Keys well after tax time.  I  told him that I would look around for boat options so if he likes he could revive Finangler in some form, so here is another boat brand I would recommend.

Old Pro 2004 is a custom 24 foot 5 inch Proline hull based open fisherman built in Chiefland, Florida by Coarsy Fiberglass.  The hull drafts just a few inches and has a little bit wider beam than Panga style, but the performance and fuel economy is very close to the same.  Coarsy doesn't have a website, but you can Google "Old Pro 2400" and read a review or two.  They build the Old Pro's as they would work boats, substantial hull, transom, stingers and deck, but do extremely clean finish work and gelcoat.  They also, from what I hear, would not mind having a boat or two in the area to help advertise their business. 

I am not going to revise the Finagler prospectus/ Business Plan right now but the basic information is all there in the highlighted link.  The plan still is not to get filthy rich, but to have a legitimate reason to write off vacation expenses and enjoy fishing the Florida Keys with less drama, if you are into multi-week fishing vacations.  There is always the potential to expand into something larger if you are so inclined, but thar be headaches.  Whichever way, there are quite a few people that read my blog that may want to hook up with the right boat.

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

Monday, August 05, 2013

Pretty Day Anyway

Elijah of mutton snapper fame was back down for the summer and his dad called me for another guide trip.  After reading of me complaining about the weather this year, yesterday was just a fine day on the water in that respect.  The bite though was slow, probably because it was so pretty.  The game plan was to do the lazy angler thing on the reef in a little deeper water to see what kind of big stuff might want to play.  Now you might be wondering why I have a photo of Elijah with a regular old 15 inch yellowtail.

The lazy angler thing is just chumming heavy and not getting too crazy about yellowtailing.  Catch enough for dinner, like the one in the photo, but put out some live baits on the surface and near the bottom to see what else the chum brings to the party.  The live bait this time of year is generally ballyhoo which are normally very easy to catch.  Well yesterday the ballyhoo wanted absolutely nothing to do with our plan.  They wouldn't even look at the small baits we had on hair hooks and never got right to cast net had we have had the common sense to not leave it at the dock.  Yep, that is right sports fans, I forgot my net and Elijah's dad who normally keeps his net in the boat forgot his. The only live bait action we had was a trade up from a yellow tail to a monsterous fish that likely never realized he was hooked.  Elijah fought him for a spell but the small yellowtail hook straighten out ending that part of the show.  So after catching a few yellow tails and not catching ballyhoo we moved into the shallower patches to look for Mangroves and other stuff.

More of the same really.  There were tons of Mangrove in the bearly legal range with a good number of larger fish that we could never get a bait to.  Had we had smaller live baits we would have probably tangled with a few, but we didn't so we didn't.

Next stop was the hawk channel rockpiles with not much time left in the day for fishing.  Right off the bat we had a cut off on a dead ballyhoo then Elijah hooked into what was likely a pretty large Jewfish AKA Goliath Grouper.  That battle produce some nice action photos of Elijah on the rod, but the Jew Fish aka Goliath Grouper turned back toward the boat and opened its mouth resulting in an end of that part of the show.  Some small blue runners showed up so we put one out and within 30 seconds Elijah's dad was hooked up on a 20 to 30 pound barracuda.  On one of their lighter spinning outfits it was a good match and dad appeared to have a pretty good time.  Elijah was promoted to videographer during the barracuda battle and deserves extra credit since he caught the bait.  Dad seemed to have had a pretty good time as he posed for photos which somehow never made it to my email, so they are not in the post. 

Another barracuda showed up and ate Elijah's blue runner.  Unfortunately, the barracuda also ate all of the wire leader and cut the main line before ever feeling a hook.  We manage to catch three live baits and all three produced some action within minutes of hitting the water.  Unfortunately, the bait disappeared.  With the bait no longer wanting to play we headed back to the dock.

There are a couple of morals to this story.  First, never assume that your buddy brought the cast net.  Second, never underestimate the value of those pinfish that you left at the dock.  Third, even when you forget the first and second you can still catch dinner and find something that will pull a drag fishing in the Florida Keys.

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