Hi Folks, I did get quite a few responses to my request for ideas of improvement, some helpful, some not so much, and having considered them all I have come up with a few improvements that I can do. Some of the ideas generated just aren’t feasible in the harbor I fish from and although I appreciate the suggestions I received, it was clear that, as captain, the end decision on what to do to improve the business would have to be done by me. Most were however very positive and I really appreciate that those of you responding took the time to think about it and get back to me.
One of the less profitable suggestions was to do an “affordable 4 or 5 hour tuna charter” and when I asked the gent what he had in mind for the rate, considering fuel, distance to tuna, travel time and the gear being used, he offered back $500, (an amount $50 less than my 4 hour bass trip). Another chap suggested I offer bluefin harpooning trips, and when I mentioned that I did not have a pulpit on my boat’s bow, he said that he recently saw a couple on Craigslist that I could pick up. I think having a pulpit on the bow would greatly increase my anxiety level when docking my boat over 350 times during the busy summer season at the Chatham Fish Pier. Imagine having to raise and lower that thing every day so I can do the one harpooning charter per year?
There were some good ideas though. The first, was to accept credit cards, as a way to make the businesses that charter me easier to do their accounting. I have already signed up with SQUARE, a credit card reader app for my iphone, that doesn’t charge too much for doing business with them and there is no penalty or monthly charge for not doing a transaction like others. A seat cushion for the bench and engine hatch seats is another good idea that makes sense to me for making a charter more enjoyable for you. I have already installed a separate 12 volt system with an inverter, for allowing 120 volt AC electrical system on the boat. It could be handy for a cup of morning coffee, or to plug in a forgotten phone charger etc? I’ve installed several LED thru hull underwater lights, a mast and a couple 500 watt sodium halide lights for night fishing for giant tuna. I have a new “head” on order, and there is a couple VERY expensive Shimano spinning reels ordered for a couple north shore guys that are bored with trolling for tuna. The usual maintenance items of having 5 Shimano 50 W and 4 Penn 130 II reels sent out to be cleaned and repaired should round off the list.
I am currently considering doing a shorter trolling tuna trip, as well as considering a 10-hour tuna chumming trip, similar to the methods you see on National Geographic’s “Wicked Tuna” tv show. I am curious about how some of you feel about these ideas and would appreciate any comments you might have in that regard.
I am disappointed to add there is one thing I cannot do on short notice that some folks ask for. I’m not sure if they realize how hard it is to do this from the east of Chatham area unless its in late August or September due to the natural conditions of the area. That is BLUEFISH fishing. One of my regular customers I have had for years pointed out that once he suggested bluefish fishing to me and I ridiculed him. Hearing that I felt bad, because I know its probably true, even though I thought it at the time was probably said in fun. Another responder also suggested we go for bluefish on light tackle at the end of the trip when we limit out on the bass. Bluefish like warm water. Bass like cold water. Chatham has colder than normal water. I can catch bass regularly as a result, but to get the bluefish I need to travel to southern (or warmer) waters for. So I do get frustrated when someone want to do both, but tells me at the end of the day after I have caught a limit of bass, because at the end of the trip there just isn’t time to run 15-20 miles south to the warm water where there are tons of bluefish. Boats operating from Cape Cod Bay can do both with impunity, until the water gets so hot there are no bass around. The Harwich boats can head towards Nantucket to do that if they plan. Chatham has colder than 64 degree water usually until August 20 or so, then we start to see the bluefish. So if you want to do mixed bass and blues on your trip tell me up front when booking, and then we can either schedule you later in the year of take the time to run south to Point Rip off Nantucket and we can catch em till your arms fall off.
I do appreciate the suggestions and opinions. If you have more suggestions, please keep them coming. In closing, have been booking charters steadily throughout this last two weeks, and I would like to remind you if you are considering a trip this summer, please check the previous reports on tides and fish catching results, and try to reserve a day that works for your party, considering boat traffic, tide conditions, travel and lodging issues, departure times and any other thing that may be something to think about. Please email or call with any questions or ideas.
Thanks very much,
Capt. Bruce & Marilyn S