My wife and I went out on the "all day dolphin" fishing trip with these guys on Thursday feb. 21. I was a little bothered right off the bat since we didn't leave the dock until 8:15am because some of the passengers were late and we were waiting for them. This despite the fact that on the phone I had been sternly advised that the boat would leave the dock at 8:00 sharp whether we were on it or not and that we would be charged for the trip either way. "Not a big deal" I thought, I would appreciate them waiting for me were I in that position. I was further disappointed to find that once we left the dock we were not headed out fishing but instead to get fuel and food at the marina store! We finally motored out of the harbor at about 8:45.
When we did start fishing everything seemed good initially. We got offshore about 2-3 miles (not as far as I expected but whatever- I'm used to fishing Lake Michigan this is the Atlantic...) and the mate started setting lines to troll for Mahi-Mahi. Within 10-15 min we had our first Mahi in the boat and things seemed to be going well. Then came 30 min of nothing after which the captain decided we should try kite fishing. This was alright and within 40 min or so produced a couple bites and one nice king. We then proceeded to continue with the kites for a total of about 4.5 hours the last hour of which time produced no activity at all (probably should have tried something else a little sooner- but that's hindsight). My chief complaint with the kite fishing is that we were getting plenty of bites and such but not catching anything most of the time. All told the kites yielded the one king mentioned earlier. Part of the reason for this was that we didn't initially have wire leaders attached. That in and of itself is understandable, what bothered me was that when the mate started swapping out for wire he ran out of pre-rigged leaders (I believe he found a total of 3). Even in my rather modest freshwater tackle bag, you can bet I've got more than 3 wire leaders ready to go at any given point in time.
Then the captain decided we would try fishing for sharks, which got us a few more bites and no more fish boated. After the sharks the captain finally brought us to what I presume was a wreck or reef where we hauled in several vermillion snapper and a couple almaco jacks, one of which was a keeper.
All in all I would not call it a very successful day of fishing, but that's ok sometimes the fish don't cooperate. What was unacceptable in my view was the disorganization that I saw in the operation- everything from not having the boat fueled up prior to leaving the dock to the lack of wire rigs to not paying any attention to who was going to "fish" next. Also, the word fish is in quotes because what really went on is the mate did the fishing and hooking then the paying customer did the reeling- which makes our extremely poor bite:catch ratio while kite fishing even more disappointing (the bite catch ratio on the kites as I figured it was 10:1). Also extremely disappointing were some of the captains judgement calls. I know that both my wife and I and two other people on the charter were more interested in catching good numbers of fish and bringing something home for the table than with catching trophy fish. Now, it is not impossible that we were simply out voted as there were 9 customers on our trip, but the techniques that were employed for the vast majority of the day (the kites and shark fishing- which together comprised 5-5.5 hours of an 8 hour trip) are not very well suited to our objectives (and yes the captain was well aware of what we would like to get out of the trip- he asked us as we finalized our payment at the dock).
Both the captain and the mate were generally quite friendly and pleasant, although the mate did smoke almost constantly and threw all of the butts into the ocean. The boat was also relatively well equipped and reasonably comfortable. Neither the boat nor the equipment is brand new but both seemed to work perfectly well on our trip.
To summarize, I was most upset by the lack of organization, followed closely by the fact that the captain never reevaluated the desires of his customers during the trip when there was going to be a change of location or technique. Then there was the fact that two members of the party (myself included) never had our hands on a rod that held a fish on the other end of the line (which may or may not be understandable depending on fishing conditions).
I would also like to note that while the 9 paying customers on our trip was tolerable, 6 would have been better. They say they can have 22 people fishing from that boat (Lady Pamela III) and while it may be true that you could fit 22 people aboard I find it completely inconceivable that it would be in any way comfortable or that much fishing would get done.
However, the boat ride was very pleasant and relaxing and seeing Miami from the water was cool, unfortunately that's not what I paid for...
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