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Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

Tampa, Florida
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12 posts
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Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

Three of us recently spent two days fishing in Key West with an outfit called "Coolcast." We all agreed it was the worst guided trip we ever had. Please understand that all three of us live in Florida, are experienced in-shore and off-shore fishermen and have been on dozens of charters in the US and all over North and South America.

We were promised 1 and 3/4 days of fishing and the Captains Damon or Chris would be the only ones taking us out. Several days before they bragged about catching lots of dolphin, permit, snapper, etc. After arriving in Key West, my friend, who booked the trip, got a voicemail message at 5:30 the night before, stating that neither Chris or Damon could charter us because they had an important meeting with their lawyers and BP the next day about damages to their business from the oil spill. (Note, at this time there was NO BP oil in or near Key West up to 70 miles out. )

We called Damon back after dinner and told him this was not acceptable. He would not budge but agreed via a text message to defer their "fuel surcharge." We were also told we would have to buy our own crabs at $2 each if we wanted to fish for permit. The charter provided no food or water either. Charge for full day was $900 BTW.

We were promised an experienced Captain named Dan who turned into Bill instead the next morning at the dock. After paying our two day fee, including the fuel surcharge which Damon reneged on, we finally left. Despite good weather, we only caught six Yellow-tail snapper, a couple of Bonita and one large Permit. Every stop was the same story from Bill, "this guy's on my spot, it's a full moon, etc."

The next day with Damon was worse. We told him we wanted to go "off-shore" for dolphin. After trolling 3 hours with the same soggy ballyhoo rigs-zippo. We asked to go inshore and fish a reef or wreck for mutton snapper. We were then giving butterfly jigs in 200 feet of water-result-one bonita and one king, which the Captain reluctantly brought in. The whole time he was on his cell phone talking to other customers. We were given the same excuse about the full moon and how snapper fishing was better at night. Never mind that Damon new this when we booked the trip but didn't advise us of that.

At end of the trip, we grabbed or food and water and discovered a banana left in the cooler, presumably by the captain! Any fisherman knows this is bad luck. We were left to assume that this was his way of giving us a silent middle finger for being too demanding.

These guys are all flash and no substance. Stay clear.

Key Colony Beach...
Destination Expert
for Florida Keys
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7,637 posts
22 reviews
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1. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

HUGE bummer. The Captains can really make or break a fishing trip. even if you aren't catching, they can certainly focus on the fishing and making sure the clients are having fun.

I won't even eat a banana the day before a fishing trip, much less let anyone take one onto the boat.

Marathon, Florida
Destination Expert
for Marathon, Islamorada
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15,208 posts
33 reviews
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2. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

The Keys - Key Largo to KW are having a lot of cancellations due to reports that the Keys are going to be covered with oil. There are lawyers everywhere right now working on this class action suit because of all the jumpy people that believe there is oil here and will be because LA has it. I'm not defending the Capt, he should have postponed that. Just saying we are already seeing the effects of the media hype.

If you find a Capt here in the Keys that supplies food and water - let me know! I have only seen that in Costa Rica.

Marathon, Florida
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for Marathon, Islamorada
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3. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

And - I'm sorry you had a bad time fishing. We hope you come back again and try again. we have some great Capts here and the Forum can help you find one.

conn
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1,600 posts
141 reviews
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4. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

I was in KW last week for two full days of guided fishing and guide was wonderful. You should go and post a review of this charter under trip advisor reviews and make sure other people don't suffer the same fate.

Key West
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1,682 posts
16 reviews
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5. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

Sorry you had a bad experience with your charter fishing trip in Key West. I hope it does not sour you on the experience of Florida Keys Fishing.

1 Some "Captains" are claiming a 30 % lose in business since the BP oil spill. I think dollar signs are in a few guys eyes. No honest, good Captain I know has lost 30% of their business. To skip a paying trip to file a lawsuit against BP is shameful. Customers come first. I can see that the BP oil spill is what a few "captains" are going to blame for the failure of their business, not because they are poor business men. I know of several that hope to make big $$ off the lawsuit.

2 Fishing can be very tough around the full moon. The dolphin bite was hot up until the full moon. They are still out there just you really have to work at it. (and sometimes do some running) My trip on Saturday was not my best by any means. We all have bad trips sometimes, and all good Captains try VERY hard to get fish. I personally hate to come back after a bad day it makes you look bad in front of the other guys at the dock.

3 $900 a day is about right for that size boat. I do not agree with the "fuel charge" I now some guys are doing it but I believe it's a crappy way to do business. It gives the Captain an out because he can always claim "we didn't catch fish because you didn't want to pay for extra fuel to get to the fish." (We did raise our base rates when fuel went up, but no "surcharge")

4 It is not normal with boats in the Keys to supply food and drink. I know that our insurance (an the law) will NOT allow us to supply any adult beverages. We tell our customers to bring whatever they want to eat or drink we supply the ice and cooler. Most guys are happy to recommend local sandwich shops that make box lunches for fishing trips.

5 Cell phones on the boat are an issue. I've heard this complaint about other Captains before. I'm not sure the guys that chat on cell phones all day while working "get it" . Comes back to that bad business thing.Just because you have a captains license does not mean you are a good business man.

Fish hard,

Bonez

disclaimer time: I sometimes run the Charter Boat "Kingbird"

6. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

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Removed on: 30 September 2010, 23:35
Edited: 30 September 2010, 23:35
Pjk
New Jersey
Destination Expert
for Key West
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35,148 posts
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7. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

FWIW If this was repeated in a Tripadvisor review there is a way for you to contest it.

Pjk

Raleigh, North...
4 posts
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8. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

Me and groupd of guys are heading down to the Keys next week and we are booked with coolcast. I booked with Chris and was told months ago that Chirs or Damon would not be our Captain. When I saw this post I got a little worried but I have searched the internet for days and this is the only bad review I can find. Makes me wonder what this guys problem is. If he has fished all over then he should know that sometime you fish and sometimes you catch. I have been fishing for over 20 years and even I go out and have bad days, some years worst than others. I am looking forward to my trip with coolcast and will report back on how things went. Trup advisor is no to be used to vent your frustration becuase things just did not go your way. My advice is buy you own boat and take yourself fishing. That way when you don't catch fish you can blame yourself.

UK
Destination Expert
for Florida
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47,914 posts
22 reviews
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9. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

I gotta say if you were going to dispute this post here made many months ago, you've made a mistake. You've just brought it to the top of the pile for everyone to read now the oil rush to cancel is over. Makes no good business sense, nor does criticising a customer here.

Any good business dealing with the public doesn't help themselves by bringing up old posts just to slag off a customer, even if they were a pain. Dealing with this sort of customer is part of your business. Treat all customers well, good or bad.

If they left you bad review, deal with it as the above post mentions. Dont' bring it up here for everyone new to read again. Seems to me you joined just to do this and while it may have made you feel better for a few minutes of righteous indignation, in the long run it will hurt you more for having done so.

Edited: 30 September 2010, 21:43
Key Colony Beach...
Destination Expert
for Florida Keys
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7,637 posts
22 reviews
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10. Re: Fishing Charter Rip off-Buyer Beware

WOW - how lucky - jmorox on his very first post on TA found this thread.

Also - amanx is spot-on. You've brought bad attention to yourself -