I'd say I'm a decent fisherman, but on this trip my father-in-law wanted to treat my 2 young sons (8 and 5) to day of saltwater fishing. So we were looking for some bottom fishing and light tackle trolling. I did my research and found Hook 'Em to be what we were looking for. I called the manager Lucy who told me that Captain Wing had 25 years of experience and was good with kids. She told me we'd have our lines in the water 20 minutes after leaving the marina and that we'd split our time doing both bottom fishing and trolling.
We were running 15 minutes late that morning. When we got there, Lucy acted surprised that there were 3 adults and 2 kids coming even though I was very clear on the phone and in text messages that I saved that stated the exact number of people that would be fishing on the boat. She had to know the number of people coming b/c she had to get fishing licenses for us ahead of time! It didn't end up being a problem, but she said "I guess that many can fit on the boat." The boat itself is a single engine, 25 foot, with a bimini top in the back. Fine for that kind of trip, but I wouldn't be comfortable taking that boat out further for any sport fishing.
We got out there and started fishing in about 20 feet of water about 9:30 or so near Parrot Cay. The fish were really biting early (mutton snapper, grouper, jacks, permits, etc). That was really good for about 75 minutes and then things turned off. I thought at that point we'd move to another spot or start trolling. Nope, we stayed there another hour until I finally asked if we could move. All of the bigger fish in the area left and all that stayed were tiny fish that just stole our bait.
So instead of trolling like I was told we'd do over the phone, we just moved to another area for bottom fishing in 10-12 feet of water where we never caught another fish. I understand the fish don't always bite, but my oldest son got bored. I wish we tried more spots earlier. Also, all the fish we caught were small...nothing more than a max of 1.5 pounds. Would have been nice to troll for something bigger, although they really didn't even have the proper equipment for trolling.
Overall, it was average for anyone with experience fishing. But for beginners, my youngest son was really thrilled and still talks about the fish he caught. For that alone, it was worth the memories. Relatively speaking, they were cheaper than other outfitters. A couple of the reels were in really bad shape- the bales were broken and the drag didn't work at all. The rods/reels were pretty old and they were cheapies (Shakespeare Ugly Stik rods and similar). Wing was good with kids, too. Just not that great at keeping us on the fish or finding us good sized fish.
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