On the Water: Family Time

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A family getting into the fish on board Gusto. Courtesy photo

I enjoy the calls I get from customers inquiring about a fishing charter for their upcoming visit to Catalina Island. Sometimes I think that I should rename our business to something that more accurately reflects what we do, like, “Afishinados Family Charters.”

These calls can be broken down into a couple of categories. Here are some examples:

The Fish Report.

This caller is frequently not really interested in a charter.

They are coming to Catalina, often on board a friend’s boat, and they are trying to get the inside scoop on what is biting and what technique is working the best.

There is a high degree of “sly” in these calls, such as how they answer questions such as “What start time would you like to book?”

These calls are tricky because there is a group within The Fish Report callers that actually might be interested in booking a charter—IF the fishing is good. “What are the chances for getting into the big Yellowtail?” or “Have the White Sea Bass been on a run?” they ask.

I get a kick out of these callers, knowing that they are coming to Catalina, knowing that they want to go fishing, but also knowing that they would be bummed paying for a fishing trip if they do not catch a trophy.

There is a high probability for disappointment with these folks even on a day when fishing is good.

I refer these calls to my competitors.

The Newbie.

This caller is fun. They have recently gotten into fishing. They read all the magazines and spend way too much time on the internet.

Now they have the fishing bug, and nothing can scratch the itch like “deep sea” fishing.

“How far out do you go on your three-hour trips?” they ask, and “Are you getting into any of those 100-pound blue fins?”

I am often the one that must teach them about the internet reports by sharing some of the realities of deep sea fishing.

Those reports only illustrate the lucky few and not the 500 other boats that spent the entire weekend searching a great big ocean. It is a hard lesson to learn.

The Shopper.

This caller has gone to the Chamber office on the Green Pier and gotten a list of companies that provide fishing charters in Avalon Harbor.

Apparently at one time we were on the list twice since we have multiple boats, so I would often get two calls from The Shopper.

When I get a call from The Shopper I figure it is a 50-50 shot that the call will turn into a booking.

Since “Afishinados” is alphabetically at the top of the list, they have more calls to make before choosing a boat.

Maybe we should change our name to “Z Best Charters.”

The Kid.

I have learned that there are kids who are simply born to fish. Generally, it is a mystery to the rest of the family.

Nobody ever seems to fully understand how this kid got to be so focused on fishing. But, they all understand that it is important.

Very commonly The Kid has been up at the crack of dawn fishing the Green Pier, he has seen the charter boats leave the harbor and he has seen them return.

He has noted which of the boats return with happy customers. He has done his homework.

When The Kid calls I can expect the most prepared caller of all.

The questions that The Kid asks are to the point. “Is the morning better than an afternoon trip?” “Do you carry live bait?” “Are you chumming or trolling?” they will ask.

The Mom.

This caller is generally the core of our business. It is usually The Mom making the call, although it is often possible to hear Dad in the background tossing questions out to Mom as we talk about setting up a charter. Moms know it is all about family time.

Their questions run a different path. “Do you have covered seating?” “Is there a head on board?” “Will my kids catch fish?”

The Mom is shopping for quality family time. That is a perfect fit for Afishinados Charters.

Capt. John runs Afishinados Charters and Catallac Tours – john@afishinados.com – 888-613-7770.

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