RUNNING FISHING CHARTERS
COSTS MORE THAN A DROP IN THE BUCKET
by Bonnie Tardella
Okay, so losing lures is a part of the cost of doing business, but how many of those expensive little buggers should a fishing captain be expected to replace within the course of one season? I’m talking here all kinds of lures–surface plugs, swimmers, rattlers, tubes, jigs, soft baits–not to mention hooks, swivels, sinkers and every kind of conceivable terminal tackle used for all the species fished for in Long Island Sound between April and November.
And what about fishing line? I could weave a tent for a family of five with all the kinky pink line my husband tosses away in our garbage pail every week. I spend about an hour a month holding a pencil through a huge spool of monofilament, as the captain reloads his reels with brand-new line–which will probably only be suitable for two or three trips before it has to be replaced yet again.
Broken reels and fractured rods make round trips to tackle shops or manufacturers’ repair departments on a regular basis, too. Do you know what it costs to ship a rod or reel from Connecticut to California and back? I should buy stock in UPS to help soften the blow.
All these repairs and replacements are to be expected in the fishing charter business, of course, and the captain tries to take them in his stride–always being sure to have lots of spare tackle in our storage shed. Oh, yeah; every once in a while, too, a propeller needs regrinding when a rock moves from where it used to be, and occasionally a hapless anchor finds a new home in an abandoned lobster pot–taking with it shackle, chain, and line. Needless to say, we had to buy an additional storage unit to be sure he was ready for all fishing-related contingencies.
News flash! A flat of sand worms is more expensive than imported escargot!
Let’s talk gasoline prices. Now that it costs a gazillion dollars to fill the tank with fuel every week, I’m wondering if it would be sacrilegious to make a novena at the beginning of the season–asking that the blues and striped bass take up residence close to our marina instead of on the other side of Long Island Sound. I guess God would punish me if I pray for such stuff, so I’d better forget about the novena, right?
The moral to this little essay is that it’s the job of a charter captain to get his passengers into fish and to make them happy throughout their trip. If making his passengers happy sometimes result in his being little bit grumpy, then that’s also part of the cost of doing business. Thankfully, a glass of red wine is a great grump-deflector, so no serious damage has been done to the captain or his mate while dealing with the petty annoyances described above, and we’ve endured countless years of re-spooling reels and regrinding props and replacing lures, with no permanent scars–so far.
Now if an asteroid were to hit and sink our boat while it was tied up at the dock, I don’t think even a case of red wine could forestall acute grumpiness. Maybe I should consider offering up an anti-asteroid novena? Somehow that doesn’t seem quite so sacrilegious–it being a heavenly body, and all.
B.T. a/k/a The Captain’s Wife