2020 is now behind us – and what a year it was! Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you know that last year was one of the most disruptive in history. The coronavirus pandemic wreaked havoc on our way of life, our businesses, and the economy at large.
With the worst of the pandemic hopefully behind us, we turn to 2020 for all the lessons it taught us, before changing course to a much more optimistic 2021. As you’ll see in this month’s Captain Spotlight, there were also plenty of positive stories last year!
Who stood out in 2020?
In the past year, some captains stood out from the crowd. These captains got the best reviews from customers by providing excellent service and going the extra mile to make them happy.
It’s obvious that the captain’s impressive review score is no coincidence. It’s well earned by going above and beyond to fulfill his clients’ wishes.
The silver medal for customer reviews in 2020 goes to Captain Ronnie Atkinson. His customers have been leaving outstanding reviews in the past year, with 226 5-star reviews. What’s the deal here?
It’s not magic, it’s great customer service! Capt. Ronnie has shown us that when you treat your customers to a great fishing experience, success is all but guaranteed.
There’s one more captain that deserves special recognition. With 194 5-star reviews from satisfied customers in the past year, Captain Herb Rosenberg is a force to be reckoned with. Let’s see what his customers are saying.
Capt. Herb loves his job, and it shows! These aren’t the only captains who have spent the year doing what they love most – taking people fishing. Let’s take a look at what they’ve been up to, and take some inspiration for 2021!
Staying safe during the pandemic became the number one priority for a lot of people, which mainly meant staying inside. People who love the outdoors took it especially hard. The challenge for them was finding a way to get out while staying safe and protecting their families.
And they found one! Fishing is one activity people can enjoy without much worry about contracting the virus. A lot of captains started taking additional safety measures to help keep customers even safer, and this was an important step towards keeping their bookings.
One of them is Captain Marcus McDavid from Saltwater Therapy Custom Charters in Ocean Springs, Mississippi. In the peak of the pandemic, he worked hard to make his customers feel safe. And it paid off! His trips were a raving success.
Back in March, Capt. Marcus reported how he’d had a lot of inquiries about whether he was taking people out. He decided to promote his preventive measures, which included:
- Reducing his group size to 4 people
- Thoroughly disinfecting the boat after every trip
- Providing hand sanitizer and a spray bottle of bleach/water mixture and clean rags on every trip
And customers responded! At a time when people needed an outlet, he was there to reassure them and show them they can still enjoy fishing.
“With schools not in session, the kids will be getting restless sitting at home,” he wrote, “What better time than now to get them outdoors catching fish.”
Big Fish Are Always in Style
Back in August, Captain Bruno Sares from Aquasares Fishing Charters took his customers out to the waters off the coast of Tavira, Portugal. This area is fantastic for big game fishing, with Blue and White Marlin making regular appearances on fishing trips.
One of their August trips resulted in a Billfish double-header and the boatside release of a 500 lb Blue Marlin, but not before they snapped a few photos!
The deep offshore waters aren’t the only place to find large creatures. There’s been a lot of action closer to shore as well, as Captain Will Jones from Bounty Hunter Guide Service showed us – also in August. Bull Reds are the target of many anglers, and Capt. Will knows how to find them. Just look at this beauty!
The Customer Is Always Right
We’ve all heard it – the customer comes first. While anglers enjoy landing fish, something they’re all looking for is great service.
As the great Maya Angelou said: “People will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” This is particularly true in the charter fishing business. What makes a great fishing trip isn’t the reward, it’s the experience customers have with captains.
A shining example of what a difference great customer service can make is Captain Brad Turner from SeaPlay Sportfishing in Galveston, Texas. Capt. Brad caters to his customers first and foremost, and the 46 5-star reviews he got last year are a testament to his unwavering commitment.
As Jordan found out back in May, Capt. Brad goes above and beyond to make his customers’ wishes come true.
“Now I understand how his reviews previously posted by others are outstanding,” said Jordan. “The only way to have so much positive feedback is dedication, personality, experience, and work ethic.”
Jordan went on to say: “Thank you again for the experience of a lifetime! I will never forget this experience and my first Shark!” There’s hardly a better feeling than knowing you gave an excited customer the adventure of a lifetime.
A Little Competition Never Hurt Anyone
Everyone deserves a bit of fun after staying at home for months. Tournaments are the time to let your hair down – and winning a few prizes never hurts! This story comes to us from Captain Shane Trottier with Whatever Turns U On Fishing Charters in Grant-Valkaria, Florida.
He participated with his son in the 2020 Central Florida Shootout. They didn’t get the big Red Snapper prize, but Capt. Shane’s son won 1st place in the Junior Angler Offshore category. He also won 2nd place for the biggest Dolphin weighing 21.6 pounds!
“I have to admit I had a few tears come down when he walked up on stage, just one of those proud dad moments,” says Capt. Shane.
For Captain Phillip Loughlin from Katfish Kayak and Fishing Adventures, entering tournaments is a matter of tradition.
“No charters this weekend, as I took my brother and cousin aboard to fish the East Coast Got Em On King Mackerel Classic. This is the only tournament we currently fish since it’s sort of become a tradition for us.”
They landed a 38.6-pound Kingfish within a mile of the beach on a frozen cigar minnow. This bad boy earned them 6th place overall, and 1st place for the Single Engine class!
Healthy Fish Are Happy Fish
We love our fisheries and the freedom and beauty they provide us with. But how do we make sure these stunning waters stay healthy for the next generation? Peter Krahn from Fraser Legends Fishing seems to know the answer!
Take a look at a special September day on the water in Vancouver, Canada, when Bob, an Afghanistan veteran, treated his friend Steve to a day of Sturgeon fishing. They had the time of their lives, as Peter wrote:
“Bob brought along his medals and told us what he had been through and this trip would turn out to be an important part of his healing process. Steve had only fished for smaller Bass or Walleye in eastern Canada and had no idea what would happen when his rod went into its first bend. I warned them both that I was not responsible for chiropractor or physio appointments after a day of Sturgeon fishing…was that ever a good thing!”
They caught an impressive 6’10’’ Sturgeon, which pulled off not one, but three classic Sturgeon leaps in a row! In the end, they landed nine out of 18 Sturgeons on the trip.
What makes wholesome trips like this possible? One part of the answer is the conservation work that anglers like Capt. Peter do.
Most trips focus on catching the biggest fish possible, but Peter actually has a different aim on his winter trips – and for good reason! They catch the smallest fish possible to get more information on this population. And when fish ranging from 5.5–6 feet turn up, that’s hardly a disappointment either!
Anglers in this community work hard to keep the delicate ecosystem thriving. It’s what makes it possible for these prehistoric creatures to be enjoyed for generations to come! And to quote Peter:
“Enjoy the time on your computer couch surfing, but you could also be Sturgeon fishing!”
What a Year!
And there you have it, folks! Another year is behind us, and it was an unusual one at that. What can we learn from it? Providing great customer service, perfecting our craft, and being proactive will always pay off.
What can you do to make sure you have an amazing 2021? Share your stories in fishing reports. Get verified if you haven’t, polish up your listing, and watch those bookings come in. Here’s to a successful new year!