Captain Spotlight – Top Stories of 2021

Feb 2, 2022 | 7 minute read
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Just like 2020, last year had its fair share of challenges. Still, despite all the craziness, captains continued to go above and beyond for their guests, creating life-lasting memories along the way.

As we step into 2022, we take a look at some of the most impressive and heartwarming stories that captains and customers shared with us. Here they are!

The Customer Is Always Right

Striking a balance between customers’ expectations and fishing reality isn’t always easy, but when done right, it makes all the difference. 

Top customer service is constantly honed and improved, and there are charter captains who strive to be better with every trip they run. Their professionalism, vast fishing knowledge, and ability to adapt to their clients’ needs don’t go unnoticed.

When you’ve got all these characteristics in one place, you know that the service is going to be impeccable. Captain Marc Kennedy with Reel Nice Charters is relatively new on the FishingBooker platform, but his customers have only good things to say. 

A charter captain in a hat and sunglasses holding a big Cobia

“If you know, you know. That is how I feel about Marc and his services. If you know, then you know what a great find Marc is and his guide services. Marc was nothing short of a professional… [He] is exceptionally knowledgeable about the area, the fish, the water, the ecosystems, and the culture within Key West… Marc essentially helped convert my wife into a fisherwoman. That is amazing and is a testament to how awesome Marc is as a guide.

And this is all from the same review! Dustin from Oklahoma ended the recommendation by saying: “If you want an exceptional fishing experience with a great, personable, and down-to-earth captain that you can respect then Marc is a REEL NICE choice.” When your customers are this wowed by your approach and mastery, you know you’re doing something right.

Great Catches, Great Memories

We all know the good old saying – It’s called fishing, not catching. And it’s definitely a motto to live by. However, when you’re fishing with professional guides, more often than not, there’s going to be a lot of catching. And some of those catches, well, they’re epic.

This spotlight feature takes us to the pristine waters of Zanzibar, Tanzania. Captain Zandré of Beach Bums Fishing took out a young couple for a day of deep sea fishing in these prolific fishing grounds. 

A view from the water of a big Sailfish caught, with a man leaning from the boat to hold it

Little did they know that they’d be coming face to gills with the monster Sailfish you see in the photo. Alen and his girlfriend were over the moon because of their trophy Sail. As an additional bonus, the day’s catch was given as charity to a local school!

In the nearshore waters closer to home – in Cape Charles, VA to be precise – the action has been just as awesome. In his report from May, Captain Jeff Fackett with It’s a Shore Thang shared a fantastic catch his customer, Stu Lind, brought on board. It was an absolutely massive Black Drum, weighing 108.5 pounds – only 2.5 pounds shy of the state record! If you don’t believe us, just feast your eyes on this.

Two anglers standing on a boat, holding a trophy Black Drum

In the World of Tournaments

Fishing tournaments are always exhilarating, and if you’ve got a strong competitive streak, then the sky is the limit. Whether you’re in it for the prizes or glory, participating in tournaments will provide that adrenaline rush you’re looking for. Here are some guides that showed us how things are done.

Captain Larry Sydnor from Islamorada reported the enormous success of his customer, Betsy Bullard, who became a triple champion of the Herman Lucerne Memorial Backcountry Fishing Championship. Betsy took home the award for the Best Female Guided Angler – she was the General Division winner and she caught the largest Snapper in the championship. Talk about a triple crown!

A charter captain and his customer accepting an award on a fishing tournament

Our next story takes us to Puerto Vallarta. In mid-November, Team Macarela of PV Hook Up came in second in the International Fishing Tournament Marlin & Sailfish. All this happened thanks to a giant 422 lb Marlin they fought and wrangled onto the boat. The team also landed a Sailfish that granted them an overall third place in the category. A great success, and one worth celebrating!

A winning fishing crew photographed on a dock with their catch behind them

These are just a few of the highlights from the tournament circuit, but definitely not all of them. We’ve also got winners from the Lake Erie Walleye Tour Tournament, the first-place crew in the International November Fishing Tournament Manzanillo, and so much more.

Conservation & Fishing Go Hand in Hand

There’s no overstating how important it is to cultivate healthy fisheries that will allow us and future generations to enjoy excellent angling for many years. Education and understanding of the best fishing practices is more important than ever, and Captain Andrew Hammond knows it better than most.

Capt. Andrew is a Florida-native Striper aficionado, who currently runs trips on Lake Lanier, GA. He’s very passionate about sustainable fishing, so in May, he attended a course offered by the University of Florida and Wildlife Conservation Commission called “Florida Friendly Fishing Guides.” The course takes an in-depth look into the best conservation practices charter guides can adopt. According to Andrew:

To assist in keeping our clients healthy and happy, and to preserve sustainable fishing habits for future generations, we anglers must ensure that we follow the best practices when out on the water… 

I believe our conservation efforts as anglers are one of the most important values and practices where we can all do better. We should educate our fellow anglers and clients as part of the daily fishing experience we offer. There is more to it than just putting fish in the box.

A smiling charter guide holding a big Striped Bass, standing on his boat

It’s this kind of dedication to the health of our fisheries that makes a difference in the long run. By learning something new during the course, Capt. Andrew will be able to share his insights with his customers, who can, in turn, pass it on.

There’s no shortage of conservation stories, like this one from British Columbia, and this review highlighting the importance of Amber Sharks. 

Most Reviewed Charters in 2021

Finally, it’s time to cast our spotlight on the captains who got the most 5-star reviews. Impeccable service, dedication to their customers, and a constant desire to do and be better set these charter captains apart and they’ve got the stars to prove it!

Coming in First Place…

With a whopping 246 stellar reviews, Wet Lines Charters from Clearwater, Florida deservedly take first place as the most reviewed service in 2021. 

Unforgettable times on the water, great catches, and personable service are just a few of the praises you’ll find in the reviews time and again. Mindy from Tennessee and her family loved their time on the water with Capt. Zack and here’s why.

Review of Wet Lines Charters

Nick, captain of Wet Lines Charters’ other boat, got his share of reviews, too, by making his guests’ wishes come true as only he knows how. Check out how he organized an unforgettable day for Daniel and his son.

Just from these couple reviews, it’s not hard to understand why Capt. Zack and his charter service made it to the top of the list. Putting your customers first and going the extra mile always pays off.

Next in Line…

Next in line, with 217 reviews is Captain Herb Rosenberg of Fins Up Adventure Charters. Running his trips out of Hilton Head Island in South Carolina, Capt. Herb has earned the title of a legend among his customers. 

He single-handedly organizes all excursions, generously shares his knowledge of the area, and makes sure everyone has an amazing time. Here’s how Herb made sure Robyn and his grandchildren got everything they hoped for and more.

Capt. Herb is a one-man show, but that doesn’t stop him from providing the best possible service to his clients. Whether it’s a bachelor party, a Shark trip with a couple of teachers, or kid-friendly fishing, it looks like Herb can do it all – and his customers love it.

And the Third Finalist Is…

Our third most-reviewed captain comes from West Palm Beach. With no less than 171 reviews, Captain Daniel Crowley with Bulldog Fishing Charters takes his place in stardom. 

Throughout the year, Capt. Dan and his first mate, Nick, have gone above and beyond to put anglers of all ages on great fish, and their success and dedication shine through in the reviews. This seasoned angler claims he had the best fishing experience of his life thanks to Capt. Dan’s sense of humor and expertise.

Both experienced fishermen and novices have been impressed by Capt. Dan’s skill to put them on the bite within minutes. Patience, expertise, and understanding customers’ needs all proved to be just as important. From the looks of it, Capt. Dan and Nick offer it all and more!

Ready for 2022?

As you can see, 2021 had plenty of success stories and adventures on the fishing front of life. Sure, not everything was smooth sailing, but it rarely is! It’s up to you to make the most of the cards you were given, and that’s a comforting thought. 

It’s a new year, a new chance to be the best that you can be, and there’s no better time to start than right now. If you need a bit of inspiration, here are some tips on maintaining a spotless fishing reputation and answers to all other questions you might have. May your 2022 be as successful as you dream it to be! 

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