When the boat next to you isnít sailing thatís a recession and when you arenít sailing thatís a depression and right now things are pretty depressing for the Montauk charter fleet. Friday and Saturday are always the busiest days (Sunday traffic scares a lot of people) and when I made my early morning check this past weekend there were a couple of boats still tied up that shouldnít have been. And this is August, normally the busiest month when most of the established boats would normally be sailing every day unless they were blown out. And now, most are lucky to get in four to five trips a week.
I run a charter service and most of my calls come after potential clients have gotten tired of calling boats only to find out they are booked. Back in the early spring I was getting inqueries which is very unusual so I thought that this would be a better year than last year, which was a pretty poor one. But I guess as all the poor economic news developed, people started to change their minds about how they were going to spend their $$$.
Now most of my calls are from individuals looking to join in with others on a shared charter, which we used to call a ďsplitsĒ until they became extinct. Years ago when I started out splits were very common and all the old timers remember Tumaís Tackle Shop where Mrs. Tuma would coordinate things. Youíd hang around in front of the shop until she would call you and give you six anglers to take out. Nowadays there is no central booking agency where that can be done. All the charterboats are getting calls from singles or doubles that want to join up with some others on a trip, and undoubtedly every day at least one trip could be put together.
As I always say when I hear guys moaning and groaning about the business; ďIt could be worse, I could own a boatĒ.
As for the fishing, you could check back with last weeks report. Itís pretty much the same. There are a good amount of makos around and if you go sharking you will probably catch - and release - one. Tuna fishing is nothing to get excited about. On an overnighter you will probably catch a couple of yellowfin and maybe a bigeye, but what is considered a good catch these days would have been considered a poor one a couple of years ago. Inshore striper fishing is still tough and Southwest Ledge isnít looking as good as it was. Bottom fishing is good for porgies and sea bass and OK for fluke.
Iím trying to get a forum up and running. It only deals with Montauk. If you fish here, check it out at http://www.montauksportfishing.com/mtkforum.html and contribute. It wonít work if Iím the only one posting. Let everyone know where you fished, when and what you caught. Or ask questions. Whatís the down side? NONE.