Whenever we leave Avalon we load the boat with any of the stuff that we will need overtown. Yesterday, we went to the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach, however, I brought my snow skis with me, a bad sign.
The Fred Hall Show in Long Beach is an annual rite of passage for many anglers. It marks the opening of the fishing season and has become the go to event to get the gear and tackle that will be needed for the upcoming wide-open bites.
I assembled my crew and boarded Catallac for the run to Long Beach and a visit to the show on closing day. This is strategic, at least in our minds. We believe that the booth folks will be ready to drop prices and let some gear go rather than haul it back to their cars when they break down the show.
Our primary targets are the consumables. In the charter business, some of what we consider consumables are obvious; hooks, lures, weights, Sabikis and line. However, these are not the only items that get consumed in the course of a season.
Rods, reels and sometimes outboard motors are on our Fred Hall shopping list. We did not find the right outboard, but we did snag a good number of rods and have set up purchase of a new model reel coming out in July.
In addition to the consumables, there are changes in the business each year that require spending. Sometimes those changes are climatic, such as last year. We had a warm water event (El Nino) bring the tropical pelagic fish into our zone and had to gear up for that.
None of us were ready for the Wahoo that showed up. The Blue Fin Tuna stuck around long enough for everybody to gear up, but the tactics changed a number of times over the course of the season resulting in new gear requirements.
Yes, we now have a kite for fishing…and a kite rod, kite reel, etc. We may never see another chance to use these, but we are now ready.
Sometimes the changes are regulatory. Fisheries open and close, territories open and close, and restrictions get imposed or removed. If you do not have the latest GPS Charts showing the changes, beware, the cost for violations are pretty steep. Better buy those electronic chart updates.
Sometimes the changes are actually in the customer, or more specifically, the customer segment that we may choose to target with our offerings. As I mentioned last week, we have decided to add a Guided Skiff Fishing service aboard MOBY for singles and couples.
We need to buy gear for this service.
Regardless of the boat, skiff or battlewagon, there are outfitting requirements; life jackets, safety equipment, rods, reels, tackle, gaffs, nets, etc. Suffice it to say that I made many a show vendor happy when I stopped by their booth.
I am pretty sure that most folks coming into the charter business would be shocked at the costs associated with providing a top-of-the-line fishing experience for customers these days, even on a small boat.
Hopefully, this will complete our hardware needs for this season, although I am certain that a new outboard is in the cards for Ahab and something else will happen that we will need to gear up for. Contingencies.
Whenever we cross the channel from Long Beach back to Avalon we load up with everything we cannot easily get here in Avalon. Usually this includes fuel, food and supplies.
We come back fully stocked from trips to Costco, Trader Joes, Whole Foods (cannot wait until the new Vons is built!) and West Marine. If we need a battery or other ‘hazardous shipment items’ such as safety flares, paint, zincs or oil, we will usually try to get it on board our own boat.
The title of this column is ‘Getting Ready…Early’. I mentioned that I brought my snow skis and boots overtown on this trip. It was not to put them away. It was to get them ready for another trip to Mammoth and some fantastic skiing. This is not so good for our Avalon economy.
Afishinados Charters is pretty much ready for the season to start here in Avalon, but as long as the skiing conditions remain excellent, it appears as though we might be ready too soon.
This week we have some pretty nice days forecast, and the weekend looks okay as well. Still, Mammoth has over 500 inches of snow. The local mountains are all open and operating.
In spite of the Fred Hall Show and regardless of how prepared we all might be, it looks like we might have a late start to our season. I figure if I am making plans for skiing, so are the folks that might usually be making plans to come visit Catalina.
Here is my suggestion for those of you who wants to get this season rolling. Go fishing, catch stuff, and do not keep it a secret. Post photos everywhere. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and even the Post Office wall.
A raging Yellowtail bite, the presence of big White Sea Bass in the fish counts, even the indication of a good buildup of spawning squid are needed to get the attention back to fishing Catalina Island. It’ll happen, but it might be later than sooner this year.
By Capt. John King
Afishinados Charters and Catallac Tours – 888-613-7770 – email@example.com