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Reservations on Charter Boats?? (for specific spots)

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  Discussion Boards > Partyboat Fishing
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Joined: 09/27/2008
Posts: 264
Location: Queens, NY
 posted 10/30/2013 11:34 AM  

I had lined up for the boat yesterday morning (bright and early) to try and get a spot towards the front (I like being able to cast a little). Waited online for 20 minutes, then when we started to board was advised that the front spots (about 10 on the port and starboard side) were all- Reserved. What gives? End result I left and went to the boat I went on last time (I like to switch it up when possible and experience each boat).
I have never heard of reserving a specific spot on the boat, and thought it was very unfair to the people that were there waiting at 5:45 in the morning (for a 7am trip). Least they could have done was tell us a head of time so we could have gotten a good spot on another boat, or set their reservations in the middle of the boat. I have fished the boat and have nothing bad to say about them, great captain and crew and always try their hardest, but this reservation thing really got to me.
Any opinions?

This post edited by CaptPaul 12:09 PM 10/30/2013

Joined: 10/15/2013
Posts: 11
 posted 10/30/2013 11:49 AM  

I understand completely. The same thing happened to me and a buddy. We got there nice and early and wanted the back of the boat. We were told some guys got there at about 5am and put their poles in position at the back and took up the entire back. we were disappointed but stayed and fished and had a decent day( no keepers but a few blues). I agree with the very good captain and EXCELLENT crew. NOTHING bad to say about Captain or crew, in fact if I can say this without hurting anyone's feelings, I think Mike (cutter) and Brian are the two best crew members I have EVER had the pleasure of sailing with. That reservation system is garbage.

Joined: 08/20/2008
Posts: 11833
Location: Bayside
 posted 10/30/2013 12:22 PM  

Wait so you can call and make these "reservations" and have them pick your spot in advance? I thought these were "open boats" Confused Or is there some type of customer favoritism? That would make me unhappy and not want to fish that boat. Just my opinion and thoughts.

In Apple We Trust.
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Is there anything better then fishing? DOUBT IT!
CaptPaul Club Member

Fisheries Management
Partyboat Fishing

Joined: 09/09/2002
Posts: 6044
 posted 10/30/2013 12:28 PM  

I edited out the boat name. No real relevance in the discussion.

Anyways, I had the same issues in my business, but to an extreme level. We carried some very dedicated fishermen. Dedicated to fishing, and to the position on the boat that they fish. It is a tough thing to balance, you see. On the one hand, you want to serve those clients that fish with you frequently, because they spend a lot of money with you. Most people agree that when they become a frequent patron of any business, they feel they deserve some level of special treatment. I know I do. On the other hand, you want to encourage clients, both regulars and new comers, to get to the boat early, and get on.

Add in a couple of other factors. In a port where there is competition, and even these days when the internet has brought everyone right next door, so to speak, it is very attractive for a business to lock in a client by selling them a ticket in advance, the evening before, or even days. To do this, there needs to be an incentive, and reserving a spot may be that. The other incentive could be a discount, but that is all too common, and sometimes a few dollars isn't good incentive to lock in a client.

However, when fishing is good, it is easy for every good spot on a boat to be reserved days ahead of time. If no reservations are accepted, it can cause sticky situations, with people getting there at the wee hours of the morning, causing legal issues about boarding without crew, people moving rods while other people that set them up are sleeping in their cars, and so forth. Then we run into the question of when it is proper to line up, or set up for the trip. In my instance, it got to the point where clients were meeting the boat at the dock on Friday afternoon, to set up rods for Saturday morning. Maybe that's acceptable? I don't know. How about doing that, but there's an evening trip in between? Then the crew takes them down for the trip, and puts them back up for the chosen trip. Gray area, to say the least.

Anyway, without throwing out additional scenarios, there is a very tenacious set of contentions here. it is much like a boat's pool for the heaviest fish. That said, each boat needs to have it's own policy on this issue, it needs to be clear and concise, and it needs to be available to any client that asks about the procedure. As long as the rules are clear and cover everything, and are available, then you cannot ask for anything more. The reason that so many different boat survive in this industry, is because they each have different rules and methods of operation, which intends a personality. If you come to disagree with the personality of an operation, try another.

In my case, we were certainly conflicted in trying to serve everyone fairly, and it was difficult given the high demand. Ultimately, we made a simple set of rules, and stuck to it. The only way you could reserve a spot on a trip, was if you were a patron on the same, preceding trip. That is, if you were on the full day ocean boat on Friday, you could pick a spot on the full day ocean trip on Saturday, regardless of evening trips. Otherwise, people were allowed to board the boat before the trip, and take a spot of their choice.

Joined: 08/02/2002
Posts: 1183
 posted 10/30/2013 12:55 PM  

So many different operations handle this differently. Pretty much boycotted a real producer on the South Shore that I had patronized for over a decade because they had a stack of cut down half rods that they kept just to reserve spots. On the North Shore, I have had my rods moved by a latecomer because I was in his spot! Then again I used to book a room at Montauk, go out at 2am, cable tie a POS outfit into a holder and go back to the room. In RI, I see my fellow NYers sit at the dock for 8 hrs guarding their spots, in Hyannis, they do this running of the bulls thing that is fair unless you are old, I remember sprinting to the boat with 3 rods in hand, in NH, I have seen guys pull the lines to get the boat close enough to drop a rod in. It gets really stupid, and all I can say it find a boat that suits your nature.

Joined: 09/27/2008
Posts: 264
Location: Queens, NY
 posted 10/30/2013 06:11 PM  

I appreciate the responses and input on this topic.

My main issue, I guess, is not so much that they "reserved spots" but as captpaul said, its not letting people know this, or posting it on the website and being transparent
This boats have never "reserved spots" before, so to all of a sudden change their "policy" with nobody knowing except the people that made the reservation is frustrating to say the least, as I certaintly would have like to have an extra hour of sleep.
I also understand the "regular" mantra and a few years back was a "regular" (although not on the boat at issue). Now, I would say I come down to the port over a dozen times a year and I bring people with me, while this in does not necessary equate to regular status anymore, I still enough money down to these boats.
As a regular, or not, people need to be treated fairly. When you are used to the normal routine of lining up early, then the system changes you feel screwed in the end. For boats where this is custom and well known to have a running of the bulls, or spots saved, while I do not encourage it, I understand its how it is, but that is NOT how this port has ever worked (as far as I know, except for a few select anglers that may get a spot saved for them, which is much different that 15-20 spots).
I agree with it being a great incentive, but the incentive needs to be known for anglers to take advantage of it, trust me if I could have paid the night in advance and picked my seat (like when booking an airplane ticket), I would have done it in a second and showed up 5 minutes before sailing.

This post edited by Hunt n' Fish 06:42 PM 10/30/2013

Joined: 09/05/2005
Posts: 1028
Location: City Island, Bronx
 posted 10/30/2013 06:24 PM  

As a mate...

All I can say is that on most of the Open Party Boats I have worked on its first come, first serve. Bottom line. End of story. There is nothing worse then people walking on the boat 15 minutes before we are about to leave complaining about how there are no "good spots" left. Obviously, this doesn't apply to you. You were probably there before the crew. Lol/JK. Just curious, has this happened to you in the past on this same boat?

AKA the CiTy IsLaNd KiD

Joined: 08/27/2001
Posts: 1346
Location: Moriches Bay
 posted 10/30/2013 06:26 PM  

Reserving spots

I never heard of reserving sots. I think its a crock of bull cocky. If these guys want a good spot on the boat, get there early!

Joined: 09/27/2008
Posts: 264
Location: Queens, NY
 posted 10/30/2013 06:34 PM  

name of the boat

This has never happened to me before on this boat or any other boat at the port.
While I will leave it to the moderators discretion whether to leave name of the boat in question, I think it is important for people to know which boat it is, as I would hate to have them line up and have the same thing happen to them - could have really ruined my day if I had gotten stuck midship on that or another boat (again spot may not make a difference for catching and many say it don't matter but I like the front where generally the dedicated fisherman willing to get up early, like myself, are and who know how to work together and avoid tangles and have fishing etiquette. Fish or no fish I don't know like to be stressed out).
Again the boat at isue is a great boat besides this issue and I am wondering/hoping someone from the boat will tune in, maybe I am missing something.

This post edited by Hunt n' Fish 06:43 PM 10/30/2013
Hunt n' Fish Club Member

Boating Angler
General Fishing Forum
Posted Reports

Joined: 04/11/2001
Posts: 11014
Location: Holbrook, NY
 posted 10/30/2013 06:48 PM  

Imjus4u2nv wrote:

Again the boat at issue is a great boat besides this issue and I am wondering/hoping someone from the boat will tune in, maybe I am missing something.

Thank you for respecting the site rules that no mentioning of boat names for such complaints. is not the "court" where these issues should be addressed by the boat, with an anonymous complainant. It would be best for you to have addressed this issue with the captain at the time it occurred. Not in front of everyone on the WWW. Even now, after the fact, it may be worth your effort to express your feelings to the owner of the boat and allow him to address if for the future or "make it right" with you.


President, RAIBS
Recreational Anglers against Internet BS

Joined: 05/28/2003
Posts: 3063
Location: Shinnecock
 posted 10/30/2013 07:08 PM  

Personally, I very rarely, if ever, fish party boats.
But if I did, and was in a spot that did not produce due to drift, position of the boat, etc and other spots were bailing them left and right, I would be pissed and never give any captain another dime of my $$ to watch other people catch fish. Do people really act as if they own a particular spot the entire day with no respect to anybody else??


Joined: 08/27/2001
Posts: 1346
Location: Moriches Bay
 posted 10/30/2013 07:23 PM  

Chinacat wrote:

Do people really act as if they own a particular spot the entire day with no respect to anybody else??

IF I got to the boat early enough to get a prime spot(like the stern) and I'm bailing in the fish I would not feel obligated to give it up and move some where else.
Captneilf Club Member

Fishing Rods
Posted Reports

Joined: 08/14/2000
Posts: 10313
Location: Sayville, NY 11782
 posted 10/30/2013 08:09 PM  

Nothing new under the sun.

Buyer beware. Fore armed is fore warned.

I heard of this operation out in California. The pieces the boat anchored on were small. The rail had sections painted in different colors with numbers within. I am told that every 20 minutes or so the captain would announce that it was time for everyone to move to the next color and your number. This way you got to fish each area of the boat.

You can decide if this is fair or politically correct.

A solution is charter a 6 pak.

Yes, it stinks to be on a part of the boat that is not catching, it happens. Get on a boat that is not crowded so you can move around.

Now you know why I always liked to operate a drift boat.

Capt Neil

Custom Fishing Rods  
The Long Islander Series


Joined: 08/27/2001
Posts: 1346
Location: Moriches Bay
 posted 10/30/2013 08:14 PM  


I propose that we do this while anchoring on a piece. If your bailing in the fish, pull anchor and let someone else less fortunate anchor on your spot.surprise

Joined: 12/14/2003
Posts: 8943
 posted 10/30/2013 08:24 PM  

I never fish the stern..rarely the bow....I prefer midship because its close to the cabin...but FISHSCALE swears I like to be on top of the fishfinder...but it just aint soShades
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