It happens to EVERY Charter Captain: The fishing is slow – very slow – and your clients are awkwardly silent. What do you do?
Set Expectations at the Dock
Before you even leave the dock – even when you speak to your client on the phone – you need to set expectations by telling the client that you don’t “guarantee” fish. Those captains that promise or guarantee fish on every trip are setting themselves up for failure on that dreaded day when the fish get lockjaw.
As a captain, what you CAN guarantee is that nobody will work harder than you to put your client on fish.
Keep Working Hard! Don’t Give Up!
We hardly need to remind you of this because you’re already working hard to put your clients on the bite. NOBODY wants your clients to get tight more than YOU. That being said, keep working hard and don’t give up. By the same token, don’t press or take unnecessary chances. Stick to your PLAN. Make it evident to your clients that you continue to do everything in your power to bring fish to the boat.
Keep the Clients Engaged
Until the fishing action picks up, you need to keep your clients engaged. You can do this in a variety of ways but the most effective way is to continue with conversations and point out things like landmarks, scenery, etc. After all, you are providing a charter EXPERIENCE. This often includes giving clients access to scenery and wildlife that they would never otherwise experience. For that matter, your clients may have never been aboard a boat before. This makes for an amazing experience in its own right.
What Else Can I Do to Keep the Client Happy?
- If the clients are on vacation or in from out-of-town, ask about their dining experiences and suggest restaurants that they will enjoy
- Point out amazing scenery or landmarks that encourage the clients to take pictures. This will enable your clients to add context to the trip…and allow them to brag to their friends and family when they return home
- If the clients are looking for entertainment while in town, discuss some recommendations of local attractions
- Make a point to discuss the feeding habits of your target species to include your clients in the plan of attack. Also, ask the clients to help you look for signs of activity – enlist their help
- Consider switching to a species that is more abundant, especially if junior anglers are on board. Boredom is your enemy when your clients include kids
Nobody leaves the dock expecting a slow bite but it’s wise to be prepared and have some backup plans just in case. At the end of the day, it’s all about keeping the client happy.