By Captain Kevin Deerman
Running a sportfishing operation is a great way to make a living doing what we love to do. As captains, we get to fish and travel to new places, making many new friends along the way. As glamorous as this may sound, it also comes with many sacrifices. It can be tough on relationships whether it be with wives or girlfriends or family and friends. We spend a lot of time away from home, and even when we are home, we have no set 9-5 days or weekends off. For anyone out there thinking of pursuing a career as a sportfishing captain, here are a few things that may be helpful to know as you plan your future.
1. Don’t try to jump up on the bridge too quickly. The more experience you gain as a mate, the better captain you will be. While the electronics we have today, and the many conveniences made possible by modern technology, it may look easy to go pretty much anywhere. When things arise—and they always do, nothing beats experience.
2. Always work hard. Even when the owner isn’t around, other captains and crews recognize good work ethics. They may be the one recommending you for your next job.
3. Keep good daily logs. Good work logs, fish logs and cruising logs not only help you stay organized but also keep a record for any questions the boss may have. Good logs are also appealing to potential buyers, should the boat be listed for sale at a later time.
4. Help others out when possible. Anytime you can help other crews, be it with an extra hand, spare parts, fishing or travel knowledge, etc., doing so is a good idea. Not only will they always be more than happy to reciprocate in the future, but you never know when you might need a hand yourself.
5. Have good communication with the owner. Staying in touch with the boss keeps everyone on the same page and prevents any surprises from coming up. It’s always better to deal directly with the owner versus going through one or two other people.
6. Always stay humble. There are many great captains and talented fishermen in our business. For those humble enough to ask, these are great sources of perspective who would gladly give advice and answer any questions.
7. Try not to jump around too much. If you are interested in a certain program, do plenty of research beforehand and make sure it’s something that you will be able to commit to for a reasonable amount of time.
8. Be safe. The captain’s job comes with a lot of responsibility not only for the safety of a multimillion-dollar boat, but most importantly, your passengers and crew.
– That’s the report from Texas!