As a final post on this charter business, I'm posting the email I sent over a month ago to Capt Cataldie and have never received a reply. So I'm assuming that he doesn't dispute what I wrote. I'm just trying to prevent anyone else that might be thinking of using this charter to do their due diligence first before committing. Buyer beware. The email is as follows:
Itís taken me a week to finally decide what I want to say and wanted to take a few minutes to review the charter trips we booked with you on June 15 & 16.
The inshore fishing was a definite bust where Capt Ronnie didnít know enough or care enough to reposition the boat to where the fish were. I definitely didnít appreciate having to work the trolling motor all day because he wouldnít anchor the bow. 7 rat reds for 4 people in 7 hours is not a real exciting story to tell the folks back home that might be thinking about coming down to Venice to fish. Weíve already discussed his hygiene, so Iím not going to belabor this point.
As for the offshore day of fishing, I have searched the internet for any reason that might be identified as to why you stopped the boat at 20 miles out thinking that the yellowfin were in shore!
So far, I canít come up with a valid reason!
As I stated when I booked the trip and also on the day of departure, that the one species all of us were eagerly looking forward to catching was yellowfin tuna! As a back-up, blackfin would have been ok.
We watched the other charter captions come into the Venice Marina on Sunday afternoon (the evening before our offshore trip) with good catches of mahi, red and mangrove snapper and large yellowfin. In speaking with the other captains that went out on Sunday (in even worse weather than we had on Monday), they stated that they were catching the yellowfin between 50 Ė 60 miles out. I fully expected you to know that and act on it accordingly. I know you fish bluewater quite often as this is your job, but those of us that travel quite a distance donít have that luxury. We are depending on a captain that will go to an extreme to make ours a trip that of a lifetime. I would have been embarrassed if I were you when the family next to us at the cleaning tables pulled up with fish that looked like they could eat ours as bait! 4 peanut dolphin and 3 mangrove snapper is not a real banner day to brag about!
I know that catching fish canít be guaranteed, but fishing where they are NOT will guarantee you wonít catch!
I also researched the statement you made that red snapper were out of season because you were a charter captain. That is totally incorrect. The red snapper season is closed in federal waters outside the 9 mile limit. Inside the 9 mile, inside LA state waters, the season is open and 2 fish measuring at least 16 inches are legal. You might want to look at the modified regs on the LA Dept of Wildlife and Fisheries.
Now for the actual trip, I canít believe a professional charter captain would ever:
ē Show up late for a charter where the boat is not already prepped and ready to go.
o The departure time was supposed to be 6 am. Not 7 after you showed up 10 minutes late, gassed up the boat, got everything stored, washed the sand off the deck,Ö
ē Not have backup items on the boat in case something went overboard. (I canít believe that we had to use a pocket knife to cut chum because you didnít have a fish knife on the boat!)
ē With 4 paying passengers onboard, how many bean bags seats would you think youíd need? Certainly not just 2!!!!!
ē When a fish is hooked and the customer is reeling it in, I would never expect any captain to take the rod away from the paying customer (unless the customer asks to be relieved) because the captain feels it might be a record mangrove snapper on the line. This happened to me and I was more than just mildly pissed about it.
ē If you look at the email below where you stated your inshore and offshore prices, youíll see where you quoted a discount of $$$$ for offshore and $$$ for inshore from the base prices of $$$$$ & $$$$ respectively. I didnít appreciate you not having the figures you quoted readily available on an invoice once we got back to shore.
Iím trying to explain to all the folks back home that knew we were coming to Venice to catch tuna and redfish, that picking the wrong captain can make what should have been an epic adventure into what I am now calling a totally epic disaster.
Please do not look to me or anyone in my party to give a favorable review of our charter experience with your company. Hopefully youíll take some of what I stated to heart and try to better your service.