Running a charter fishing business and having a full time career as a charter captain can sometimes be like running a 3-ring circus. In Port Canaveral, our favorite part of the circus is the clown show. My fellow captains will know exactly what “the clown show” means. For everyone else… the day starts off as one of those days where nothing goes right no matter how hard you try. Throw some bananas in the mix and you have yourself a clown show. If I’m not making sense at this point, just keep reading, you’ll understand.
Our clown show comes complete with music and everything. When the clown show starts you will typically hear the VHF radio start playing DOOT DOOT DO DO DO DOOT DOOT DO DO from one of our ever so hilarious captains with there phone pressed against the mic. Then the VHF radio starts chiming in with throat clearings but that a entirely different story.
Catching bait is usually the beginning of our clown show. On most days, bait is flipping all around, we make one throw, and we have all we need. On the day of the clown show we will throw and throw and throw maybe getting 4 or 5 baits each throw. When we finally have just about enough bait, we will throw the net one more time and it will come up with hundreds of bait fish.
Oh yeah, and on days of the clown show, we will always have 6 passengers that are built like NFL line backers. They will bring 6 large coolers with enough beer and food to last a week. In addition, each person will have a bag with a spare set of clothes, towels, camera, sun screen, bug spray, books, sanitizing wipes, and an emergency stash of beef jerky. With all this on board, you now feel like you are in a actual clown car.
The next step in the clown show is chasing tail. Getting bait has now put us 3o minutes or so behind the other boats. The VHF radio starts chiming in “hey I’m catching a few here”. So what do we do? We go right to where the fish are biting and either we will watch the other guys catch them or they will magically stop biting. Just when we are about to move to another location, the rod will go off and “yay” we are hooked up. It never fails that the NFL player fighting the fish will do something that I could never prepare for. Sometimes they just put there thumb on the line to stop the fish and POW. Sometimes they manage to reel the reel right off the rod and POW. Or any of the other million crazy things that can happen will happen. We will hook another fish and we will have some type of equipment failure that makes our stuff now look like an actual clown prop. Then the next fish will get eaten by a barracuda. Then the next fish will run into the prop. Then the next fish will pull off the hook. Then the next one I will miss with the gaff shot some how. The list goes on and on.
However all this action will draw the attention of the full time clown show. The weekend warrior variety. They will straight line troll their pre-rigged ballyhoo right into us. Snagging all of our lines and making us completely re-rig. DOOT DOOT DO DO DOOT DOOT DO DO. We will all be laughing at this point because it has gotten so ridiculous it is all we can do. I will then ask “did anyone bring bananas?” They will say “yes we have a bunch do you want one?” We will talk about how bananas are bad luck while fishing and they will promptly throw them over the side.
Immediately we will hook up with a triple header and catch every fish that bites the rest of the day. The clown show doesn’t happen all that often but it is a real thing. If it happens on your day we will work through it and eventually make it to the big show and have an awesome grand finale. This is all part of what makes charter fishing life awesome. It is fun and a challenge to work with people of all kinds of fishing experience and all of the crazy situations that arise. It is my personal favorite to take someone to catch their first big fish. Every day is different and you can always expect the unexpected.
I LOVE my job clown show and all!