Hubbard's Marina / Beware
for those of you that would care to go deep sea fishing in the St Petersburg, Florida area I want to share an experience with you that was so unbelievable that I felt it necessary to post a complaint somewhere. There is a fishing company called Hubbard's Marina on Johns Pass.
I was on vacation from NH for a week with my fiance in St Petersburg and wanted to experience deep sea fishing since I have been a long time enthusiast in my area along the Atlantic north east. I have fished most of my life, own my own boat and have been on countless charters. I have enough experience with fishing charters in order to make this comment about this fishing company. So here goes.
First of all I was directed to them by a web search of fishing in the area. On the web site they have videos of fishing trips that show what to expect while fishing there. I must say that the fishing videos are a scam to say the least. They took videos of only the best fishing and exploited it as the norm. That in itself is not that bad.
But as the event of this experience unfolded I found it just another part of the arrogance that this company shows towards the public. About 3 days before the scheduled trip I called to get better information. They explained that they require a non refundable reservation in order to secure a place on the boat, normally this is not done do to the fact that weather is unpredictable, but as I was willing to take the chance I did do so. I went down to the Marina to speak with them directly. I asked how the fishing had been and they informed me that all people on the boat were catching their limit daily. This was a bit unbelievable but at least nice to hear that the fishing was good, as it turned out it was the worst fishing I have ever witnessed in 35 years of deep sea fishing. Now at the time of making the reservation they asked if I would like to get the meal plan and explained how they had a full galley and a grill on board in which they provided breakfast and lunch on the boat along with all the drinks and snacks for $14.00 per person. It sounded nice and I asked for what they would be serving and she told me that it changes daily but its well worth the price, and so I agreed for myself and my fiance. As it turned out, there was no grill on board the boat and there was no fully galley. What they offered for breakfast was a sandwich on a hamburger bun with an egg sausage patty and a slice of cheese. For lunch they made a hamburger on the same type of bun. All in all I was expecting something a bit nicer for the price. I could have brought my own snacks and lunch for half that price, but nonetheless it added to what I found to be a continuous arrogance and lying to the general public. Now the morning of the fishing trip I was greeted by a bunch of arrogant people that proceeded in talking to everone that would be on the fishing trip on a load speaker outside of the Marina like we were a bunch of convicts. They informed us that they would be searching all of our bags to make sure we did not have cell phones or other illegal contraband. I can understand to a limit why they would do that, however it was the way they talked to us as if we were already guilty. Her exact words were " Cell phones are not allowed on this boat and if they find any they will take them from us and we would not get them back and you know cell phones are expensive!"...They have a snotty arrogance about themselves and all of them treated us with the same disdain. Now I went to pick up our rental poles and the woman that handed out the poles had another rude comment for me. She said " You better take good care of these or else I will charge you $200.00 for each of them, remember I have your credit card info."
I felt really funny about even boarding this boat after this was transpiring and probably would have if I had known the way they would treat people. I asked the cashier for some change for a $20 dollar bill so I could get a couple of fishing rags from a gentlemen selling them outside. The lady at the cashier took my $20.00 and then walked over to the register grabbed the change and then instead of walking back to me where I met her on one side of the counter she stood there around the corner where the cash register was located and without a word just looked at me and held her arm out, as if to indicate she would not even make any attempt at handing me my change unless I walked around the corner and got it from her, I couldn't believe the arrogance.
Now comes the good stuff, as we finally leave the dock the captains staff comes out to explain the trip to us. Here is the discussion almost word for word. "My name is so and so and I will be among the mates on board this boat. I work for only $40.00 per day. This is a 12 hour fishing trip and that does not even cover my babysitter. We work for tips on the boat and what I expect is a tip from all of you, the way I have it figured out is that you should pay us $2.00 per hour that we are on the boat. However today I am offering you a special of only $20.00 per person on the boat. We will be by later on to pass around a tip jar for you to put in your contributions." My jaw dropped and I was in awe at this. I have never seen such arrogance. But as the story goes it gets even worse. I have been fishing on charters for most of my life and this is not a standard practice at all. The mates pay should be taken out of the trip price. As it was it was $90.00 per person for the trip, live bait was $7.00 per dozen, pole rental was $7.00, and the meal plan was $14.00
so with my fiance and I it was $239.00 and now after we are on the boat the mate is demanding more money. I must add that on party boat charters this is not common practice. This boat had 50 passengers on board which would equate to an extra $1000.00 for the 2 mates on board. On the website and during the process of putting a deposit down for the trip, at no time was it even suggested that this was to be expected, it was only after the boat left the dock and we were on our way was this disclosed. But it was the arrogance of how these people operate that made this whole trip feel as if we were prisoners on board the trip to hell.
So now we are on the boat and on our way I began talking to some of the passengers on the boat that went on to tell me some horror stories about previous trips with this company. One which stood out in my mind was a passenger that took the meal plan on a previous trip. What they had for lunch was a meatloaf they had prepared. Almost everyone on the trip had this meal plan, so said the passenger. Come to find out the meatloaf was bad and everyone on the boat got food poisoning and became sick. I asked him what they did about it? And he informed me that they just said sorry? I asked him if they reimbursed everyone for the meal and he said no, they only offered an apology. I found that to be so arrogant that they felt they could poison people on board and thought that an apology was the only solution they needed to offer. So glad I wasnt on that trip. Anyways.
Between my fiance and myself we were able to catch a whopping total of 3 fish all of which were just barely legal. A total of about 2.5 lbs of fillets. Some on the boat caught nothing and others caught only one fish.
Of 50 people on board the total catch was less than 40 lbs. that in itself was a disgrace. Now here comes the best part.
The mate comes around while we are on our way back in collecting his money. At the time he comes around with his jar I am outside having a conversation with another friend I had met on the boat. My wallet was inside my fishing bag inside the cabin. My friend and I said we would get them at the dock when we get back. I honestly did not even want to tip this person because of his arrogance but felt I would give them something when my fish were cleaned. So now comes the time at the dock. we get in and you go to collect your fish and the mates hand them out before you get off the boat. I told the mate my number for my string of a whopping 3 fish and he purposely ignores me. Then once again I ask him and he turns to me and says "you are the guy that didnt tip me and he ignores me again" I said to him that I would give him a tip at the dock when we get off the boat and he refuses to give me my fish holding them hostage until I give him a tip...
I can not believe this arrogance. Finaly the other mate gave me the fish and I went to hime to have the fish cleaned in which cost me an addition 8.00 dollars for 3 fish. I did end up tipping him. I wanted so badly to put this bully on the spot at the time but I bit my tongue as not to embarrass my fiance. But I decided to speak my mind on this forum so that the story could be told. From beginning to the end this was a fishing trip to remember. The total arrogance from the staff to the crew being totally obnoxious and crude to the poor service and experience I was left with such a bitter taste in my mouth. As it was my fiances first deep sea trip I am happy to say that she enjoyed a trip on the ocean and we did see dolphins, anything other than that was a serious disappointment and I felt as if I was treated very poorly as was most of the other passengers. Hubbard's Marina is a disgrace to the fishing industry as is all of their crew, the captain, the staff at the dock. Please feel free to contact me.