RECOVERY of the local fishing charter industry will require hard work, improved service and innovative thinking after the beating it has taken.
In the wake of the Whakaari/White Island eruption, Charles Care and Michelle Goodhew, owners of Charlie’s Fishing Charters, have come up with a recovery plan that harkens back to how fishing was done back in the day.
“I believe that there’s a niche market in Whakatane to take families out, not just to fish but to enjoy life and have fun as a family,” Mr Care said.
“We’re going back to where we started – back to what it was like when my dad was fishing.”
The idea grew from the fact that the couple enjoy spending quality time at sea with their own children.
“We love taking our kids fishing and it’s not always about how many fish we put in the bin but about giving them the whole Eastern Bay experience,” Ms Goodhew said.
They point out that this does not rule out providing a day of hard-out fishing for those looking for a week’s worth of fish feeds – and they know where to catch them.
Having operated out of the region for a while, Mr Care has returned to his Eastern Bay roots with his charter service.
“Charlie’s Fishing Charters is new, but I’ve lived here all my life – likewise with my second skipper – we grew up here together and the sea is in our blood,” he said.
Their intention is to offer families a service that can provide a wealth of new memories for children, while being a source of nostalgia for parents – as well as letting them all discover the natural beauty that can be found right here in their own backyard.
“There are so many of our young people who have never even been beyond The Heads,” Ms Goodhew said.
“We live in this magnificent area – with Moutohora and the seals, wonderful snorkeling and one of the biggest marine agriculture farms in the southern hemisphere at our doorstep.
“We know all these places and more that we can visit to make for an action-packed day.”
Mr Care said the beauty of what they offered was they could satisfy anybody’s expectations.
“We can cater to those who want to go out to fish their limit or those who want to limit their fish,” he said.
They said each customer was unique and would want an experience catered to their personal preferences. With their knowledge of what the Bay of Plenty had to offer they could plan voyages that gave customers the best possible value.
“We know about the history of the area and we can put all that into different packages that will suit different families,” Ms Goodhew said.
Mr Care knows that time away from home is time that can’t be replaced and wants to provide a service that helps families bond.
“I used to have to spend time away from my family and what I want to do is promote families being together,” he said.
“I enjoy life and the time I spend at sea because I respect the ocean and I’m at peace there. It’s my happy place and I like to share it with others.”