Captain John reports that the Tautog fishing was improving this past weekend. We had excellent catches of Tautog on Black Friday with a light crowd and beautiful conditions. The weekend prior had poor results due to very crowded wrecks. Captain John and mate Captain Bob finished out 2020 on a high note. The Sea Star III with Captain Chuck and Captain Mike is continuing into the winter on weekends. If you still want to fish in 2020, check out seastarfleet.com. Scroll down for photos from our last trips and updates for the winter and spring at the Miss Chris.
We are finished for the 2020 season. The Miss Chris boats have been in business since 1973 and this is by far the most difficult season on record for us as well as all other businesses. When we went around the room on Thanksgiving and asked each other what we are thankful for, we all took a pause and thought about this strange and trying season. I said was thankful for being able to have a season, while so many other businesses struggled throughout 2020, we were allowed, as an outdoor activity, to fish and enjoy the beautiful weather that 2020 served up.
I am thankful for our amazing crew who stepped up to meet a challenge, unlike anything they had ever encountered in their lives. Instead of being fearful of a virus, they doubled down on protection, cleaning, and acceptance of every level of angler that was aboard whether you were a naysayer or someone who is high risk and everyone in between. They did their best with what we had to work with given the circumstances and I, as the owner, are forever in their debt for this new, extreme level of service.
I am so thankful for our amazing customers of which there were so many in 2020. Whether you are a regular, or a newcomer, a fisherman or fisher-woman, fisher-kid or fisher teenager, all our patrons who came out in 2020 deserve a round of applause and a heartfelt thank you! When we contemplated what this season would look like in April, we had no clue what to expect and some experts told us to be prepared to be off by 60-80%. Fortunately, those preliminary reports were wrong. We utilized our reduced capacity and spread folks out as best we could. Some days were still very busy and for the most part, few complained. We learned a lot about the quality of our customers who wanted to get out on the water, enjoy the awesome weather and catch a few fish. We realize a few folks were not back in 2020 and we understand. We look forward to brighter days in 2021 and more space aboard for you, your friends and family, and all future fishers who enjoy Cape May and fishing.
With Thanksgiving wrapping up and Christmas around the corner, we intend to take advantage of any remaining good weather in 2020 to start our projects aboard the Miss Chris. If you have been following us for a bit now, since new management in 2015, we have upgraded the original boat, the Lady Chris, repowered her with a new Detroit Diesel. Then we purchased the second vessel, a newer boat, fiberglass, and wood and we repowered her with new John Deere engines. Then in 2018, we purchased our current vessel, an aluminum 70 footer that needed everything. We have repowered her with new 650hp John Deere Engines and Twin Disc Transmissions, electronic controls, new shafts, new props, new tanks, and all new electrical as well as gutted the pilothouse and upgraded all systems and electronics. In 2019 we removed 30 feet of bottom plate, several frames, and reconstructed the vessel’s fuel tank system, piping and upgraded her bilge pump and fire fighting equipment.
2020-2021 are no different for the Miss Chris crew. As good as the ship looked in 2020 and as well kept Captain Mike, Captain Bob, Captain John, Christian and Sam kept the boat in 2020, she still has room for improvement. We are adding five feet to the transom of the boat. This new extension will open up more space for social distancing as well as more area at the aft end of the vessel for seating, rod storage, restroom improvements, and a better access to the upper deck for safer conditions in many ways. This has been on our wishlist for a bit and we know it is needed. Other improvements include air conditioning and heat which are installed now ready for use in 2021. We will also be upgrading our seating inside the cabin, improving cushions, tables, paneling, hatches, windows, Television, and our entire snack bar area. We will be adding catering services for 2021 charters.
Speaking of 2021 plans for trips and fishing, we have some updates. We intend to be back fishing in April 2021. We will start our season how we ended it, fishing for Tautog on weekends with Captain John Tighe. We are booking charters for the spring and fall and we will be updating our online charter pricing to reflect this. We plan to fish for Drumfish in 2021 starting in May with Captain John. These will be four-hour trips leaving at 6 PM. The cost is $55 each. You may also book this as a private charter. We will be offering a limited night trip schedule in 2021, with dates already available to book on the website. Captain Mike will be back in 2021 for our day trips along with Christian and Capt Bob and Sam. He will be targeting Sea Bass, Fluke, Kingfish, Bluefish, and Weakfish throughout the Summer with Captain John on our nights. We will be adding some offshore trips for Sea Bass, Tilefish, and other exotics on a limited basis in July, August, and the fall. We will be switching to eight of our trips during the week in October 2021 as Sea Bass and Tautog become available.
So that’s our plan. Stay tuned for updates on our website and our Facebook and Instagram pages as we upgrade the boat and enjoy the winter season here in Cape May. Once more, We are thankful for all of you this year and we cannot wait to see you in Spring 2021!
Captain Jeff and Leeann Stewart
and the whole Miss Chris Crew!