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Old 07-19-2021, 12:55 PM   #1
NaturalSelecto
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Catalina Charter Review

I went on a 3-day, 3-night Catalina Island spearfishing charter guided by Al Schneppershoff Jr this June. I was very unsatisfied with my experience. The cost was 4 figures for my portion. Here are the issues I had with Al’s charter:

• Clients are expected to pull and drop anchor by hand the entire trip. The
30’ boat does not have a winch. There was even a diver 60+ years of age
doing this deckhand work. Guide and Captain would not do this work.
This is unacceptable for a professional, high-cost charter.

• Al talked to me disrespectfully and unprofessionally on multiple occasions
during the trip:
o He called me “anchor boy”, and did stop when I made it clear I did not
like that.
o He asked all the clients what race their girlfriend/wife was.
o He told me I need to take spearfishing lessons because I had not shot
any fish by the 3rd day. Keep in mind that 3 other divers also went
home empty handed.

• Did not actively pursue fish. We continually went to the same locations
which had yielded no fish on previous days. Zero attempt was made to
try more productive locations.

• Charter was unlicensed. We were asked to “pretend we were all just
friends” because the boat was not authorized to run charters.

• 2 pieces of gear were badly damaged/destroyed:
o My float line got wrapped up in the propeller, after I had asked the
captain if it was safe to deploy my float. I spent 30 minutes diving
under the boat, trying to unwrap it until I was forced
cut it free, destroying the line. Captain did replace the line, but not the
integrated bungee.
o The butt of my custom wooden speargun was split while bouncing
around haphazardly on deck. The boat did not have a gun rack,
bungee system or a bin to safely store guns. Safe gun
storage is a basic necessity for a professional spearfishing boat.

• Price was changed upon arrival at the harbor, and I ended up overpaying
by $168.

I would not recommend this charter to anybody. It was unprofessional, and certainly was not worth the high price.
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Old 07-19-2021, 05:28 PM   #2
sidewazzz
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

yikes that sounds like a nightmare
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Old 07-20-2021, 09:34 AM   #3
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

Sounds like the Al jr special. Can’t recall ever hearing a positive experience with his guide services.
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Old 07-20-2021, 10:43 AM   #4
CaptainLeo
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

He's been doing this shit for years. I'm really surprised they haven't gottne somebody badly hurt or even killed. Can't believe nobody has called Coast Guard on them to stop them from running these trips. I've had a few people come on my trips tell me what a shit show those trips are. He kept hitting me up about doing spearfishing classes on my boat back when I was still running charters. Not too ure if he's allowed to go to Mexico anymore, heard more than a few horror stories about those trips down to Turtle Bay.
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Old 07-20-2021, 11:44 AM   #5
sidewazzz
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainLeo View Post
He's been doing this shit for years. I'm really surprised they haven't gottne somebody badly hurt or even killed. Can't believe nobody has called Coast Guard on them to stop them from running these trips. I've had a few people come on my trips tell me what a shit show those trips are. He kept hitting me up about doing spearfishing classes on my boat back when I was still running charters. Not too ure if he's allowed to go to Mexico anymore, heard more than a few horror stories about those trips down to Turtle Bay.
No disrespect.... but is it normal for other people/ captains in the industry NOT to make the call themselves? Considering the level of danger the sport brings in the first place it sounds like this guy is a known shit show and its only a matter of time someone gets seriously hurt or killed.

Last edited by sidewazzz; 07-20-2021 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 07-20-2021, 09:26 PM   #6
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

$40K fine for operating without a Captain’s license. Even having people pitching in (which is to be expected) can constitute a violation.
I hate to be the one setting those kind of vicious dogs on someone.

I think the fact that you posted here is great-
Buyer beware!!!
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Old 07-20-2021, 11:13 PM   #7
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

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Old 07-21-2021, 02:38 PM   #8
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

They have busted a few unlicensed charter boats here in Florida. I'm sure the LAW monitors this site and other sites. Just a matter of time. You can make a call and speed up the clock.
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Old 07-21-2021, 11:37 PM   #9
CaptainLeo
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by sidewazzz View Post
No disrespect.... but is it normal for other people/ captains in the industry NOT to make the call themselves? Considering the level of danger the sport brings in the first place it sounds like this guy is a known shit show and its only a matter of time someone gets seriously hurt or killed.
There's a very distinct possibility that the proper authorities were notified. I have no idea if anything was ever done about it, but I would say probably not. For what it's worth, I retired from that industry a few years ago.
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Old 07-22-2021, 11:38 AM   #10
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

Hey Leo, really glad to see you on here again. I still have fond memories of your charters on your boat. You got me on my first MAHI off of San Diego! Hate to see how far down Sneppersnoff has gone to. He was responsible for getting me on my first YELLOWTAIL down at Turtle Bay.
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Old 07-22-2021, 11:39 PM   #11
CaptainLeo
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scuba Fever View Post
Hey Leo, really glad to see you on here again. I still have fond memories of your charters on your boat. You got me on my first MAHI off of San Diego! Hate to see how far down Sneppersnoff has gone to. He was responsible for getting me on my first YELLOWTAIL down at Turtle Bay.
Hey Jim, I still remember that trip very well and the conversation of your trip down with the Pepsi and Snickers bars. I still take a look at what's going on around here. Haven't spearfished since I moved out here to Wyoming, except for a trip paddy hopping with a friend. Still enjoy your lobster diving videos. Tell Sunny I say 'hey'.
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Old 07-23-2021, 12:24 AM   #12
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Re: Catalina Charter Review

Be happy to, he'll love hearing from you
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