Sugarloaf Key resident Shawn Verne knows a thing or two about technology and fishing. He also knows that despite their skills on the water, many charter fishing captains are significantly less skilled when it comes to social media, technology and digital marketing.
Verne also knows that many reservations and booking websites are now charging a 20% to 40% commission to book charters for local captains.
“With high fuel costs, reduced business from COVID, boat maintenance, etc., that commission makes it hard to stay afloat; no pun intended,” said Verne, who created keysfishingreports.com to help captains and anglers connect and to show visitors what fish are biting and where.
The website provides charter captains throughout the Florida Keys with a designated phone number to which they can send a simple text message and photo describing the day’s catch and including their contact information for charter bookings.
“The captains’ text messages get instantly posted onto the Keys Fishing Reports website from the area that they caught the fish,” said Verne. “The website is not a replacement for a full blog or website, but rather offers a short summary of the day’s catch. Anglers get a heads-up on what is being caught and where so they can plan a great day of fishing. And because all reports are archived and placed into the online calendar, people can click on the month and day to see the species of fish that are being caught at that time of year. Environmentally, this will also show how the Keys fisheries are doing over time.”
Keys Fishing Reports is 100% commission-free for every charter captain. They can include their contact information directly on the report so people can book charters directly with them, Verne said, adding that the site is completely free for all to use and enables users to simply click on a map of the Florida Keys to see fishing reports for each region.
Any Monroe County charter captains interested in participating with Keys Fishing Reports can go to the website, fill out the Charter Captain Application, and start sending in reports. It is free to join and use.