FROM HUMBLE BEGINNINGS, ENSENADA CHARTER SERVICE COMES INTO ITS OWN
Jay Spinner had an idea back in the early 2000s. He had created a tourism website for Ensenada, Mexico, ensenada.com. But in talking to some of the locals he decided to try something completely out of his comfort zone: charter boat ?shing in the warm and ?sh-?lled azure waters of the Paci?c Ocean. The ?rst thing he needed was a boat.
“I found an old 1970 Luhrs 32-footer that had 300 hours on the rebuilt engines. The boat was in the Long Beach Harbor and reasonably priced,” says Spinner’s Selena Sport?shing Charter website (selenasport?shing.com).
His new investment successfully made the trip from Southern California to Baja, and after lots of hard work and TLC his six-pac boat became a reality (read his website for more). We chatted with Spinner about his now successful business.
California Sportsman How long have you been in business?
Jay Spinner About 14 years. Two years after creating ensenada.com, I thought I would do something different and talk to some of the charter owners about me doing online reservations for sport?shing. To make a long story short, it was an instant success. In fact, I had to jump fast to get credit card services and a system set up. Two seasons later I was doing over 600 charter reservations and learning a lot about ?shing and the charter business. In talking to hundreds of clients, I began to see a pattern in what they liked and didn’t regarding the boats and their experiences ?shing in Ensenada. I started to think, “If I had a boat, this is what I would do,” based onnothing more than comments from my clients. I was booking seven to 15 charters a day in the summer and saw an opportunity that would never happen in the US to a guy who didn’t know crap about boats or the ?shing business.
CS What should we know about ?shing in Baja?
JS Ensenada offers a different dimension to long-range sport ?shing because the charter boats leave between 1 and 2 in the morning and return at 6 in the evening. Shorter travel time allows ?shermen more time to take in some of the other great experiences that Ensenada has to offer, including dining, shopping and nightlife entertainment.
CS What’s the best day or period you have had on a charter?
JS I would say 2014 was the biggest year I have seen for blue?n tuna. We put 50- to 100-pound blue?n on the deck, unlike the 25-pound average in past years.
The best year I saw for dorado was probably 2006, and 2004 was a great albacore year. The albacore season was like clockwork until 2010. We have not seen them since.
In prime time, 20 to 30 ?sh on a six-pac charter of a combined catch of yellowtail, tuna, dorado are not uncommon. So the best catch depends on what suits the angler most.
CS What makes you stand out from the other businesses?
JS Over the past 14 years I’ve worked off and on with several of the charters in Ensenada and presently represent about 20 different charters. I have also owned my own charter, Selena, for the past 10 years. I have developed a rapport with many customers over the years, and what I strive to do is explain to people exactly what to expect and not overexaggerate.
Giving people a realistic assessment of what’s happening at the time and what to expect on the charters is not only fair, but keeps bringing people back. What we don’t need in Baja are customers going back home with a bad experience, going home having expected more than they received. A bad story kills 20 good ones. CS
Editor’s note: For more on Selena Sport?shing Charters, call (949) 678-1187.