My site has suffered as my fishing time
has been severly limited and both of those things cause me concern.
Now that I finally get back into the swing of things I find that one
of my long time report contributors is in a tight spot. I have not
yet had the opportunity to fish with Capt. Butch Rickey but have exchanged
many emails with him. I made contact with him from a suggestion one
one of my best fishing partners.
I want to feature Capt. Rickey's latest report here on my main article
page. I hope that many of you who have read and enjoyed his reports
will consider his plight and possibly take him up on his offer to
keep things going in the short term till things are back to normal.
I am only posting the report here as it appears on the BarHopp'R site.
Following the link below you can go to the site and see the images
of how mother nature has reshaped things in the Pine Island Sound
area. Even if you can not pre-purchase a trip you may help out by
using the affiliate links on the site for your boating and fishing
supplies from West Marine (it does not cost you any more for your
What you are about to read will go down as the hardest thing I've
ever had to do. One never expects to be in a position of need at 59
years old. But, with the passing fury and destruction of hurricane
Charley, that's exactly where I find myself. The stage was set when
the market crashed in '01, taking most of my portfolio with it. Shortly
afterward, the horrible events of September 11, 2001, sent our tourism
industry in Florida into a downward spiral that lasted for two years.
It was very hard on the guiding industry, small industry that it is.
I spend what I had left after the market crash to survive until things
got better. The first half of this year finally saw things getting
back to normal in the fishing guide industry. At the end of June,
looking at the books, I felt good about where we were finally going.
The future looked good for our business.
Then, came Charley!
By the grace of God, the BarHopp'R fish camp and my small fleet of
boats was completely spared any damage. What wasn't obvious in the
first few days after Charlie, was that he had destroyed my booking
calendar for the foreseeable future. Others are in the same position.
Many folks are canceling their trips in the near future. They are,
of course, reacting to what they hear and see in the news. I can't
say I blame them. But, it's going to create a disaster in the guide
business for those of us who are full time, and have no other source
of income. I think the part time contingent of our business should
be OK. They have jobs and benefits to fall back upon.
So, it is that I find myself in this place. I have explored the possibilities
of help from local unemployment and FEMA. There may be some help from
"disaster unemployment", but if it comes, it will slowly. I don't
know, yet. I absolutely love guiding, and the many friends and customers
that fish with me. I don't want to be in any other business. I feel
pretty confident that my many friends and customers don't want me
to be in any other business, either. So, it is to you, my friends
and customers that I turn for help. I have to create enough revenue
in the short term to cover the operating costs that go right on, until
things get back to normal.
Here's what I'm asking. If you will be so kind as to send a check
in the amount of one trip fare ($400) as a short term donation, I
will first, post your name and the amount of your contribution on
a special "contributors' page" on the website, which will remain there
for as long as there is a www.barhoppr.com. Second, I will send you
a receipt acknowledging your contribution, and entitling you to use
that contribution at any time in the future, for your next BarHopp'R
trip, no matter what the rate might be at that time.
If you are not able to send a full fare contribution, a smaller amount
would still be very helpful, and will still be treated in the same
manner. Your help will be acknowledged, and the amount you send can
be used against a future trip at your discretion.
So, I hope you can see that I am not asking for a no strings attached
donation, but rather advances against future trips. If you are not
currently a BarHopp'R customer, but will still like to help, that
would be wonderful, too. Your helping hand will be appreciated more
than I could ever tell you. You can send your donations to:
Capt. Butch Rickey
11520 E. Palm Drive
Ft. Myers, FL 33908
I have also just joined the West Marine on-line affiliate program,
which will give me an opportunity to generate some small amount of
revenue through those of my website visitors who shop on-line at West
Marine by clicking the West Marine link on any one of several pages
on this website. So, I'm asking my readers and customers to remember
the next time you need something for your boat, to please use one
of the affiliate links like the one below on this site.
Thanks for stopping back by my site. I hope
to get my updates back on a regular schedule. If you can help support
Butch in some way I am sure he will follow through for his part.
Let me know what you think.