Glenna Uecker moved to Mexico in 2003 when her husband, Bob drug her down there to take over Captain Rick’s Sportfishing Center. Glenna, a CPA, was initially skeptical but soon took to the business like a duck (or should I say a fish) to water. Glenna handles all of the administration of Captain Ricks, most important of which is insuring good customer service, reservations, and handling all of our social media, leaving Bob to handle boats and fishing. Glenna is the heart of Captain Ricks.

When you call Captain Ricks you will more than likely be speaking to her. She is happy to answer all sorts of questions regarding your fishing charter, but ask her about most anything else pertaining to your Mexican vacation. Points of interest, where to stay, what is good for the kids…you name it. After more than 13 years, she pretty much knows it and probably has a connection to help you.

Glenna grew up in the Midwest of the United States and, along with Bob, raised 4 children in such places as Kentucky, Arizona, Minnesota, Virginia, and Missouri. They also have 7 grandchildren who look forward to spending their vacations with their Abuela Glenna in Mexico as often as possible. She got her love of fishing from her father, Glenn who put a line in the water whenever he could. When she is not working in the world headquarters of Captain Ricks, she enjoys fishing (especially on her birthday), snorkeling, and just lying out in the sun enjoying the beautiful Caribbean.

Captain Rick’s Sportfishing Center
Captain Rick’s Sportfishing Center

How do the experiences you offer at Captain Rick’s Sportfishing Center give guests a unique perspective on the history, people or culture of your region?

Spending 4 hours in relatively close quarters with persons from another country is an incredible way to get to know a little bit about them. You will see their work ethic. It is truly non-stop hard work to be out in the sun doing what it takes to catch fish and make sure that our guests are well taken care of. This is done in the local “Mexican” way which means that for the most part they are fun-loving and looking to keep things happening.

What you may not know is that all of these men come from families that have been fishing in the same areas for centuries. Certainly the technology has changed, but the love and respect for the sea and its creatures has not.

Most people think that the only things Mayan here are the ruins. They are surprised to find out that most of the fishermen are Mayan. “Wine, women, and the sea are made for men” and “Sometimes the fish wins” are all English translations for old Mayan slogans. In fact, often times, Mayan is spoken on the boat when they are giving directions to each other.

How have the experiences that you offer evolved since their inception?

Mostly it has to do with changes in available technology. For instance, we used to use Penn International II reels solely as our large rig. But we have migrated largely to the newer, smoother Shimano reels that give our guests a better feel and have a much more comfortable grip on the handle. We also have gone from using nothing but J hooks to using a combination of J hooks and circle hooks. This has improved our hook up success. Also, we initially started out as a “smaller boat” (31’ to 35 feet) fleet only. With this, we were limited to groups of 6 to 7 or less. We now have added four 38 foot class boats, a 42 foot boat, a 46.6 foot boat and a 48 foot boat to allow for larger parties to fish, snorkel, or just take a cruise or for a small party to have a more luxurious experience.

What is one detail of an experience you provide that may go unnoticed by guests, but which you feel is important?

Preparing the bait. It takes approximately 5 minutes to take one ballyhoo and make it something that can catch a large fish. It has to be opened, cleaned, then the hook has to be affixed just so in a manner that makes the ballyhoo troll behind the boat in a lifelike manner that will “fool” targeted species into taking a bite. And it is not easy. It takes practice and patients to do this successfully. I know. I’ve done this and it is not easy. The ones I did, instead of “swimming” behind the boat, did loop-de-loops or belly flops. I finally gave up and left it to the professionals. We typically go through about 25 of these rigged ballyhoos per 4 hours of charter, so there is a lot of pre-work prior to each charter.

What do you wish every guest know as they consider booking a sportfishing trip?

Deep sea fishing is a team sport. You have at least 3 players – the captain, the mate, and the angler. All have a job to do. The captain’s job (in addition to safety and piloting the boat) is to get the bait on fish. It’s a big ocean and the fish don’t make themselves readily visible, but he has tools at his disposal that help, number one of which is experience. They know the area and where structures that may attract fish are. They also know to look to the sky-birds diving into the water indicate the fact that small fish are in the area. Small fish attract big ones. Same goes for weed beds and flotsam on the water. These attract small fish as well. Since the captain typically is elevated either on a bridge or a half tower, his job is also to watch the baits and make sure they are “swimming properly” and watch for approaching fish.

Captain Rick’s Sportfishing Center
Captain Rick’s Sportfishing Center

The mate’s job is to prepare the bait and put out the spread. Then, in addition to watching the bait for strikes, he also is charged with keeping the baits fresh, changing them up when nothing is biting, then setting the hook and getting the angler set up when a fish is on. When a fish comes to the boat, he then has the job of safely bringing the fish on board and either releasing it or getting it into the fish box. At the same time, he has the job of keeping the boat clean, making sure our guests are comfortable and have what they need, making our famous lunch sandwiches for all day charters, and other such things.

The angler (our guests) job is to fight the fish to the boat. During our briefing before the trip, we tell them how to do this but our captains and mates coach them through the process in real time during the charter. It can be a real work out but one that is hugely rewarding. When a fish is successfully landed, it is a culmination of the efforts of all 3 team members and is shared by everyone on the boat.

What is one travel trend that really excites you?

Destination weddings. We love doing Bachelor or Bachelorette charter parties. We even designed a special t-shirt that we give as a present to the groom. They typically choose our larger boats that accommodate larger groups, but some groups choose a few smaller boats to pair off and have competitions. Either way, we get to be a small part of what will be the new couple’s lifetime memory. For some, the charter is the first time that the families of the new bride and groom have a chance to get to know each other.

What sets Capt Rick’s apart from other sportfishing charter companies?

We are a family oriented company. My husband Bob and I started into this business after raising 4 children and we felt that it was important to have a company that we would be proud to have them be a part of if they chose. We built the family culture from the ground up through example with our crews. We changed the annual Christmas party that the original owner had from being a “boys only” party held at a night club to being one that their spouses and children were invited to as well. These are held at parks where the kids can play and the adults can relax and enjoy. We also encourage our employees to take their families fishing on the boats when we have slow times. In fact, many of the Captains and Mates refer to me as Mama and Bob as “Papa”.

We are proud of how our crews treat families that come fish with us as if they would want their families to be treated. When our guests with families arrive, we make sure to include the children in our conversations, show them the various species of fish that we will be looking for (we have various mounts on the walls, pictures, and even a shark’s jaw that the kids love to touch).

Captain Rick’s Sportfishing Center
Captain Rick’s Sportfishing Center

What is one insider tip to getting the most out of a travel vacation?

Give yourself a “plan B”. We learned ourselves through experience that sometimes things don’t go as planned when we took family vacation. Most of the time it was weather related, but sometimes other things happen, like someone in the group gets sick. So, if you have activities that you want to do that are weather dependent or an activity that is your “must do”, don’t schedule them at the end of your vacation to be your “grand finale”. Do them first! That way, if the weather or illness prohibits your excursion on the day scheduled, you can shuffle things around or drop a less coveted activity in order to make room for rescheduling.

What is one strategy that has helped your business to grow? Don’t share your strategies. Please explain how?

Personal contact with our guests.

What is one personal habit that has helped you to be successful?

Treat people as you want to be treated.

Please share one instance where a guest had a moving or emotional reaction to the experience that you provided to them.

There have been many times when guest have had emotional reactions on our boats.  We have taken family and friends out to spread their loved ones ashes at sea.
We’ve had marriages and marriage renewals.  We see fathers and grandfathers taking their children and grandchildren on their first fishing trip.  And one thing that was emotional for the office and everyone on the dock was the first time we hosted wounded warriors.

At Captain Rick’s we are always looking at ways to add more to our sport and give to our community.  Our billfish have been catch and release since the beginning of Captain Rick’s but we are now partners in the Gray Taxidermy tagging and research program.  We are involved in many tournaments including the Dave Harris Memorial Tournament. That tournament is a fund raiser for melanoma research, and they sponsor six or seven wounded warriors for the trip. This year, for the first time we are having an IGFA sanctioned tournament, the Penn Challenge that raises funds for children’s charities.  A few years ago we got involved with local sports teams. We gathered donations of soccer equipment, baseball and softball shoes and gloves. In the US many kids get a pair of soccer shoes or baseball shoes that they only wear one season. When they are donated down here, they are much appreciated and well used.  When we found out there was no local field we built a baseball stadium that is used for men’s, women’s and children’s teams. It is busy almost every night of the week.

Glenna’s email:
Captain Rick’s Sportfishing on Google+:
Captain Rick’s Sportfishing on Facebook:
From the US and Canada 888-449-3562
From Mexico 984-873-5195 or 01-800719-6439

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