|Betty Kay Charters
By Annette Langenstein, Staff Writer
Bill Whitmer have owned Betty Kay Charters, located on Albacore Drive
in Coos Bay, for 24 years. “An uncle told us about a fishing
business that was for sale, and we bought it. We had done commercial
salmon and tuna fishing and we felt the regulations were too
restrictive for commercial fishing, so we decided to try the sport
fishing business. We bought the business in 1990 and now have seven
employees between us, the captains, deckhands and office staff,”
Open March through October, the
charter service sends its two boats out between 6 and 8 am, closes for
two hours, and then resumes from 10 am to 4 pm.
“Our mainstay is rock fish,” says Margery. “In the past it was salmon,
but we educated the public on the benefit of near shore rock fishing.
We fish for black, red vermillion, blue, quill back, China and copper
rock fish, as well as ling cod, cabezone, tuna and halibut. The largest
volume of fish we get come from the black and blue rock fish. And we
have a recipe sheet right in the office to help with preparing your
catch once you take it home.”
A variety of rock fish are caught by anglers who fish on one of two boats owned by Betty Kay Charters.
During May and June, the boats go
18 miles off shore and fish in 600 feet of water for halibut. The
limit is just one fish, but the largest halibut caught on one of Betty
Kay’s boats was 100 pounds! “We provide all the equipment for this 12
hour fishing excursion,” says Margery. “We tell customers to pack their
own food, dress warmly, bring a cooler, and also extra money to have
their halibut filleted out. They also need to be ready for strenuous
but exciting work and some delicious eating!”
The near-shore fishing is done much closer to the shore in 60 to 120
feet of water. These trips take a half day, the weather is usually a
little nicer, and the limit here is 7 rock fish and 2 ling cod.
“We provide excellent customer service from the time customers board
the boat until the time they get off,” Margery explained. “It’s more
than just catching fish: the captain and the crew are making sure
everyone has a good time. They’re personal, friendly and helpful.
Safety is one of the primary customer service issues; we make sure
people are safe, we don’t take them out if it’s too rough...we don’t
let the ocean beat them up.”
Margery continued, “This year the
tuna fishing produced some really nice catches. Our boats go 30 miles
off shore for tuna, but this year they were fishing in the 12 hour time
range. Upon return we have filleters waiting to prepare the tuna. We
use the rod and reel method for catching tuna and it’s a lot of fun.
The boats just troll along and when the tuna hits, the fish put up a
big fight,” she added.
If you’re looking for a great fishing
experience in our beautiful Pacific ocean, give Betty Kay Charters a
call at 541-888-9021 or 1-800-752-6303. When I asked Margery if she
wanted to say anything specific in this article, she replied, “It’s a
privilege to go fishing in this time of regulatory management and we
fight for the right to go sport fishing, literally, we campaign to keep
this sport alive for people. I think that we’re going to continue to
see some good fishing because the fisheries are managed well, so we
should have a good biomass of fish to catch. Everything looks good for
the future! Even though we are completing our fishing season the end of
October, gift certificates are available year around. Call 541
888-9021 to arrange a fishing certificate for the holiday gift-giving
local Classifieds on the Southern Oregon Coast!
Updated Every Thursday:
Find A Shopper In Your
Coast Lodging Guide
Oregon Coast City Guides
Local Weather On The